As a replacement for our misbehaving Coupe 2.0 HDi, we were given an automatic 1.6-litre petrol-engined version. In a dull red colour, this five-door hatchback looked like the dowdy older sister of our sporty ‘metallic mustard’ machine and drove in correspondingly sluggish fashion.
Our long-termer was in trouble for having first held previous tester Adele Burton captive when the central locking failed to disengage from the inside, then barred her from entry when it stuck from the outside too. Citroen replaced the system and it has given no problems since, fingers crossed.
There have been a fair few niggles regarding the C4 in its six months on the test fleet and it says a lot for its charm and performance that they have not detracted from its popularity.
Apart from the central locking hitch, we suffered a noisy rattle from inside the passenger door (consequently fixed by the local dealer), while inaugural tester Phill Tromans had trouble with an errant sat-nav system freezing mid-journey, along with the CD player. Citroen put that down to an ‘external factor’ interfering with the technology.
As for me and the C4, we’re still in honeymoon mode, thanks particularly to my fortnight in the disappointing automatic hatchback. The Coupe’s 2.0-litre 16v HDi unit pushes out 236lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm, which makes for a reassuringly assertive ride.
The up-to-the-minute interior features smart black leather and mesh-fabric seats and a techy-looking dash with an interesting fixed-hub steering wheel that apparently makes for greater safety in terms of airbag deployment.
The only problem with it is that I sometimes accidentally switch when rounding a corner from Radio 4’s Today programme to the rancid tones of Radio 1’s Chris Moyles – not what I want first thing in the morning, thank you very much.
As for the opinion-dividing colour, I agree with a previous tester that the unconventional hue (Scott Yellow, apparently) matches the car’s unconventional looks – and makes it easy to spot among the sea of silver in the car park too.
One annoyance that hasn’t been mentioned by previous testers is the view-obscuring band caused by the unusually angled back window. It’s right in the middle of the rear-view field of vision, just where a car approaching from behind looms into view, though probably more of a distraction than a hazard.
I’ve managed 44mpg on a mixed itinerary of urban and motorway routes – not bad though a fair way off the claimed 52mpg. But the C4’s merits probably outweigh the criticisms. It’s a solid and well-made car that, without our electronic grievances, would also have been an exemplary performer.
Model: Citroen C4 Coupe 2.0 HDi 16v VTS
Price (OTR): £17,995 (£20,220 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 142
Company car tax bill (2006): 22% tax-payer £59 a month
Insurance group: 10E
Combined mpg: 52.3
Test mpg: 44.0
CAP Monitor residual value: £5,575/31%
HSBC contract hire rate: £368
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles