In The Cabin
With the original C4, Citroen tried hard to make the interior stand out with range of innovative features. Some, such as the transulcent central digital speedo, were useful, but others like the fixed hub steering wheel weren't as successful. For this C4, Citroen has stuck to a more conventional layout and focussed more on the quality of the finish and overall layout.
The result is a vast improvement on the previous C4 and as soon as you sit inside, the feeling of quality is a huge step up. The plastics used are nicer to touch and cabin feels far more solid overall, from the nice thud when the close the doors to the newly designed stereo which is much more straightforward than before. The substantial leather steering wheel not only looks good but is great to hold too while the instrument dials are stylish and easy to read. Impressively, you can change the colour of the dials and the information screens in the middle of each, from a soft white to a deep blue with several variations inbetween. It's a neat feature that adds to the upmarket and modern feel.
The driving position - often a criticism of the old C4 - is much improved too with a lower slung seat and more movement in the steering wheel. This all adds up to make the C4 a very easy car to get comfortable in and one that you'd happily spend many hours in on long journeys. There's also plenty of space in the cabin, helped by the raised dashboard which means increased legroom for the front passenger. Those in the back also get well looked after with plenty of legroom along with generous head room, so three adults can happily travel in comfort even on longer journeys.
Storage is good too, especially in comparison to the previous C4. Each door pocket is large enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle and there are four variants of the centre console, depending on trim level and transmission. All offer plenty of storage for drinks, mobile phones, CDs and anything else you'd need to carry. When combined with the EGS transmission, the raised centre console offers a large refrigerated and illuminated compartment that can be closed with a sliding shutter. It's able to hold up to four 0.5-litre bottles and is a first for the class.
And as for boot space, here the C4 also excels. It offers 380 litres of luggage space (with an extra 28 litres of underfloor stowage making 408 litres in total) which is more than most of its competitor cars such as the Peugeot 308 (347 litres) and the Vauxhall Astra (312 litres). The boot opening itself is very wide and square, while the boot floor is long. A demonstration by Citroen using some camping gear showed how the C4 can easily accommodate more than the Astra and Volkswagen Golf.
On the move the cabin of the C4 is very quiet with noise and vibration levels both very low. There's very little wind noise either, making it a serene car to travel in, especially when fitted with the impressively quiet HDi diesel engines. Citroen says it aimed for comfort when designing the C4 and it certainly succeeded. However, it's someone spoilt by the new ‘polyphonic' sound alerts for the indicator signals or the unfastened seatbelt warning. Different 'themes' are available (colourfully named Classic, Crystal Symphony, Jungle Fantasy & Urban Rythmik...) but all are annoying and seem gimmicky.
Standard equipment from launch (January 2011):
VTR may sound sporty but is in fact the entry-level trim and comes with steel wheels, six airbags, ESP, Hill Start Assist, manual air conditioning, electric front windows, two outer rear seats Isofix child seat anchorage points, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, rear split/folding seats, height-adjustable front seats, height and reach adjustable steering wheel, a six-speaker surround sound audio system and cruise control with a speed limiter.
VTR+ adds key equipment such as 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, customisable colour instrument binnacles, front fog lights with cornering function, rear parking sensors and a Connecting Box - Bluetooth hands free and USB socket. The semi-raised centre console with sliding armrest is also fitted from this trim level (raised centre console on the e-HDi model).
Exclusive is the top model and comes with 17-inch alloys, part-leather upholstery, digital air conditioning, automatically illuminating headlamps, automatic windscreen wipers, front parking sensors with parking space ‘gap' measurement and the eTouch Emergency & Assistance System. Owners also opt for electric lumbar adjustment with massage function on both front seats and benefit from the raised centre console with an automatic electric parking brake.