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Citroen C4 Review 2005

It's not because you'll miss the super roomy feel, the leather interior, full-length sunroof or the CD stacker that's hiding in the armrest. And while it is a definitely a nice touch, especially on a cold winter's night, most people could give or take the seat warmers in our mild Australian climate.

No. The reason people could shy away from driving any other car after spending any length of time in the five-door Citroen C4 is because they have simply become too lazy.

In the Citroen C4 the headlights switch on automatically once darkness falls and windscreen wipers jump into action as soon as raindrops touch the glass.

The rear-view mirrors tilt to give drivers the optimum view when reversing.

When you get out of the car, the mirrors fold away to avoid being side-swiped on narrow city streets.

But perhaps the inclusion that threatens to strip any sense of responsibility from the driver is the warning system that beeps if you come too close to anything in front or behind.

When squeezing into a tight spot, the warning tones were a godsend.

But after only three days' driving I already found myself relying on those trusty beeps to tell me whether I was going to crash.

My sense of distance went out the window – a sure recipe for disaster once behind the wheel of another, less informative, vehicle.

But those more familiar with the electrics and accessories that buyers of premium small cars have come to expect will turn their attention to the car's on-road performance.

As a driver who learnt on a manual but driven automatic for the past 13 years, I found the option of driving the car in the part-manual mode fascinating.

It was good to be able to influence the car's power by changing gears manually without having the hassle of using the clutch like in full manual mode.

But when I wanted to return to completely automatic, I found the ride was not as smooth as I expected.

The speed rose quickly wihout any problem, but the journey back to zero invariably contained a jolt or two.

A unique touch of the Citroen, which should not be overlooked, is the steering wheel hub which stays fixed as the wheel turns around it.

While it was a bit disconcerting at first, I soon realised that it means all the buttons and controls mounted on the steering wheel hub stay in the same position for ease of reference. The Citroen C4 scores top marks for style, accessories and comfort but could do a little better in the performance stakes.

Low-down power from the 2.0-litre could do with some work, particularly if there is a load on board. That comes in the more powerful high-performance 2-litre engine in the sporty VTS model C4, but that is another story.

Fitting into the Citroen range between the C3 small car and the C5 saloon, the C4 also rates well for safety.

It has plenty of equipment, boasts a five-star crash-test rating and is particularly pedestrian friendly.

The C4 is competitive with the other cars in its market on fuel consumption with a combined cycle figure of 8.1L/100km.

The bottom line is always price. The C4 actually starts at $25,990 for the 1.6-litre coupe and hatch base models. However the model I tested costs $33,990 because it comes with a few options, which push up the price.

That includes metallic paint ($700), the leather pack with driver's electric seat, two-position memory and heating ($3500) plus the innovative and, dare I say must-have, full length glass sunroof ($1500).

Nonetheless the C4 represents the height of French flair and innovation when compared to its rivals in 2005.

Pricing Guides

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Range and Specs

VTR 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,970 – 4,620 2005 Citroen C4 2005 VTR Pricing and Specs
VTS 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,410 – 5,390 2005 Citroen C4 2005 VTS Pricing and Specs
Exclusive 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,860 – 4,510 2005 Citroen C4 2005 Exclusive Pricing and Specs
SX 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,530 – 3,960 2005 Citroen C4 2005 SX Pricing and Specs