Review: Citroen C4 (2011 – 2018)
Huge improvement in quality on previous C4. Comfortable and quiet on the move. Large and useful boot. Good HDi diesel engines. Neat styling.
Array of warning chimes can be annoying. Relatively crude suspension not in the same class as the Focus or Golf. EGS 'automatic' takes getting used to.
Citroen C4 (2011 – 2018): At A Glance
Citroen played it safe with the C4, sacrificing the radical styling for comfort, quality and refinement. The result is a car that, while perfectly competent, lacks sparkle and feels dated next to more recently launched alternatives like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. It has been kept up-to-date, though, so there are some good engines on offer including frugal and punchy BlueHDi diesels.
With the DS 4 designed to be a flashier hatchback, the Citroen C4 is free to be a comfort-focussed model that's also practical. In this respect it's successful thanks to an impeccably good ride, very low noise levels, impressive refinement and a spacious cabin. It's far from the being the best car to drive in its class, that remains the Ford Focus, but then it's not supposed to be. Instead it's composed and relaxing on the move.
Inside, the quality of the interior is massive improvement over the original C4, but it is now showing its age compared to other Citroen models and its rivals. There is useable storage and the materials used throughout feel of good quality.
Features such as the much-hyped fixed-hub steering wheel and transculent digital dash of the old model have been ditched in favour of a more conventional look and although it's not as radical, it's a far more pleasant cabin overall that also feels better built.
Citroen has kept the C4 engine range up to to date, meaning emissions and economy have remained competetive since the car was launched. The cleanest BlueHDi diesel version emits just 86g/km and is officially capable of 85.6mpg, plus there are more powerful, but less economical alternative BlueHDi versions. There are also punchy PureTech petrol engines with outputs of 110PS or 130PS.
While it has been continually updated, the Citroen C4 is now showing its age next to rivals like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Peugeot 308, all of which provide a better, more well-rounded blend of attributes including more advanced technology. If you can get a fantastic deal the C4 might be worth a look, but there are better choices out there.
What does a Citroen C4 (2011 – 2018) cost?
Citroen C4 (2011 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
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, but more recently launched rivals feel better made and have more technology. That said, the C4 isn't bad. There's a nice thud when the close the doors and a substantial leather steering wheel not only looks good but is great to hold too while the instrument dials are stylish and easy to read.
The driving position is good, with a low slung seat and plenty of adjustment 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. 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 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). It's good The boot opening itself is very wide and square, while the boot floor is long. More recent rivals including the latest Peugeot 308, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra are better, though.
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.
Child seats that fit a Citroen C4 (2011 – 2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Citroen C4 (2011 – 2018) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.2 Puretech 110 to 2.0 BlueHDi 150
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 31–75 mpg
Citroen has kept the C4 up-to-date with its latest engines, including BlueHDi diesels with outputs from 100PS to 150PS and PureTech petrols with 110PS or 130PS. The most economical of these is the 100PS BlueHDi manual with stop/start. It produces just 86g/km of CO2 and is officially capable of 85.6mpg, yet it is punchy and responsive thanks to peak torque of 254Nm.
For those who want a bit more power there is a 120PS BlueHDi which blends strong performance with good economy - emissions are 95g/km, economy is 78.5mpg and yet peak torque is 300Nm, so overtaking and motorway driving is effortless. There's also an even more powerful 150PS BlueHDi, which is a great engine for long distance.
Don't discount the PureTech petrols though - they may only be 1.2-litres, but performance is surprising. Both the 110PS and 130PS versions have similar performance and economy, but the more powerful version comes with a better, six-speed gearbox instead of a five-speed. That makes it a better choice for motorway cruising - and there's also a six-speed auto option.
The C4 is designed mainly with comfort and economy in mind, rather than dynamic handling, emphasising that the DS 4 is the model for those wanting keen handling and driver involvement, in a similar way to the relationship between the C3 and the more sporty DS 3. This certainly rings true once you're on the move and the first thing you notice is how impressive refinement is, with very little noise, either from the tyres or the engine.
But it's the ride quality which stands out. The C4 feels more substantial on the road than the previous model and the ride is superb, with the suspension and damping tuned to deal perfectly with the kind of potholed and rough roads that are so common in the UK.
Even on very poor country lanes, the C4 remains composed and smooth, adding to the refined feel. Naturally there's a trade off to this and the Citroen isn't as sharp in corners as other hatchbacks, but there is decent body control and front end grip.
The steering is quite nicely weighted and although it lacks feel, it's pretty direct and responsive, so making quick progress down a twisting road is easy enough. There are few thrills to be had, but the C4 always remains stable and reassuring.
Early petrols were co-developed with BMW and used in various earlier MINI models, giving the C4 a sporty edge. The 1.6 VTi is a very lively engine that pulls surprisingly well in gear, plus it's quiet and smooth even when revved hard. 0-62mph takes 10.8 seconds but it feels quicker on the move, with good responsiveness when you ask it to accelerate, Plus it's economical, averaging a claimed 45.6mpg with CO2 emissions of 143g/km.
Another highlight of earlier models was the sprightly 1.6 THP, producing 156PS and 240Nm of torque. The 1.6 HDi with 90PS averages a mightily impressive 67.3mpg claimed and emits just 110g/km of CO2 but when it comes to efficiency, it's the e-HDi which models which stood out, returning a claimed 67.3mpg and emitting just 109g/km of CO2.
The EGS gearbox on the 1.6 THP and e-HDi models is best avoided - it takes some getting used to. It's not a standard automatic, but rather an automated manual, so as a result you do need to lift off the throttle in order to make upshifts smooth.
That's not a problem in manual mode when you can use the neat steering-wheel mounted paddles, but when it's in 'automatic' mode you obviously don't know exactly when it will change up or down and if you keep your foot on the accelerator it can result in pretty jerky changes.
|1.2 e-THP 130||59 mpg||10.8 s||110 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 110||57–60 mpg||10.9 s||110–115 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 130||55–59 mpg||10.8–10.9 s||110–117 g/km|
|1.4 VTi||46 mpg||11.9 s||140 g/km|
|1.6 BlueHDi 100||74–86 mpg||11.5 s||86–98 g/km|
|1.6 BlueHDi 120||74–79 mpg||10.6 s||95–100 g/km|
|1.6 BlueHDi 120 EAT6||72–74 mpg||11.1 s||98–104 g/km|
|1.6 e-HDi EGS||72–76 mpg||11.2 s||95–101 g/km|
|1.6 HDi||74 mpg||11.3 s||97–100 g/km|
|1.6 HDi 90||67–71 mpg||12.9 s||104–109 g/km|
|1.6 VTi||45–46 mpg||10.8 s||143–146 g/km|
|1.6 VTi Automatic||41 mpg||12.5 s||159 g/km|
|1.6i THP EGS||44 mpg||8.7 s||148 g/km|
|2.0 BlueHDi 150||69–74 mpg||8.8 s||98 g/km|
|2.0 HDi||57 mpg||8.6 s||130 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Citroen C4 (2011 – 2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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Why does the gear stick get stuck in third gear on my Citroen C4?
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