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Citroen C4 2015 review

On August 4, 1925, Nevill Westwood, a Seventh Day Adventist missionary, set out from Perth to spread the word of his beliefs to other Australians. Driving a Citroen 5CV Tourer, known affectionately as 'Bubsie', after 148 days and 17,220 kilometres he returned home having become the first person to drive around Australia.

Ninety years after Westwood's marathon, Citroen has given us an upgraded C4 hatchback. In two models, Seduction and Exclusive, the range features an all-new drivetrain, fresh styling and improved comfort and convenience over the previous model.

It has a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine delivering greater power and torque from the use of less fuel.

Both models are paired exclusively to an all-new six-speed Aisin automatic gearbox. Compared to the previous 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, four-speed automatic petrol drivetrain the new 1.2-litre C4 develops eight kilowatts more power (now 96kW) and 70Nm more torque (now 230Nm), resulting in a 1.1-second swifter run to 100km/h.

Fuel use sees an improvement of 2.1L/100km (down to 4.9L/100km).

Styling has been brought up to date with new front and rear lighting, front bumpers and new colours. There are halogen headlights with LED signature, 3D effect taillights and chromed door mirror shells.

door panels in front large enough for a 1.5-litre bottle

Focus of the cabin interior is an all-new 7-inch tablet-style touch screen that gets rid of 13 buttons from the dash panel resulting in a cleaner, more intuitive set-up. The new touchscreen has allowed the take-up of satellite navigation as standard in both models.

There's also automatic lights and wipers, dual zone climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, rear park assist and electric folding mirrors.

On top of this, Exclusive variants gain blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry and start, Cielo panoramic glass roof, electric park brake, front parking sensors - in addition to those in the rear - and reversing camera.

Priced at $29,990, plus on-road costs, extra kit in the Seduction adds up to $5500 in value, which more than makes up for the price rise over the previous model ($23,990), while at $33,990 the added value of $1500 gives the Exclusive a similar advantage over its predecessor.

Options include metallic paint at $800 and pearlescent paint at $1000. Exclusive models can also be optioned with full leather, including front seat heating and massage function for $2500.

Boot volume is 408 litres. All is useable; it has low load entry and interior fittings while 60/40 split-fold seats and a ski flap allow long, cumbersome objects to be carried.

Generous storage includes a large glove box, door panels in front large enough for a 1.5-litre bottle, drawers under the front seats, storage space on the dashboard and under the front armrest.

The cabin has a premium feel with soft-touch dashboard, quality cloth roof lining and touches of chrome on the steering wheel controls, air vents and gear lever.

Seduction has the choice of a new upholstery finish - Rayados Mistral knit - while Exclusive receives a part leather, cloth and alcantara trim as standard.

weight saving of 125kg over the discontinued Euro 5 diesel model

Exclusive also includes electric lumbar adjust and massage for the driver. The optional full leather trim includes seat heating and massage for both front occupants.

Flat yet comfortable seats, large windows, panoramic glazed roof (Exclusive only) measuring 1.3 square metres, and with an electric blind, produce light and airy surroundings.

The all-new PureTech drivetrain has provided a weight saving of 125kg over the discontinued Euro 5 diesel model. The resulting changes to spring and damper rates make for increased comfort.

Based on the three-cylinder architecture of the naturally aspirated engines in the PureTech family, the turbocharged version in the C4 hatch operates smoothly.

The PureTech 130 drivetrain is mated with a six-speed automatic. It features Quick Shift, a new technology for synchronised control of engine and gearbox.

Safety items include electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist and traction control coupled with an electronic stability program.

In a bid to give the scribes some idea of what Westwood and companion Greg L Devisee drove, they were given the chance to drive a 5CV similar to the missionary's bright-yellow tourer, naively named 'le petit citron' (the little lemon), outside the National Museum of Australia, in Canberra, where Bubsie is now garaged.

It was surprisingly easy to manage, when you got used to the fact the brake pedal was on the right, the accelerator in the middle and the clutch on the left. The gearshift was no short-throw lever, but enabled each gear to be sought out with little trouble.

The lack of power steering made the 5CV difficult to manoeuvre at low speeds, but a large steering wheel helped here.

Verdict

Citroen says the 5CV marked the start of popular motoring in Europe; it was cheap to run and simple to handle – it became a huge success. No doubt the Australian arm of the French company is hoping for a little ‘Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose' from the upgraded C4 hatch.

Pricing Guides

$14,245
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$8,580
Highest Price
$19,910

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Exclusive 1.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $15,510 – 19,910 2015 Citroen C4 2015 Exclusive Pricing and Specs
Seduction 1.6L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $9,020 – 12,650 2015 Citroen C4 2015 Seduction Pricing and Specs
Seduction E-HDi 1.6L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $10,670 – 14,630 2015 Citroen C4 2015 Seduction E-HDi Pricing and Specs