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Citroen C4 HDi Exclusive 2011 review

Every car in the Citroen range gets pared prices, better trim and equipment for 2012.

ATTRACTION often leads to seduction, and that's what Citroen is hoping its new C4 will do to buyers in the tough small car market. The latest C4, core model of the French brand, has retained much of its aero-efficient, domed look, but is slightly longer, wider and taller than before.

It will initially be available in a choice of two petrol and a diesel engines, two transmissions and in three trim levels: Attraction, Seduction and Exclusive. All engines are four-pot 1.6-litres, but there's a world of difference between them.

As attractive and seductive as the sexy five-door hatchback might be, this one has bucked the Citroen trend to be quirky. It's one of the more conventional cars from the innovative maker. 

Even the fixed-hub steering is gone in favour of a regular wheel which saves 3.0kg. And prices, which now start from $22,990, have been trimmed by up to $4000 to add to the appeal.

Line-up

Things start with the Attraction, which has an 88kW/160Nm petrol engine paired to a four-speed automatic.

It's hi-spec for a base model, and includes ABS, EBA, ESP, traction control, six airbags, aircon, cruise control with speed limiter and remote central locking.

It's one of the most affordable small autos on the market, and one of the most stylish.

The Seduction, which adds foglights with cornering function, tinted glass, Bluetooth and some leather trim, can be had with the same motor, or a 115kW/240Nm turbo version or an 82kW/270Nm diesel in manual or auto. And soon also with a 'micro-hybrid' e-HDi engine and six-speed EGS electro-robotic shift.

The Exclusive uses turbo-petrol, HDi or e-HDi power and six-speed manual, four-speed auto or EGS. Citroens have always been known for their comfort and all C4s get very good, supportive seats, dual-zone aircon, a comprehensive trip computer and steering wheel controls for the iPod-compatible audio and cruise control.

The Exclusive has Volvo-style blind spot monitoring to warn of traffic from behind, folding mirrors with LED lights, auto-on wipers, front seats with a massaging function, climate control and customised dashboard lighting.

There's a Picasso rechargeable torch in the boot which can expand from 380 to 1183litres by folding the back seats flat. Biggest boot in its class, they say. And the car runs on Michelin energy saving tyres.

Technology

The petrol engines are the same BMW-designed units as used in some Peugeots, Fords and Minis and the diesel is well-proven.

The oil-burner with the $1000 extra micro-hybrid drivetrain includes a stop-and-start system with regenerative braking which saves up to 15per cent fuel in city driving and helps the car achieve an open road cruising figure of 3.8litres/100km and 4.2litres/100km on average.

All engines are Euro 5 compliant and the EGS transmission has an auto setting said to give better economy than a manual gearbox.

Driving

We sampled an 88kW Seduction petrol manual and diesel on a squirt through one some of twisty tarmac terrain in NSW and liked the C4's road manners.

Its suspension is a bit softer than the original model but it hangs on with typical panache, brakes well and its electro-assisted steering was great.

Although 88kW isn't much these days, the totally revised powertain gave the car more than adequate performance  and a combined fuel figure of 6.9litres/100km.  Liked the petrol but we'd happily stump up the $2000 extra for the diesel. Sacre bleu, such torque!

Pricing

Attraction petrol four-speed automatic starts the range at $22,990 with Exclusive e-HDi six-speed EGS  topping it out at $32,990

Need to know

The C4 has the maximum five star safety rating by Euro NCAP. A sporty DS4 version of the C4 will arrive in Oz in early 2012 and a DS5 is expected mid-year. A C4 Aircross AWD SUV is due before Christmas. Every car in the Citroen range gets pared prices, better trim and equipment for 2012.

Pricing Guides

$7,645
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$4,290
Highest Price
$11,000

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Attraction VTi 1.6L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $4,290 – 6,380 2011 Citroen C4 2011 Attraction VTi Pricing and Specs
Exclusive 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $7,700 – 10,780 2011 Citroen C4 2011 Exclusive Pricing and Specs
Exclusive E-HDi 1.6L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,600 – 9,240 2011 Citroen C4 2011 Exclusive E-HDi Pricing and Specs
Exclusive HDi 1.6L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $6,380 – 8,910 2011 Citroen C4 2011 Exclusive HDi Pricing and Specs