Citroen: 2015 C4 Puretech hatch

Citroen: 2015 C4 Puretech hatch

For the 2015 model year Citroen importer Sime Darby Automobiles has taken the unique step of rationalising the C4 range to a model choice of one at a retail price of $34,990 plus on road costs.

2015 Citroen C4 front 3:4Yes folks, there is just one sole variant of C4 available to local Citroen buyers with the new 1.2-litre Puretech three-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged engine allied to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The C4 has been cosmetically tweaked with a new light signature at the front and rear of the vehicle and its also been loaded up with lots of technology that makes the small options list look positively superfluous.

To distinguish the 2015 year model, there are new LED front headlamps and 3D tail lamps as well as a new glossy black rear spoiler and matching b pillars, there’s a new chrome insert on the rear bumper, and the glossy black door handles also have a new chrome insert too while the front fog lamps now offer a cornering function.

The side windows are tinted and theres an extra dark tinted tailgate window for privacy as well as heat protection.

In recent years Citroen has become more and more conventional in its style and execution, hence there is a definite (and defiant?) move by the Double-Chevron French brand to split its car line into two quite different segments.

The C-Line which includes the C3, C4 and C5 is a car line offering more conventional looking Citroen vehicles, which are well specified but conservatively inoffensive in design and execution, almost Peugeot-like perhaps?

Then Citroen has its far more avantgarde DS-Line of sporty and mildly quirky cars such as the DS3, DS4, and DS5 which in my opinion reaches out to the more traditional Citroen buyer of old.

It’s no secret that the C4 is related to the Peugeot 308, and shares engine technology, and basic hardware, software, and switchgear. Thats not a bad thing and given that more than 450,000 C4 vehicles have left the Mulhouse plant since its launch in 2010, the market would tend to agree.

Spec

2015 Citroen C4 dashboardFor the 2015 model year the C4 has received increased specification including keyless entry, satellite navigation, push button start, 7 inch touch screen stop/start technology and increased acoustic comfort, as well as new design alloy wheels.

Options for the 2015 C4 include an alarm ($500), blind spot monitoring ($1500), Cielo panoramic glass roof ($1500), tyre pressure sensors ($150), 17 inch Miami alloy wheels ($1000), and pearlescent paint ($750).

Our test car arrived with the Babylon red pearlescent paint, the cielo panoramic roof, the Miami alloys and the blindspot monitoring system.

Power

The three-cylinder 1.2-litre pure-tech turbocharged petrol engine meets Euro 6 standards with the inclusion of stop/start in the C4.

The pure-tech 130 engine provides a power figure of 96kW at 5500rpm and torque of 230 Newton metres at 1750rpm.

This units offers an 8kW increase in power on the previous C4 engine, which also comes 500rpm in earlier thanks to the turbo. The maximum torque increases by 70Nm and is available some 2500rpm earlier says Citroen.

The new six-speed automatic transmission which debuted in the Citroen Picasso range in 2014, gives the C4 something that it has been lacking for quite a while. The two additional forward gears, enhanced shift strategy, and weight saving over previous gearboxes come together with the new engine to provide a combined fuel consumption of 4.9l/100km.

Inside

2015 Citroen C4 door openThe C4 cabin is functional, well put together, the plastics are of a very high quality and the seats are particularly comfortable thanks to the charcoal Rayados cloth upholstery.

Our car was fitted with the Cielo panoramic glass sunroof which comes with an internal sun blind for those days when its a bit too bright for comfort.

Citroen claims the 7 inch SMEG touchscreen groups all the vehicle functions into one intuitive system. The dual zone air-conditioning, satellite navigation, media, bluetooth and vehicle functions are all easily accessed and adjusted.

The boot volume of 408 litres is generous and easily accessed thanks to the low loading height of the tailgate.

Experience

I haven’t driven a C4 for some years, in fact to be fair it was the previous C4 generation with its funky centrally mounted speedometer which told all and sundry in the cabin, exactly how fast you were going.

The new C4 as I mentioned earlier is far more conventional in every regard, exterior and interior design, suspension, but the new pure-tech engine is not, and it gives the car some much needed character.

The wonderful burble of the direct-injection turbo three-cylinder engine when accelerating is just great, and the sound reminds me just a little of the air cooled engines that powered the Citroen GSA hatchbacks in the 1980s. They had a particular hum that was exclusively Citroen, in addition to their unique design.

It’s uncanny that such a small 1200cc engine can produce power and performance that once the preserve of a 1600 to 1800cc unit, but the Europeans are leading the way in reducing emissions and increasing fuel economy by producing such engines.

Not once during our test week with the C4 did we ever feel it was lacking in engine power, and the performance was exceptionally smooth.

Although the C4 is fitted with a conventional suspension rather than a hydro pneumatic system, its tuned for comfort rather than razor sharp handling, and on some New Zealand roads this is not a bad thing.

The C4 will happily cruise all day swallowing up distances but not litres of fuel. We averaged fuel consumption of 6-7L/100km during our time with the car which was predominantly urban running.

Verdict

The small hatchback market has become very crowded and there are some very competent competitors for the Citroen C4 at this price point, but it does offer the specification and equipment to match, if not better them.

Whether a buyer looking at a $35,490 VW Golf 1.4TSI Comfortline or a Mazda GSX hatch at $35,295 would consider the slightly cheaper Citroen C4 is a moot point, but in my opinion they ought to.

Price: $34,990

Pros

  • Wonderful engine
  • Comfortable ride
  • Excellent build quality

Cons

  • Not quirky enough for diehard Citroen fans
  • Could almost be mistaken for a Peugeot 308

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