With the new Citroën C4, Citroën is no longer as unconventional as it was with the Cactus. The unorthodox French also submit to mass taste and invent a mixture of coupé, SUV and compact car. That may not be cool anymore, but still casual.
When the C4 Cactus took the stage in 2014, the brand fans cheered. Finally another avant-garde car from Citroën that looks a little different. The new C4, available from January for at least 19,290 euros, is like a conventional compact class compared to the Cactus. The external length is just under 4.36 meters and the wheelbase is a generous 2.67 meters. This means that the C4, which is currently up to 155 hp and available in three drive versions, should have at least times better travel characteristics than the C4 Cactus, which was based on the smaller C3. At the same time, the new one is visually more playful than the last “real” C4.
Not as cool as the cactus
But even if the Citroën C4 looks quite casual compared to some staid compact classes, it still does not achieve the coolness of a Cactus. But Citroën’s latest creation is okay, especially since a touch of DS wafts through the passenger compartment with a chic pattern on the soft foamed surface of the armature, the strikingly large, but nevertheless filigree touchscreen and the multifunctional display that sits in front of the driver’s nose. Mainly the current speed is there in large digits, and if you play around a bit on the on-board computer with the combustion version, you will soon find an almost ashamed tachometer. Comfortable armchairs, finely upholstered for this class, signal suitability for long journeys, so this compact model is an all-rounder.
A look in the second row shows that backbenchers live quite well here. In any case, knee contact with the front seat backs should remain the exception. And the Citroën C4 with its 16 shelves is also a practical colleague. The drawer in the dashboard, which can easily accommodate a tablet, can be perceived as striking, whereas the variable trunk floor has long been common practice with the French.
What was previously not part of the good form, but has now finally been corrected: The tip wiping function of the windscreen wipers has been decoupled from switching on the rain sensor stage, so that you can now wipe with a brief touch of the lever without activating the automatic wiping function. That may sound banal, but drivers of various PPE products can tell a ditty of this bad habit.
In addition, as expected, the Citroën C4 is an assistance and connectivity professional, pulls real-time data such as fuel prices and weather reports from the network, presents the most important driving information on the head-up display, which is standard from the second equipment line, and is able to accelerate automatically to brake and steer. And if you struggle with a C4 with all the offers because it is not an SUV, it should be said that the driver is enthroned four centimeters higher than the average for the segment.
In fact, the travelers feel this trick without the driver immediately missing lateral dynamic skills – after all, Citroen’s youngest offspring should roll through the country more comfortably. And the suspension really does justice to this requirement. A first trip with the 131 hp three-cylinder petrol engine reveals that the engine leaves nothing to be desired in terms of performance, but also proves that the little turbo is acoustically quite present.
That doesn’t bother you as long as you don’t perform any forced driving maneuvers. The 1.2-liter three-cylinder looks noticeably more strained under full load. The diesel engine, which will shortly be placed alongside the Otto, will behave a little differently here. The power is transmitted by the smooth, but by no means sporty, six-speed box for traditionalists or the eight-speed automatic transmission, which is recommended for frequent drivers, which changes the ratio spontaneously and smoothly, and which is necessary in order to be able to exploit the full functionality of the driver assistance.
The range melts in winter
Anyone who appreciates the finer running smoothness, but has not yet found what they are looking for in this vehicle league, should treat themselves to a test drive with the ë-C4, which is available from 33,770 euros minus subsidies. It comes up with electric 136 hp and 260 Newton meters. By the way, the drive train is the one that gets the electric Opel Corsa rolling. There is also a 50 kWh battery and an at least theoretical range of 350 kilometers. The Stromer accelerates smoothly without making any noise, which makes getting around with it extremely pleasant.
However, the soundless drive also means the acceptance that the range on the motorway runs out much faster at cooler temperatures. Before buying, it is important to check what personal requirements are placed on the car and whether you can handle a real range of 250 kilometers in winter in all situations, including the charging times, which at an AC station take five hours takes.