Long Term Test Report: Citroën C4 Exclusive HDi 150
Don’t ignore the rest of the Citroën C4 range, because there are some excellent less costly cars at the opposite end from our long term top of the range car. Victor Harman reports
While the primary objective of these long-term reports is to relate our experiences with the model variant we have on test, it’s helpful to potential buyers for us to give some thought to other Citroën C4s that might suit smaller pockets, or perhaps those for whom 150bhp is unnecessary. Certainly don’t ignore other more modest C4s, which stand and deliver their somewhat individual merits throughout the range, and there are some excellent less costly variants at the opposite end to our 2.0 HDi Exclusive. I’ve driven most of them, and would suggest that the “pick of the range” for value are possibly the 1.6 HDi 90 VT and VTR+ listed at £17,145 and £18,445. Their performance is surprisingly lively for just 90bhp, and will be more than adequate for many people. They both ride on energy-saving 205/55 tyres on 16-inch wheels that promise significantly better fuel economy and a softer and quieter ride than the 225/45/17s on our 2.0 HDi Exclusive. The two mid-range e-HDi 110 variants with the semi-automated six-speed EGS transmission will suit some people that need the comfort of two-pedal motoring, but a small change in driving style is required, and some won’t bother to master this rather individual transmission.
So, while some of the appointments and various options of our rather fancy Exclusive model are very appealing – the heated leather seats for example are superbly comfortable in all weathers – they’re not the be all and end all. But it is nice to have such a pleasing compromise between good performance and economy. Our two-litre engine is very refined and packs enough punch to make overtaking a drama-free exercise, and yet our current economy figures, decently in excess of 50mpg, are highly satisfying, albeit that some owners (maybe city dwellers and those living in hilly country) may well drop into the mid-forties. When it comes to stopping, as distinct from going, the automatic parking brake and hill-hold assist are two of the best executed features. Previously, after disappointing experiences with other automated ones, I had somewhat scorned anything but good old-fashioned manual handbrakes, but the Citroën’s works flawlessly and genuinely makes for easier driving. So does the equally well executed hill start assist, which simply gives you around a five second “hold” of the brakes when you take your foot off the stop pedal. One tends to start taking it all for granted until you slip back into a car lacking the feature – and suddenly wonder why you’re rolling back on hills or gentle gradients that now demand use of the handbrake and of some tedious foot-shuffling that the C4 totally eliminates.
I think that Citroën motoring has always been something regarded as a little off-beat in Britain and maybe the individuality, as evident still now in the new C4, reveals something of the different motoring attitudes existing either side of La Manche, and maybe also either side of other European frontiers. Not that I can think of any particular aspect of Citroëns that supports the “tailgating” that’s one of the favourite pastimes of most Jacques, or Gerards, or why they have all generally started out with a cosseting ride and long-travel suspension, until the British marketing men have got their hands on them and fitted low-profile tyres to UK models. But any Citroën is generally at the opposite extreme in so many little ways from a BMW, or a Fiat, or for that matter a Vauxhall, and it shows. Maybe there’s French blood in my family line, but my wife and I just love the comfort and style of the C4, which will be hard to replace when it has to go back to Citroën UK.
Citroën C4 Exclusive HDi 150
|Price when new:||£21,495|
|Price as tested:||£24,915|
|Options fitted:||eMyWay and Denon Hi-Fi system, metallic paint, Mistral ‘Caludia’ leather upholstery with heated front seats, space saver spare wheel, vision pack|
|Engine:||1997cc, 4 cylinder, turbodiesel|
|Power output:||148bhp at 3,750rpm|
|Maximum torque:||251lb ft at 2,000rpm|
|Maximum towing weight:||1,750kg|
|Combined fuel consumption:||56.5mpg (official combined)52.4mpg (on test)|
|CO2 Emissions (Taxband:||130g/km (D)|
|Benefit in kind tax liability:||19%|
|Size (Length/width with mirrors):||4,329/2,050mm|
|Boot space (Minimum/maximum):||408/1,183litres|
|EuroNCAP safety rating:||5 stars|
|Date arrived:||2nd February 2011|
|Mileage to date:||5,210miles|
|Costs to date:||None|
|Faults to date:||Minor problem with fuel flap release – resolved, mystery rattle when the door is slammed|