Citroën C4 Exclusive HDi 150
As the C4 nears the end of its time with Victor Harman, he reflects on its overall merits and shortcomings, particularly when compared to its hatchback market competition.
At the end of the day, one cannot avoid the considerations of price and running costs when considering the purchase of a new car, however appealing it is or how persuasive the salesman may be. The C4 2.0 HDi Exclusive compares quite closely with the Volkswagen Golf Match 2.0 TDI, a highly respected car that is universally rated as one of the top three cars in the family hatchback class. The Golf matches the C4 in a lot of areas and many buyers might feel that the prestige and perceived quality of the Golf also makes it more desirable and a better investment. So what kind of deal might tempt a potential Citroën C4 owner away from the Golf? Searching on the internet, it appears that you can find the C4 2.0 HDi Exclusive available for around £2,000 less than the Golf, quoting the best discounted broker prices available. That’s something of a head start for the Citroën. On running costs, depreciation is the key factor, since fuel costs and other expenses for the two cars will be relatively close. We reckon that both cars will lose an owner something just under £8,000 over three years and 36,000 miles, the bigger discount on the Citroën negating its significantly higher depreciation from list price. Run the same figures through for a new Ford Focus Titanium 2.0 TDCi and you’ll find that the Focus would lose near enough £1,000 more in real terms depreciation over the same period than the C4 or the Golf, although the Ford has a very high specification and is very spacious.
So that sets the scene for a discussion of whether the Citroën can stand on its considerable merits as genuine competition for cars such as the Golf or Focus. We feel that it certainly does, if you shop around. The deals available make it very good value for what it offers, if its overall qualities suit your motoring needs. As I have written previously, it is a fine car that will suit many couples and smaller families, because one cannot escape that fact that its rear seating space of the C4 is on the tight side. If you’ve two hulking rugby-playing teenagers, or elderly relatives who don’t find it easy to get into cars, they may feel pretty cramped or have difficulty in getting into the C4, although there will certainly be no problems with fitting the rugby kit or the suitcases into the C4’s ultra-spacious boot. A sliding rear seat might have largely avoided this rear seat space problem, especially if you could trade some boot space for another four inches of knee room.
As mentioned over the previous months, I found the Citroën to be a very fine riding car, although one which more enthusiastic drivers might find inferior to the Golf or the Focus when driven hard on demanding roads. Many others will find the C4 preferable though, since it is an undemanding drive, and the impression of being in a car from one class above is always with you. The refinement, ride quality, and absence of cabin noise is mostly responsible for this, and the seat comfort and quality of the internal fittings also support this favourable impression. Given less money to spend on a C4 than our 2.0 HDi Exclusive though, the 1.6 HDi VTR+ is a great choice, and the performance of the 1.6 HDi 110 engine is more than adequate for most general motoring. The fuel economy is also better, and the more modest higher profile tyres fitted to the VTR+ give the C4 even better ride comfort than Exclusive variants. The HDi 90 VTR is also a great buy for those working on a tighter budget.