Citroen C4 2.0 HDi

150 Exclusive

Citroen C4, front
Citroen C4, front, action
Citroen C4, side
Citroen C4, rear
Citroen C4, loading
Citroen C4, switches
Citroen C4, storage box on EGS model

THE secret to producing the definitive medium-size five-door hatchback - one that will appeal to the maximum number of drivers - is to strike a perfect balance.

This was clearly at the forefront of Citroen's thinking when the French manufacturer designed the new generation C4 model.

It had to be engaging yet easy to drive, boast a cabin that was serene and tranquil but not dull, feature classy design without being ostentatious and be bang to the minute contemporary without bending to trend or flamboyance.

Taking that little lot on board, the company went further still. It added a raft of technologies, classy touches, frugal engines and the interior space that enabled me to haul a 20-year-old's bedroom contents - including a set of weights - on a long motorway trek back to ‘uni' with two other kids aboard for good measure.

When it comes to an area of the car market inhabited by the likes of big sellers like the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, you need to stand out as different, better or a combination of both.

Little things make a difference and Citroen's attention to detail with the C4 has been meticulous.

For instance there are business-class touches like being able to set the intensity of the dual-zone air-con to light, medium or strong while a ‘rest' function maintains cabin ventilation for up to eight minutes after the engine is switched off.

And how about being able to switch the polyphonic sound between four different themes - classic, crystal symphony, jungle fantasy and urban rythmik - for the indicator signals and unfastened seatbelt warning.

Or changing the colour of the lighting on the instrument dials from blue to white, at the touch of a button - even wallow in a massage from the front seats.

The car's acoustics are also of high order, the levels of soundproofing being engineered to match those of larger executive saloons, which in itself help listening to the specially-developed Denon hi-fi system all the more enjoyable.

These are just a few of the innovations that make the Citroen, which is slightly larger than its predecessor and also boasts the biggest boot in its class, stand out. It also happens to be powered by a line-up of efficient engines and prices from £15,750.

The C4 comes with a choice of three different petrol units developed in conjunction with BMW plus four HDi diesels, the output stretching from 90bhp to the 150bhp of the tested 2.0 HDi model.

This engine is a cracker - strong, quiet, refined and capable of returning an average 50 miles per gallon.

All three trim grades - VTR, VTR+ and Exclusive - are well specified, though top spec cars aren't cheap, the 2.0 HDi Exclusive costing £21,645.

That said, you want for little in terms of kit, the likes of front and rear parking sensors, parking space gap measurement, auto parking brake, Hill Start Assist, 17-inch alloys, auto headlamps, part-leather seats and Citroen's eTouch emergency and assistance system all included.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C4 2.0 HDi 150 Exclusive

Price: £21,645

Mechanical: 150bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 129mph

0-62mph: 8.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 56.5

Insurance Group: 23

C02 emissions: 130g/km

Bik rating: 18%

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