► New Citroen C4 joins the CAR fleet
► The alternative family hatch
► Online editor Curtis chills out
After 11 months with the Ford Focus ST, it was time for something different. And 'different' is exactly what the Citroën C4 is good at. It may look like a jellybean with the back end of an old Honda Civic grafted on, but the Citroën is one of the most disruptive cars on the road today. Jacked up and reborn as a crossover for its third generation, the new C4 is a key part of Citroën's plan to make comfort cool.
'This is the Citroen I love,' Vincent Cobée, Citroën chief executive told CAR editor-in-chief Phil McNamara earlier this year. 'It takes a traditional segment, family hatch, and says, "I don't like the posture: those cars are too low, difficult to sit in and get out, don't have good vision, nor great style and comfort – why stay low?" So we move up. And let's have a design which stands out.'
Job done, in my opinion. In a world full of diluted performance badges, harsh ride and gaping grilles, the C4 is like an inoffensive pair of slippers for the road. It's getting looks too – admittedly not the same looks the Focus ST got – but there's a lot to be said for its Dakar-esque profile and fresh design. And in the short time I've had it, I can already say the ride is equally unique.
The Citroën floats on roads I've hammered through countless times, ignoring bumps the Focus ST, Honda Civic Type R and other crossovers have trained me to brace for. It's a different type of driving experience – less rushed, more relaxing – and one that other car makers seem to have left for Citroën to dominate.
In our June 2021 issue, Cobée told CAR, 'We are the kings of comfort', but it's fair to say there haven't been many other claims to the throne – at least not under £30,000.
The C4's supreme ride stems from a tuned suspension and comfort seats, but the interior has more evidence of Citroën's focus on stress-free design: underneath a basic HUD, cockpit dials only display your speed and tank for minimum info fatigue. The steering is also quick, sensibly geared towards reversing into parking bays rather than attacking corners. Throw in a potentially lazy eight-speed auto 'box and huge 480-ish mile range, and my C4 is made for covering miles with minimum stress.
Over the next few months I'll be scratching the friendly surface of the new petrol C4, while also comparing it to its electric ë-C4 sibling, and the handsome Vauxhall Mokka it shares its CMP platform with. Welcome aboard!
By Curtis Moldrich
Logbook: Citroen C4 PureTech 130 Shine Plus
Price £26,605 (£27,355 as tested)
Performance 1199cc turbocharged three-cylinder, 129bhp, 9.4sec 0-62mph, 130mph
Efficiency 44.7-50.3mpg (official), 38.9mpg (tested), 131g/km CO2
Energy cost 16.8p per mile
Miles this month 45
Total miles 2090