It was last summer that Citroën lifted the veil on a car that is part of its lineup, the third generation of its C4 compact sedan. If the second C4 was a wise evolution of its predecessor, Citroën chose to overturn the table. It’s indeed a whole new idea of what a car in this segment should be like that I’ve tried.
It’s hard not to start this review with what made a lot of noise in its presentation and which did not diminish during the first meetings: the drawing. Very often, we like to wait to “see for real”, excluding press photos or even trade shows (RIP), to freeze our opinion on the curves of a new model. This time, the initial shock was not mitigated by the environment: Citroën changed its style … but unfortunately not for the better. The current design philosophy of the brand was nevertheless very coherent: original lines but soft, sympathetic and playful.
Now, and the all-new C5X confirms, it's big front, big rear and raised bodywork. It seems that the brand wanted to please everyone by offering a sedan, yes but an SUV. I am sorry to my regret that it upsets everyone. Sedan enthusiasts (those who remain) will find it too tall and massive, and SUV enthusiasts will prefer a real SUV. I pass over the huge black pieces of the bouncy rear, the consistency of which must have been lost in limbo. It’s said, I don’t like it.
But the design does not make the car, especially a car above all utility and not passion. I will also be told that the first Peugeot 3008 did not have an easy physique either and that it was a great success. So let's move on, climb into the cockpit, the right place, the one where you can't see the bodywork.
Modern and unostentatious, the interior of the C4 is quite welcoming. In our Shine version (almost the highest in the range), the first impression is quite flattering. The dashboard is dominated by a large central screen. We find the software
PSA Stellantis, with intuitive navigation and whose tactile responsiveness suffers no complaints. The surface treatment limits fingerprints and some controls are found on the steering wheel. We might be surprised by the driver’s screen, tiny rikiki.
But the head-up display is more than enough when driving and you quickly forget this initial surprise. The center console is adorned with lacquered plastic. It's very elegant … but it marks very quickly. My car had 500km on the clock and already 500 fingerprints. Pity. The plastics on the top are nicely crafted and pleasing to the eye. This is less the case with declining quality and somewhat cheaper hard plastics.
A compact sedan, the C4 is not intended to transport a large family. Its rear seat can however allow two adults to travel comfortably with sufficient space. The seats are pleasantly firm. The driving position is a bit difficult to find for a large size like mine (over 1m80). The trunk has a practical double bottom.
This is the well-known PureTech 130 coupled with the EAT8 gearbox that equips our test version. The 3-cylinder behaves in the C4 as in the other models. A little noisy in the laps, especially in cold conditions, but provided with appreciable torque for everyday driving. I know him well, he equips my personal car. The EAT8 is very smooth and contributes to the general atmosphere once in the cockpit: you feel good there.
Citroën has once again built a model of balance between the rigor of the suspensions and a very high level of comfort. The car holds its course perfectly even when it is abrupted. The steering is smooth and precise, you can pick up the pace with confidence, even though that's not the philosophy of the car at all. The only downside is that the ECO mode (there is also a NORMAL mode and a SPORT mode) is really too restrictive. By preventing downshifting too often, you lose the benefit of the turbo and the torque it provides when picking up. Frustrating but probably very effective in reducing consumption.
On the equipment side, there is not much missing with a riot of technology, the area in which manufacturers want to advance. The C4 is equipped with Apple Car Play and Android Auto with induction charging (optional). A large shelf, support for your own tablet unfolds above the glove box for the passenger. We have a small “wow” effect but on reflection, this limits the size of the always practical glove box.
Autonomous driving is also part of the game with a regulator managing the safety distances, able to brake for you. Note that the braking in question can be a bit abrupt, as the software apparently is not yet able to understand that a car in front of you is accelerating. On motorway journeys, the system has been shown to be very effective under normal conditions, much less in heavy traffic.
So, to conclude, what to think of this third generation C4? The car has no major flaws and will offer everything that most potential buyers are looking for: comfort, safety, plenty of equipment, reasonable options (except for that somewhat annoying habit taken by everyone of charging for the car). color), just as reasonable consumption and the possibility of buying (soon) an all-electric version. Our top-of-the-range model is available for less than € 30,000, options included. The specifications of the vast majority of buyers in the B segment are therefore fulfilled.
Photo credit: Pierre CLEMENCE
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