1 Apr 2005
By CHRIS HARRIS
SENSATIONAL styling couldn’t distance the C4 further from its dowdy Xsara predecessor.
Two related but visually different hatchback body shapes – a striking three-door ‘Coupe’ and stylish five-door – brought a whole new set of customers to Citroen’s showrooms.
And the cabin presentation is equally radical, with high-tech digital instrumentation and a nifty steering wheel boss that doesn’t move with the rotating rim, for visual as well as safety-related advantages.
Yet, after all the styling excitement, there is little that translates into the utterly conventional driving experience. Or, in other words, the C4 is as normal underneath as the surprisingly conventional Peugeot 307 that it is based on.
So we’re talking about front-wheel drive, torsion-beam rear suspension and Xsara/306 carryover engines and gearboxes – the latter putting the C4 at a disadvantage in the age of the multi-link independent Ford Focus and six-speed automatic VW Golf V.
Like the Xsara, a 1.6-litre twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine (now rated at 80kW/147Nm) powers the base models in both body shapes. It continues with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox (five-door only).
Then it’s up to the C4 Exclusive five-door hatchback, using a 103kW/200Nm 2.0-litre with twin-cams, 16 valves and variable-valve timing. This is a four-speed auto combo.
The Xsara’s VTS moniker returns for the C4 VTS ‘Coupe’ three-door hatchback, capable of 130kW and 202Nm. Again it’s a five-speed manual-only proposition.
Delays kept the impressive C4 1.6 HDI five-door hatchback coming until early ’06.
This hi-tech 1560cc HDi 110 common-rail direct-injection engine features a variable displacement turbocharger with an "overboost" feature for extra torque under acceleration.
It can produce 80kW at 4000rpm and 240-260Nm from 1750rpm and, with the standard five-speed manual (auto is unavailable), can send the vehicle from 0-100km/h in a claimed 11.2 seconds.
WITH sales of its C4 models lagging a little in the first half of 2007, Citroen offered a special drive-away deal and extra equipment on its most popular model.
The economical Citroen C4 HDi EGS (1.6-litre turbo-diesel with electronic semi-automatic transmission), which is priced at $31,990 drive-away, could be ordered for the month of August.
It was additionally optioned with the sat-nav system, alloy wheels and metallic paint worth $700, taking the total extra value on the C4 to around $5000.
In early 2008 CITROEN Australia launched a six-speed automatic, 2.0-litre turbo-diesel version of its C4 small hatch in Brisbane, but rather than being an entry-level oil-burner the C4 2.0 HDi is claimed to take performance into the luxury market sector.
Priced at $35,990, the newest diesel-powered C4 is powered by the same 100kW/340Nm engine as seen in the C6 luxury sedan and C4 Picasso people-mover, which are both more popular as diesels.
In the C4, the new HDi engine provides 0-100km/h acceleration in a claimed 10.4 seconds and can return fuel consumption of just 5.1L/100km, providing a potential touring range of more than 1000km.
The C4 HDi 2.0 shares its trim and equipment level with the C4 2.0 petrol variant, and on top of the garden-variety C4 1.6 HDi. A full leather interior with heated and powered front seats, as well as front/rear parking sensors, are exclusive C4 2.0 HDi options.