Citroen C4 launch report by Steve Rogers


Taking the jump to electric is too big a step at the moment but I am warming to it after driving the new Citroen e-C4.

But there are plenty ready to take the plunge if orders for the new family hatchback are anything to go by.

Even before the car has gone on sale 50 per cent of orders are for the zero emissions, zero tax electric model and even when the hiatus is over Citroen expect sales to level off at a surprisingly high 30 per cent.

And just to emphasise the changing of the motoring guard diesel sales are expected to be almost nonexistent but there will be a couple of options for high mileage drivers.

So what do we make of this new Citroen, and more to the point is it a conventional hatchback or SUV?

It is certainly marketed as a hatchback but standard 18 inch wheels raise the ride height and with the sloping coupe roofline it could pass for an SUV so Citroen has an eye on pleasing both camps.

Where this C4 defies conventional wisdom is its ride. Rivals like Ford Focus, VW Golf, Mazda3, Seat Leon are definitely sporty but Citroen has gone the way of comfort which is hardly surprising given its heritage. It broke the mould with pneumatic suspension decades ago, models like the CX gliding along our roads, and making my young sons car sick after a few miles!

But the current system is far more sophisticated with progressive hydraulic cushions on each wheel adapting to the surface. Does it work? Too right it does, apart from silly money luxury motors with air suspension, this is far and away the most comfortable car I have driven doing a brilliant job cushioning against the vagaries of our road surfaces. Combine that with front seats to rival your favourite arm chair and you have a mainstream car providing exceptional levels of comfort.

You do lose some of the driving sharpness of the aforementioned rivals but this is only noticeable when pushing hard through twists and turns, and how often does that happen with the family on board?

As you would expect the cabin is bang up to date with digital driver’s binnacle and centre mounted 10in touchscreen for navigation, radio, phone connections etc along with a clever pull out compartment on the passenger side of the dashboard for a tablet. Trim quality has been upgraded over the previous model with some areas taken on a distinctly premium feel suggesting Citroen is hoping to tempt customers from the more expensive German brands.

And it would seem the company has bowed to pressure reinstating physical switches for the heating system rather than having to do everything through the touch screen. Hallelujah for that!