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Citroën C4 Shine Plus BlueHDi 130 Automatic

Being an outlier does have its benefits. With the C4 proving to be the exception rather than the rule in my neighbourhood, finding it in supermarket car parks is rarely a challenge. Fair play to Citroën for, once again, ploughing its own furrow when it comes to vehicle choice. We’ve been here before with the likes of the C4 Cactus, while the firm’s history is littered with examples that have bucked established trends and automotive history is richer for it.

While everyone around me in the Tesco car park is driving off in their family hatchbacks or lumbering SUVs, I’m mooching around in something that sits outside those two clearly defined classes. The C4 isn’t too big, tall, or small – you could almost call it a Goldilocks car for being slap bang in the middle.

It never feels big out on the road, either, which is a blessing these days against the backdrop of increasingly aggressive traffic calming measures and the never-ending quest for on-street parking spaces. The C4 does, however, feel pleasingly accommodating inside; the cabin has no problems welcoming a brace of adults, while the car’s boot has yet to fail me. The false floor allows me to hide valuables out of sight, the car’s elevated stance means the boot is at just the right height, the rear seats easily fold (almost) flat with little effort, and the lack of a pronounced load lip means I don’t swear when lifting out heavy shopping bags. 

No question, Citroën has nailed the basics on the practicality front, despite the car’s style-heavy appearance. But there’s a ‘but’ – there always is. Sadly, the automatic gearbox takes the C4’s laid back vibe a bit too far. Now, I’ve already touched on this as I spend a fair amount of time in the car’s ‘eco’ mode to squeeze a few more miles out the tank, but the trade-off is a gearbox that likes to hold onto a higher gear for longer when ascending hills and when accelerating. Thank goodness the paddle shifters are responsive, because frequent taps are required to remind the gearbox of its priorities. It’s less of an issue out of eco mode, as you’re also reminded of the engine’s potential – it pulls hard yet remains refined – and it’s never an issue when on the flat making steady progress on a light throttle. But it does become a mild irritant around town when the terrain varies so much, while the clunky shuffling of the lower gears when you come to a stop makes feathering the throttle key at junctions and traffic lights. In summary, it could be better.

Man, it’s good to get that off my chest, because the rest of the car is growing on me. The much-vaunted comfort orientated seats really do match the hype, while the overall ride quality is on the right side of plush. This C4 could easily be a high-riding GS for the 21st century. And, granted, I’m experiencing a high specification variant, but the heated steering wheel is a welcome perk. Holy cow, that thing gets hot and is good to have on cold mornings. The car demands very little from you as its various creature comforts and underlying competence just get on with the job in hand. I really like that!

Date arrived 11th June 2021
Mileage 5,810
Economy (WLTP combined) 56.8-64.9mpg
Economy (On test) 57.5mpg

What's Hot

No complaints about the size of the C4’s boot, its ability to accommodate big loads, or its convenient false floor.

What's Not

As the miles increase, the sluggish nature of the C4’s gearbox mars the car’s otherwise smooth and refined personality.

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