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Citroen C4 engines, driving and performance

How does the Citroen C4 drive?

The Citroen C4 is built for comfort, not speed so, if you’re coming into it expecting a razor-sharp driving experience, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s best when driven at a relaxed pace, as then it’ll glide over most bumps and provide a cushy ride. If what you want from your next car is a relaxing way to get home from a long day at work, the C4 is perfect.

In terms of the finer details, the clutch is quite vague so it can be a little difficult to get the first couple of gearchanges done smoothly. However, the gearbox itself is pleasingly good – the gear shift is surprisingly slick and the throw is a lot shorter than the same gearbox in the Vauxhall Crossland X.

The steering is vague and a bit woolly, however, highlighting that this isn’t trying to compete with the sportiest hatches in the class – the Ford Focus and SEAT Leon, if that’s your bag. It rolls a bit more than rivals in corners, too – a result of its higher ride height and soft suspension.

Is the Citroen C4 comfortable?

Comfort is what the Citroen C4 aims for, and it’s largely successful. You can’t expect it to iron out every single bump in the road, but it does glide over a lot of scraggy road surfaces. Big jolts are rounded off nicely, and smaller but sustained imperfections are generally covered pretty well too.

The focus on comfort is most obvious in the car’s seats, which are far more padded than you might expect. Getting into the car actually feels like you’re sliding onto a luxurious fabric sofa – provided you don’t trip on the high sills as you get in. But every C4 also features Citroen’s ‘progressive hydraulic’ suspension, featuring extra damping that helps to stop the impact of bumps getting through to the occupants inside the cabin.

What’s the best engine to get?

There’s plenty of choice for Citroen C4 buyers when it comes to the engines, although not so much that it’s overwhelming. Basically, there’s petrol, diesel or electric, with the idea being that you simply choose the powertrain that suits your driving habits.

The 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel engine is the best choice for high-mileage folks, as it’s capable of up to 69mpg with a manual gearbox. It’s about 64mpg with the automatic gearbox, but that’s partly because automatic versions get 130hp rather than the 110hp in manual versions – so auto diesels are slightly quicker than manual diesels.

Petrol still makes up the bulk of C4 sales, and its 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine is a cracker. Most of these petrol engines come with 130hp, which is enough to get the C4 up to motorway speeds briskly while also offering great fuel economy. The 54mpg you can achieve – on cars with a manual gearbox – is better than many recent diesel cars! There are also 100hp and 155hp versions of this engine, but the 100hp version is limited to low-spec trim levels and the 155hp engine is rare.

The electric e-C4 is a top choice for used buyers. Electric cars are more expensive when new, but a used e-C4 costs about the same as a petrol one. If you can charge at home and don’t often do long journeys, it could save you a fortune in running costs. Up until recently, every e-C4 came with a 50kWh battery and a 225-mile range, while newer cars can also be specced with a 54kWh battery that ups the range to 260 miles – and a new motor that makes the e-C4 more powerful and quicker.

Citroen C4 performance

Even though it’s not set up for performance, the C4’s willing engines mean that no version feels underpowered. The entry-level 100hp petrol engine takes 11.3 seconds to hit 62mph from a standstill, which isn’t rapid but will feel more than capable enough to keep up with traffic and accelerate to motorway speeds.

The 130hp petrol knocks this down to a nippy nine seconds, or half a second longer with an automatic gearbox. The diesel engines almost exactly match the petrol engine’s figures, and offer a nice slug of low-down power.

But low-down power is a specialty of the e-C4, as all of its 136hp is available instantly. It’s not the quickest-accelerating EV, but it feels very brisk getting up to speed around town. Like most EVs, the e-C4 doesn’t feel as powerful at higher speeds.

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