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Citroen C4 2014 review

Citroen's C4 Aircross blends French flair with Japanese value and quality.

The Citroen C4 Aircross is the French brand’s first small SUV, and has leapfrogged any first-effort gremlins by using Mitsubishi’s popular ASX crossover for its basis. It’s by no means a copyright-cheating facsimile though, as the C4 Aircross shares all mechanicals, and much of its construction with the ASX, as part of an agreement with Mitsubishi.

Therefore, the C4 Aircross shares little more than badging and half its name with the Citroen C4 hatch range. The C4 Aircross is not alone in following this formula to create a semi-instant small SUV, with fellow PSA brand Peugeot’s 4008 sharing an equal relationship with the ASX.

This sort of model propagation is nothing new in the automotive world, and on closer inspection, the C4 Aircross is a particularly successful cross-breed.

Value

Traditionally, Citroen owners have often paid a premium for their Gallic exclusivity, but the C4 Aircross bucks this trend with a starting price of just $31,990.

For this modest outlay, the single-trim level, auto-only C4 Aircross in two-wheel-drive guise (AWD $2000 more) comes with most mod cons, including cruise and climate control, reversing camera auto-dimming rear view mirror with the reversing display built into it, and USB, auxiliary, bluetooth connectivity, and 18 inch wheels.

The closest spec two-wheel-drive ASX Aspire is just $750 less ($31,240) with smaller 17-inch wheels, but adds a 7-inch multimedia screen with satnav, and partial leather trim with front seat heaters (optional in the Aircross). Similarly, the $31,490 4008 Active with the same drivetrain matches the Aircross’s spec list aside from its smaller 16-inch alloys.

Both the ASX and 4008 are available with a manual transmission and a diesel engine, so if you’re seeking either of those elements, you know where to find them. The segment sales champion Hyundai ix35 nudges all of the ASX-based trio though for value, with the $32,590 2.0 litre petrol auto Elite coming with standard 18s, satnav, partial leather, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and a panoramic glass roof.

Design

Unlike many badge-engineered models of the past, the C4 Aircross integrates contemporary Citroen details seamlessly with the ASX’s Mitsubishi flavour. All exterior panels aside from the doors and roof are changed from the ASX, so few people will pick its Japanese roots. 

On the inside, the C4 is less distinct, and relies on darker plastics and piano black and silver highlights to separate it from the Mitsubishi. The 4008 Active uses exactly the same treatment as the Citroen, save for Peugeot badgework. Therefore, the C4 Aircross offers the same useful five-seat accommodation as the ASX, with reclining 60/40 split backrests in the rear, and 384L of seats-up cargo storage in the rear.

Engine and gearbox

The C4 Aircross 4x2’s sole engine and transmission combination is the 110kW/197Nm 2.0 litre petrol four and CVT auto found in the ASX and 4008, and unsurprisingly matches both for combined fuel consumption at 7.9L/100km.

Safety

Safety wise, the C4 Aircross gets seven airbags, rear parking sensors and camera, stability and traction control and hill-start assist, but is yet to be awarded an ANCAP rating.

Driving

While the 2.0 litre four is no powerhouse, it does a good job of hauling the 1395kg Aircross, plus four adults and luggage around. The CVT auto keeps the engine revving at its torque sweet spot, which results in typical CVT grumble when pressed, but it’s perfectly acceptable when cruising. 

The ride feels a touch oversprung -- contrasting with Citroen’s magic carpet heritage-- and there is some kickback through the steering over broken surfaces. The overall drive experience is more hatch-nimble than SUV, with little bodyroll and a willingness to dart around obstacles. 

The extra ground clearance the C4 Aircross offers over a conventional hatch is handy for negotiating big speedhumps and steep driveway entries, and the body is surrounded by unpainted plastic to help with minor parking “encounters”.

Verdict

The Citroen C4 Aircross combines the best of both ends of its gene pool in many ways, with Japanese affordability and perceived quality, with the fresh Euro-chic styling of the rest of the Citroen lineup.
  

Pricing guides

$14,785
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$10,100
Highest Price
$19,470

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
4X2 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $10,100 – 15,180 2014 Citroen C4 Aircross 2014 4X2 Pricing and Specs
4X4 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $13,500 – 19,470 2014 Citroen C4 Aircross 2014 4X4 Pricing and Specs
Malcolm Flynn
CarsGuide Editor

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Pricing Guide

$10,100

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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