Citroen’s most conventional model is still a car that’s very distinctive, with bolder styling than most compact hatchbacks and some quirky features such as a chameleon-like colour-changing dashboard.
It’s one of the bigger compact hatchbacks, which means better than average practicality, while it’s also a car that’s very much geared for comfort, with a soft, compliant ride, making it a good choice for long-distance cruising.
Equipment levels are generous, while there’s a wide choice of engines and trim levels available, too. It’s not as dynamic to drive as some of its rivals, but it’s hard to ignore the C4’s value for money.
The C4’s most dominant styling feature is its wide radiator grille, flanked by wide lozenge-shaped headlamps that cut deep into the bonnet and give some of the best light output we’ve witnessed - a real selling point for those who live in rural areas.
At the rear, smart hockey stick shaped rear lamps and a deep, square tailgate are the key themes, while the tall roofline is offset by a deep glass area. That said, the thick c-pillars and tiny rear wiper don’t help with visibility.
It’s a big car, but the styling themes disguise that well, with a high waistline and sleek curves giving it a smaller appearance than its dimensions suggest.
One of the C4’s more unusual features is its colour-changing dashboard - the driver can choose to set a fixed colour, or put it in a mode where the backlighting and mood lights alternate between different colours. Yes, it’s a gimmick, but it’s one that quite a few people will love.
The personalisation extends to the warning chimes, too, with the driver able to select different bings or bongs for different functions.
Otherwise, the dash is fairly conventional, the instrument binnacle framed by alloy-effect vents, while there are also plenty of useful cubby holes. The infotainment screen is intuitive to use and is well positioned in the centre of the car, integrated into the dash moulding.
The C4 is one of the bigger compact hatchbacks, and that’s reflected in its interior dimensions - it’s spacious front and rear, while the high roofline allows great headroom for back seat passengers than other cars in its class - worth noting if you’re looking for a carry in which to ferry adult passengers as well as younger ones.
As far as luggage space goes, the C4 has decent load carrying capability, although the boot lip is quite high and the load bay aperture quite narrow, which makes it less practical than it could be.
Driving and practicality
The C4 really excels in terms of its ride quality, with well-damped suspension and tidy, predictable handling.
It’s not as sharp as some of its contemporaries in terms of steering or on-the-limit handling, and the chassis is highly conventional, with MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear end, but it’s perfectly capable on all but the most challenging of roads.
The steering is very light, which is great for town driving, but it does lack feel on the open road. Coupled to the soft suspension, we wouldn’t recommend the C4 to someone who wants performance car characteristics - but as a family hatchback that spends most of its time fulfilling everyday chores, it’s more than sufficient.
There are four petrol engines and three diesel engines to choose from, all of which are quite powerful for what they are. Of those, the 1.2 PureTech is the smallest, but also the most advanced, with a variable geometry turbocharger keeping performance at its optimal level.
The 1.4 and 1.6 VTi engines are less responsive and louder, but also cheaper, while the HDi diesels are a well-respected option that are perfectly in line with Citroen’s history of making good diesels.
Value, practicality and being a little different from the norm are the key factors that lead people into buying a C4, so it’s perfectly suited to young families and professionals who want to be seen to have made an intelligent, if leftfield choice.
The C4 is one of the most comfortable compact hatchbacks on the market and also one of the most spacious, with excellent levels of standard equipment. It’s a clever way of being sensible, yet different.Search Citroen C4