- Doors and Seats
- Engine Power
- Ancap Safety
The Citroen C4 brings a fresh approach to the small SUV segment with just enough of the French brand’s innovation to stand out from the crowd.
- Unconventional styling
- Delightful engine and transmission combo
- One of the plushest rides going
- Four-star safety rating
- Servicing costs a touch on the high side
- Silly tablet holder
There was a time when Citroen engineered and made some great cars. Marvels that not only moved the game forward in technological terms, but also defied conventional design trends, adding truly ground-breaking ideas to the automotive landscape. On the surface, the 2022 Citroen C4 isn’t one of them.
But, dig a little deeper and suddenly there’s enough of Citroen’s almost signature quirkiness to give pause with the thought, ‘ah yes, it’s a Citroen’.
The Citroen C4 landed here late last year as the long-awaited replacement for the more conventional C4 hatchback. That hatchback genesis is evident in the new C4, its sloping roof line lending it the air of a large, high-riding hatch.
For its part, Citroen says the C4 “succeeds in combining the refined and dynamic lines of a compact hatchback with the generous volumes and robustness of an SUV”.
While that might sound like marketing guff (because it is), there’s no denying Citroen is daring to defy the prevailing convention when it comes to how a small SUV should look. Yes, we know there are other ‘coupe SUVs’ on the market, but they can be counted on one hand, the more traditional ‘two-box’ shape dominant in an important segment.
Scratch a little further and you’ll find another oh-so-typical-Citroen trickery under the skin – the trademarked ‘Citroen Suspension with Hydraulic Cushions’. Bit of a mouthful, but Citroen promises a feeling like “driving a real flying carpet”. More on this later.
The French brand isn’t exactly a volume player in the Australian market. In 2021, Citroen sold just 175 cars. Ferrari (194) sold more cars. Whether the C4 is the car to turn around its fortunes remains to be seen.
To keep it simple, there’s just a single variant available to Australians – the Citroen C4 Shine. It’s priced at $37,990 plus on-road costs, or around $42,000 drive-away depending on which state you live in.
That pricing brings with it some pretty stiff opposition, even if you’re only looking at French cars.
The standard equipment list in the Citroen C4 is impressive. In fact, everything is standard, bar an opening sunroof ($1490) and several shades of $690 paint (only Pearl White is standard). Everything else is crammed into the Citroen C4’s package.
Key highlights include 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen running Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation, DAB+ radio, a 5.5-inch digital instrument display complemented by a head-up display, LED daytime running lights and fog lights, dual-zone climate control, leather seat trim with contrast stitching, heated front seats, and a massage function for the driver’s seat.
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A single variant means just a single drivetrain, and it’s one found in the broader PSA Group stable. Under the bonnet lies the same turbocharged 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine as found in the Peugeot 2008. And like the Peugeot, drive is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed conventional automatic transmission. But has Citroen messed too much with what is, in the Peugeot, a charismatic and willing drivetrain? Let’s find out.
Before we get to how the Citroen C4 drives, it’s worth spending time in the interior. And it’s a peach, if a little odd.
There’s an overall feeling of spaciousness, and the design and materials visible throughout are excellent. The leather-trimmed seats with their distinctive quilted pattern highlighted by contrast stitching feature another party trick – memory foam. Citroen says this creates “living room comfort on wheels”, and sitting in the driver’s seat for the first time, it’s hard to argue the point.
There’s a plush softness to the seats that are supremely comfortable yet strangely supportive. You don’t sink into them like an old lounge chair, but there’s a cushioning that’s hard not to like. Adjustability is good and the massage function is nice to have but not really necessary. Use it once, then forget.
The quality of materials throughout is good, a mixture of satin chrome and gloss black (although not too much) highlights enhancing what is already a well-resolved cabin. Some of the plastics err on the side of firm, although the dials for the climate control are finished in a lovely textured rubberised material.
Storage options include the usual cupholders, central storage bin and door pockets capable of holding bottles. A two-level shelf with a removable base lives under the climate-control interface, and while it looks like it might accommodate wireless phone charging, it doesn’t.
And another Citroen party trick is the integrated tablet holder that slides out from the dash on the passenger side. It holds devices, such as Apple’s iPad, and while one can envisage a use for it, it’s gimmicky at best and potentially distracting for the driver.
The 5.5-inch digital driver display isn’t the last word in the technology. Not only is it small, but it’s also static and that means no configuration to taste. It’s an odd size, too, housed inside an area that could take a bigger display. Maybe we’ve been short-changed and there are more advanced screens available in other markets?
A head-up display is cast onto a plastic screen that pops up from the dashtop. It’s not the most elegant application, but it does offer clear and easy to read information such as speed.
Second-row comfort mirrors that of the front seats, with plush seating again accented by some nifty patterned contrast stitching. There’s a decent amount of space back there, certainly in terms of leg and knee, although it does start to run out of space a little up top, the C4’s sloping roof line impacting on headroom.
There are air vents back there to keep things nice and cosy, while a single USB point keeps devices juiced up.
The boot can swallow 380L up to the parcel shelf with the back seats in play for passengers. That’s on par for the segment. Stow away the second row and there’s 1250L available. A space-saver spare lives under the floor.
|2022 Citroen C4 Shine|
|Boot volume||380L seats up / 1250L seats folded|
Infotainment and Connectivity
The 10.0-inch touchscreen sprouting from the dash looks a cut above thanks to its thoughtful design. While some screens still look like they are Blu-Tacked on to the dashtop, Citroen has offered some flair with its nicely angled housing that looks integrated and part of the dash.
The C4’s infotainment system is familiar to anyone who’s driven a recent Peugeot, and that’s no bad thing. The graphics are crisp, the menus and sub-menus easy to navigate, and responses to touch inputs are quick. There’s also an array of shortcut buttons to take users to the requisite menus quickly and easily without the need to scroll through a host of screens. Nice.
The satellite navigation mapping is acceptable, too, although with the inclusion of smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a little redundant, certainly for urban dwellers where we imagine the bulk of C4s will spend their time.
The inclusion of a 360-degree surround-view camera looks on paper like a good one. But it falls down in terms of image clarity and resolution, requiring a little guesswork. Would you trust it in a tight parking situation? Probably not. We’ve experienced much better uses of the technology elsewhere, so it can be done.
There’s no wireless charging tray despite, as already mentioned, the enticing-looking, smartphone-sized tray located directly under the screen. Helpfully, two USB points in the front (and one in the second row) mitigate that omission.
If the Citroen C4 has a big black mark against its name, it’s here. Australia’s safety body, ANCAP, scored the new C4 at four stars following the results of crash testing conducted in Europe by Euro NCAP.
The new C4 scored 76 per cent for adult occupant protection, 81 per cent for child occupant protection, 57 per cent for vulnerable road user protection (pedestrians and cyclists), and 62 per cent for safety assist (active safety systems).
ANCAP highlighted the C4’s poor performance in the side-impact test, where the small SUV scored a lowly 0.12 out of 4.00 points, largely because of a lack of centre airbag, increasingly employed by other manufacturers and a requirement to attain a five-star rating under new ANCAP protocols.
Other areas the C4 fell short include vulnerable road user protection, while its autonomous emergency braking system was labelled ‘marginal’.
While the C4 is equipped with some active safety technologies – autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring – it misses out on rear cross-traffic alert. Other safety technologies include tyre pressure monitoring, speed limit recognition, driver attention monitoring, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function.
A suite of six airbags covers both rows of occupants, although, as already noted, the centre airbag is notable by its absence.
Citroen covers the C4 with its standard five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. Servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.
Citroen’s capped-price servicing means you’ll pay $429, $585, $429, $598 and $443 for the first five visits to the workshop, a total of $2484 for the first five years, a smidge under $500 per annum. That’s getting up there for the segment.
The French maker claims a miserly 7.7L/100km on the combined cycle. In good news, our week with the C4 bested the manufacturer’s claim with an indicated 7.3L/100km. The C4 requires 95RON premium unleaded petrol in its 50L fuel tank.
|At a glance||2022 Citroen C4 Shine|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1443 (3 years), $2484 (5 years)|
|Fuel Usage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||7.7L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||7.3L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||50L|
There’s a lot to like about how the Citroen C4 performs on the road. And it starts with the characterful 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine under the bonnet.
As we’ve discovered in other vehicles from the PSA stable with the same engine, the turbocharged three-pot is a delight. It’s responsive and with a gruff engine note characteristic of three-cylinder mills that’s hard not to like.
It makes the same 114kW and 240Nm as its Peugeot 2008 twin under the skin, and is mated to the same eight-speed automatic transmission sending drive to the front wheels. And that’s no bad thing, the drivetrain combination both responsive and eager.
Acceleration is predictable and linear, with enough urgency to inspire confidence in traffic. The eight-speed auto is slick and intuitive, its knack for swapping ratios commendable.
Around town, the C4 is easy to drive, with a nimbleness underscored by its relatively svelte 1299kg kerb weight.
Citroen claims a 0–100km/h sprint time of 8.5 seconds, which is rapid enough for getting out of tight situations. It’s not a manic performer, by any stretch, but there’s enough performance on tap to elicit a wry smile.
Out on the highway, the C4 is happy to purr along at the signposted speed limit and, thanks to the 1.2-litre’s very usable torque band (all 240Nm comes on song at 1750rpm), responds well enough to the bigger questions for an overtake or merge.
The C4’s real party trick, however, is its trick suspension. It’s not the full hydropneumatic set-up the French carmaker pioneered and is famed for, but the ‘Suspension with Hydraulic Cushions’ is commendable in just how well it isolates the cabin from road nasties.
While the C4 doesn’t exactly float over road rash and the like, there’s a cushioning under wheel that makes for a calm and unflustered driving experience.
Navigating tight city streets is a breeze thanks to the C4’s light steering. It feels, if anything, a little too light, but does firm up noticeably as speeds increase. Toggling the C4’s drive-mode selector also adds some reassuring heft.
|Key details||2022 Citroen C4 Shine|
|Engine||1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||114kW @ 5500rpm|
|Torque||240Nm @ 1750rpm|
|Drive type||Front-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Eight-speed torque convertor automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||92.2kW/t|
|Tow rating||500kg braked, 500kg unbraked|
It’s hard not to be taken in by the Citroen C4 which, while on the surface looks a little conventional for the French brand, does have enough of that inherent Citroen-ness going for it.
The coupe-like hatchback styling won’t suit everyone, but it’s hard to argue the C4 presents an interesting profile – one that is gaining its adherents if the proliferation of swooping-roofed SUVs is anything to go by.
It suffers, however, for that four-star safety rating, which is a blot on an otherwise pretty decent small SUV.
But for those who can look past an average safety score, the rewards come in the form of a willing and characterful drivetrain, a pleasing interior and, thanks to that trick suspension set-up, a ride quality that oozes comfort.
The 2022 Citroen C4 isn’t a mainstream choice by any stretch, and that just might suit buyers.