This third generation Citroen C4 is a far more credible offering from the French carmaker than some of its past efforts in the family hatchback sector. With its funky SUV-inspired looks, clever suspension system and a choice of petrol, diesel or a brand new 100% electric powertrains, the French brand will be hoping it can play its part in rejuvenating this segment while also enticing Motability customers away from popular Motability rivals like the Volkswagen Golf and the SEAT Leon.
The electric Citroen e-C4 is now £1995 Advance Payment for the 'Shine Plus' trim, while prices for the ICE versions of the Citroen C4 start at £0, including the automatic 'Sense Plus' version (section updated October 2023).
"This car", says Citroen CEO Vincent Cobee, "is Citroen to the core", this third generation C4 model's task being to return the brand to credibility in the Focus and Golf-dominated family hatch sector. The last C4, launched in 2010, wasn't particularly Citroen and wasn't particularly successful either, selling mainly on low price - and towards the end of its life not even on that. In 2017, Citroen tried to replace it with an evolved family hatch-orientated version of its C4 Cactus crossover, but that didn't work either.
This third generation C4 plays the crossover card too in terms of some aspects of its visual appeal, but unlike with the outgoing C4 Cactus, in ordering one, you won't feel you're being forced into an SUV rather against your will. Instead, this C4 plays to the things people tend to like about Citroen - innovative design, a distinctive feel and exemplary ride quality. Plus there's an all-electric e-C4 version too.
Citroen hopes that the way this car drives is what will sell it to you - or more specifically, the way this car rides. Like the outgoing C4 Cactus, it features a clever Progressive Hydraulic suspension set-up. Here, the car's springs and shock absorbers work in concert with hydraulic compression and rebound stops, which are supposed to slow body movement over bumps and rough tarmac. You'll want to know about the engines. There's the brand's usual PureTech 1.2-litre 3 cylinder petrol unit, available in three states of tune with 100, 130 or 155hp options. All variants will be front driven, with more powerful models available with an 8-speed auto gearbox. Citroen also offers its usual 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel, available either with a 6-speed manual gearbox (in 110hp guise) or an 8-speed automatic (in 130hp form). There's also a new all-electric version, the e-C4, which we'll look at in more detail a bit later on.
What this third generation C4 does beyond any doubt is to confirm that the delineating line between family hatch and compact SUV design is being ever more blurred. Which many Motability drivers in search of a compact hatch will think to be no bad thing. Citroen says the crossover cues aren't for crossover purposes. The higher-than-Focus-class-average 156mm ride height is there to offer a high vantage point and better all-round visibility. The matte black-finished wheel arches aren't for arduous tracks but to prevent supermarket car park dings. And there's plenty of signature Citroen design, with stylishly-shaped lights and chromed Chevrons that stretch across the car's width. Plus, there's and an air intake grille featuring a pattern first seen on the brand's recent 19_19 concept car.
Inside, the dash gets the kind of big 10-inch centre touchscreen that's in current vogue. And a fully digitalised instrument binnacle. Thankfully, unlike with the old C4 Cactus, the climate controls are separated out from the screen on the centre stack. Six interior colour schemes are on offer, all aimed at making you feel as 'if you're in your living room'. For the rear seat, the brand claims best-in-class knee room and offers a wide range of storage compartments.
There's also a decently-sized 380-litre boot. A two-position floor means that with the panel in its highest position, there is no lip to get any heavy objects over, a feature that many Motability customers will find useful.
If you were buying this car for yourself, pricing sits in the usual £21,000-£28,000 bracket common to Focus class family hatchbacks these days. At launch, for the petrol and diesel variants there are four trim levels - 'Sense', 'Sense Plus', 'Shine' and 'Shine Plus', with the top three of those also available to e-C4 customers.
All C4 variants get the brand's Advanced Comfort seats, which offer extra support and can be enhanced with optional heating and massaging systems. Various interior colour scheme packages allow you to personalise the cabin. And wheel sizes range from 16 to 18-inches, with the e-C4 featuring an exclusive 18-inch 'Crosslite' alloy wheel design.
The freshly designed 10-inch digital dashboard and instrument binnacle comes as part of the standard package, as does wireless phone charging and 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring connectivity. They've also launched 'Citroën Smart Pad Support', a clever retractable support system in the dashboard that allows a tablet device to be securely mounted, allowing the passenger to enjoy content from the device in comfort.
A nice optional touch you might well want to consider is a full-HD camera built into the rear view mirror which can take photos or video stored on a 16GB memory card. Safety-wise, there's no fewer than 20 different driver assistance features, including Highway Driving Assist and a 'level 2' semi-autonomous drive system incorporating Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist.
Citroen has a strong reputation for low running costs thanks to the way that the design of its cars keep weight down and because of the efficiency of its PureTech petrol and BlueHDi diesel engines. That continues here, the Puretech petrol models benefiting from engines designed to reduce frictional losses in operation. The PSA Group's BlueHDi diesel technology is based around a clever three-step after-treatment system designed to better eliminate the four nasty pollutants that diesel units usually put out - namely unburnt hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates. As a result, there are low WLTP-rated CO2 readings. The PureTech petrol unit delivers 122g/km in its 100 and 130hp forms (or 131g/km as a 130hp auto). The BlueHDi 110 diesel manages 115g/km - or 120g/km in 130hp auto form.
New for the C4 range this time round is an all-electric version, the e-C4, which uses a 50kWh battery powering an electric motor and developing 134hp. It can make 62mph from rest in 9.7 seconds and go on to a top speed of 93mph, but the more important stat is this model's ability to cover a WLTP-rated range of 217 miles on a single charge. To boost this capability, the car can recover energy when decelerating or braking. And there are three drive modes - 'Eco', 'Normal' and 'Sport' - that can vary the level of engine power and the energy draw from the air conditioning to boost driving range.
The e-C4 is fitted with an 11kW charger, which can charge from empty in around 7.5 hours using a 32amp home wallbox. It also has 100kW fast charger, which can achieve an 80% charge in around half an hour using a public fast charger.
A free home charging wall box is now included with all 100% electric Motability cars, including the new Citroen e-C4.
All the ingredients for a strong showing are here as this third generation C4 nods to the two currently trending themes of crossover style and electrified power. Yet it delivers them within a family hatchback package that Motability customers in this segment can be comfortable with - quite literally, thanks to the Progressive Hydraulic Suspension set-up.
The French carmaker thinks this sector is ready for change and this car delivers it without getting carried away with innovation, as its C4 Cactus predecessor rather did. And it's obviously significant that within the range lies the brand's first credible full-electric model. Ultimately though, what really matters is that what we have here is a proper Citroen - with all that means. Thank goodness for that.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new Citroen C4 through Motability will receive a brand new car, delivered by a Motability Specialist at a local Citroen dealership, complete with insurance, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyre cover, windscreen repair or replacement cover plus a mileage allowance of 60,000 miles over three years.
This month, these Citroen C4 New models can be ordered through the Motability Scheme: