Citroen C4 blurs the lines




Stuff NZ Newspapers


Citroen’s all-new version of its C4 hatch has finally made its way to New Zealand, with its new styling putting it much closer to the small SUV segment, though still retaining some of its hatchback charm. Although Citroen insists it is a hatchback and most definitely not an SUV. Which is refreshing... HOW ALL-NEW IS IT? All all-new. The C4 now sits on the former PSA Group (now part of Stellantis) EMP1 architecture, which brings new engines, more technology and lots of general improvements over the outgoing PSA PF2 platform. Europeans get the choice of a 1.3-litre turbo diesel inline four or a 1.2-litre turbo petrol inline three-cylinder engine, while we just get the petrol. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it also features in Peugeot’s 208 hatch and 2008 SUV. Citroen only takes the high-output 113kW version though, while Peugeot has a range of power outputs. The engine is bolted to an eightspeed automatic, also featured in Peugeot’s offerings, driving the front wheels. It’s a turbocharged unit, with no electrification, although Citroen has told us that the all-electric e-C4 that uses the same bones as the Peugeot e-2008 will be making its way here soon. The C4 gets a bunch of new safety stuff too, like adaptive cruise control with stop/go, traffic sign recognition, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist. THAT OLD PLATFORM LASTED AGES. DOES THAT MEAN THIS ONE WILL TOO? Citroen was using that PF2 platform for the C4 until 2020 (and, in fact, still does in Russia where it still builds the old C4 sedan), and it first debuted for the brand in 2004 underneath the original C4. Sixteen years is quite a while to be on one architecture, but Stellantis plans to shift all of its offerings over to one of four new platforms: STLA Small, Medium, Large and Frame. The C4 will eventually move to the STLA Small platform, and feature plenty of electrification. That move will probably happen by around 2026, at least for the electric version, with any combustion versions to follow later. SO IS THIS C4 WORTH IT? If you’re in the market for a hatchback that is probably closer to a small SUV, and aren’t interested in the usual stuff, then CITROEN C4 SHINE Base price: $39,990. Powertrain and economy: 1.2-litre turbo-petrol inline-three, 113kW/240Nm, 8-speed automatic, FWD, combined economy 6.8L/100km, CO2 153g/km (source: RightCar). Vital statistics: 4360mm long, 1800mm wide, 1525mm high, 2670mm wheelbase, luggage capacity 380 litres, 18-inch alloy wheels. We like: Great looks, proven engine, comfortable, all-around interesting. We don’t like: Stop-start system is annoying, poor rear visibility. yes. The new C4 is quite brilliant. The fresh looks give it a mean face, punctuated with chrome lines that meet in Citroen’s double chevron logo. There are narrow DRLs below the bonnet line, chunky main headlights below those, and small foglights on each corner of the bumper. The rear end gets an interesting criss-cross of LED strips, as well as a small spoiler and twin exhaust pipes. You couldn’t really say Citroens look like any other car on the road, in the best way. Better than a Peugeot 208 or 2008? Up to you, but I think I’d take the Citroen. Both brands have similar interiors too, though Citroen has a funny case that lets you mount an iPad to a drawer that pops out of the dashboard. Good for the kids, I suppose. Using the new Peugeot drivetrain means the C4 has that cool burble only a triple can produce, while also making good power and keeping emissions and consumption low. The 6.8L/100km is fairly easy to replicate in the real world too. Citroen combined the best of both the hatchback and small SUV worlds too, as the lifted C4 is easier to get in and out of than your typical hatchback, but the roofline is still nice and low. The sloping rear doesn’t impact much on rear headroom, and helps aerodynamics. It does reduce rearview visibility though, and the rearview camera is a bit poor for 2021 standards. The drive is good, with Citroen’s ‘progressive hydraulic cushion’ suspension doing well to smooth out most bumps in the road. It works well at low speeds without sacrificing much agility at higher rates, and Peugeots don’t get it. Another point for the C4. Take that point away though, because the C4 recently missed out on a five-star safety rating from ANCAP, getting four instead. The current 2008 has five stars, while the 208 hatch got four from EuroNCAP.