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Citroen C4 2008 review

If you looked around a service station forecourt a year ago, you'd easily spot the motorists with a diesel vehicle.

They were the ones filling up their fuel tanks with a smug expression.

That's history. Now diesel refuellers have furrowed brows and mechanically watch the dollar signs roll over on the bowser gauge.

Which is what I was doing when it came time to top up the Citroen C4. I wasn't happy about that $11.20 I had to put in that thing to travel 100km, let me tell you. Highway robbery.

But the time has come to do your calculations before jumping in and buying a diesel vehicle.

Work out how many kilometres you would average each year of ownership. Consider the price difference between the purchase price of a diesel car compared with a petrol car.

If the diesel car is more expensive — some aren't — then that difference is practically the value of the “free” petrol you could put in the petrol model.

The Citroen C4 comes in 2-litre diesel and petrol versions. They cost $35,990 and $33,990 respectively for automatic versions.

Based on an average of 15,000km a year, the diesel will cost about $1750 a year to refuel at $1.77 a litre. The petrol model's fuel bill would be about $1798 a year at $1.48 a litre.

The difference is about $48 a year. With a $2000 premium on the car's purchase price, the diesel model would take 41.7 years of ownership to finally equal this difference.

It's very unlikely anyone would own a car, especially in today's fashion-car market, for 41 years.

So you're not smug anymore are you, diesel owners.

But if the price of diesel and petrol were equal — and who's to say that can't happen again — the story would favour the diesel.

And it's a lovely ride. The C4 with the “big” 2-litre turbo-diesel — Citroen also makes a 1.6-litre diesel version — is quick off the mark and almost silent at cruising speed.

Part of its economy and brisk manners is the silky six-speed automatic, but a lot comes back to the diesel engine for which the Peugeot-Citroen group — called PSA — are renowned.

The C4 has similar features to other C4 models and that includes a welcome cabin that will seat four adults in comfort.

It has a bright and airy disposition that is enhanced by simple controls and a perfumed air freshener, but there are some aspects of the dashboard that could be better constructed.

Citroen quality is improving each year but it still needs a kick even to reach Peugeot standards, let alone that of the Japanese.

The C4 handles well and has a supple ride. However, anyone thinking this car will match the cloud-nine ride of older Citroens will be very disappointed. Most of the underpinnings are shared with Peugeot.

In the 1970s, Citroen owners wore tweed, had beards and lived in the hills. It was pretty much the same for the women, though not all lived in the hills.

 

Now Citroen has a broader market although it is still a car for the motorist who seeks something a bit different. The C4, in diesel especially, will guarantee that difference.

Pricing Guides

$5,995
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$3,850
Highest Price
$8,140

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
VTR 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,840 – 7,040 2008 Citroen C4 2008 VTR Pricing and Specs
VTS 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $5,830 – 8,140 2008 Citroen C4 2008 VTS Pricing and Specs
2.0 HDi 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $5,500 – 7,810 2008 Citroen C4 2008 2.0 HDi Pricing and Specs
Exclusive 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $4,620 – 6,820 2008 Citroen C4 2008 Exclusive Pricing and Specs
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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