Fleet News

Citroen C4 Coupe 2.0 HDi 16v VTS

Citroen

Review

AFTER three months with Ford’s splendid Focus, the time has come to jump across to the car that Citroen hopes will be serious competition to the Blue Oval’s sector dominance.

The C4 comes in two guises – lairy three-door Coupe or family-orientated five-door hatchback. Ours is the far better-looking Coupe. The sharply-angled boot lid conjures up memories of the Honda CRX and gives the car a sleek, compact look when viewed from the side.

Our test car is the 2.0 HDi diesel VTS in metallic Scott Yellow (£350). It’s an interesting hue which has divided opinion in the Fleet News office. Acting editor Steve Moody thinks its unusual tone matches the unconventional looks of the car. I think the striking looks deserve something more intense than metallic mustard, but I can’t deny that it’s a bit different.

The VTS is at the top of the C4 range. Two derivatives are available, with either a 180bhp petrol model or our diesel version with 138bhp. But despite the power shortfall, the diesel model doesn’t lose out in performance. The 2.0-litre 16v HDi unit pushes out 236lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm, which makes for plenty of grunt low down in the power band and nippy, if not quite scintillating, performance.

The interior is awash with typically Gallic flair. The unique fixed-hub steering wheel makes no difference to steering once the novelty has worn off and increases safety thanks to the fixed airbag.

The hub’s buttons and dials are easy to reach, but there are an awful lot of them. In fact, there are an awful lot of buttons all over the place. On receipt of the car I spent two hours on my driveway with my nose in the manual, pausing every now and then to poke tentatively at one control or other. This is not a car you can just get into and go.

Our upholstery is a mix of black leather, Alcantara and a strange rubber webbing that Citroen calls ‘3D X Ray’. Whatever, it looks cool and is very comfortable.

The dash is a complicated but stylish affair, with a digital rev counter on top of the wheel hub. The optional NaviDrive system (£1,300) is housed in a fetching brushed aluminium surround while the speedometer and assorted everyday gauges live in a translucent display in a central binnacle on top.

The radio and hands-free phone controls are below that in a console once again jam-packed with buttons.

Our car has the optional lane departure warning syste. A camera in the windscreen ‘sees’ the white lines on the road and, should you wander across without indicating at speeds of 50mph or above, servos in the seat vibrate your behind to alert you. It’s a vital safety package and I just hope I never have need to use it for real, instead of provoking the system out of curiosity.

There have been a couple of problems since the car arrived. The VTS has a five-CD changer in the armrest. But select favourite track, start to drive, place arm on armrest, and the CD restarts itself. The bottom of the lid hits the changer’s buttons with the slightest pressure.

Then there’s the Navi- Drive’s complete crash coming off the M25 at Potter’s Bar. Everything from sat-nav to radio froze, only coming unstuck after I pulled over and restarted the car.

We’re hoping that these are isolated incidents which won’t spoil our time with Citroen’s stylish new offering.

Equipment and options

Standard

  • Driver/passenger/side airbags
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • ABS, ESP, traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), emergency brake assist (EBA)
  • Five-CD changer in front central armrest
  • Automatic dual-zone air conditioning
  • Xenon dual function directional headlamps

    Options

  • Metallic paint (£350)
  • Lane departure warning system (£300)
  • Front parking sensors (£175)
  • NaviDrive (radio, CD, colour screen satellite navigation, phone) (£1,300)

    Total options: £2,125
    Standard price (OTR): £18,095
    Price as tested: £20,220

    Fact file

    Model: Citroen C4 Coupe 2.0 HDi 16V VTS
    Price (OTR): £18,095 (£20,220 as tested)
    Mileage: 1,870
    CO2 emissions (g/km): 142
    Company car tax bill (2005/6) 22% tax-payer: £49 a month
    Insurance group: 10E
    Combined mpg: 52.3
    Test mpg: 37.7
    CAP Monitor residual value: £5,100/28%
    HSBC contract hire rate: £368
    Expenditure to date: Nil Figures based on three years/60,000 miles

    What we expect

    THE C4 is a breath of fresh air in the lower-medium sector thanks to its striking looks, especially in Coupe guise with a rear-end design which makes it look much different to the more sober five-door car. The innovation continues inside, with features such as the fixed-hub steering wheel and the lane departure warning system. And although it looks much different to anything else, it should prove easy on the wallet thanks to the proven 2.0 HDi diesel engine.

    The manunfacturer’s view

    ‘THE new C4 is perfectly placed to appeal to fleet operators and drivers. For drivers, the C4 delivers high levels of comfort, equipment and safety, all in an innovative package that offers real driving satisfaction. The C4 also provides solid economic advantages in terms of very low wholelife costs, including insurance group ratings as low as 4E and 60+ mpg combined figures.’
    John Hargreaves, national fleet sales manager, Citroen UK

  • CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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    Comments

    • D Manns - 31/03/2013 21:11

      I have had a 05 C4 VTS HDi for 4 years , 1 new battery, 1 starter motor , 6 new tyres in total ( fronts last about 15,000 miles ) , striking looks, great to drive ( 6speed BMW joint adventure gear box is fantastic), I would never entertain a petrol vts simply due to the 28 mpg and £260 road tax , the HDi however gives you average 50 + mpg and £130 to tax for the year, it is 1 second slower to 60 but my god on the motorway it pulls like a rocket , the torque is awesome , absolute love this car, looking at upgrading as I only keep my cars 4 years but I can not seriously find anything for £6-£7000 that comes close, would definitely recommend this car , this recommendation comes from someone who has done 40,000 in the last 4 years in mine

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