When it comes to the French, design is of utmost importance. This is evident in the Citroen C4 because it just looks like no other car in its class. It even has racing pedigree in the form of Sebastian Loeb who pilots this model in the WRC so this car is cool as well. So its no real surprise that the C4 is becoming increasingly popular here in Singapore and though it is still a little underrated by the public. Approaching from afar, the car looks handsome with its uninterrupted curves and the tasteful 16-inch alloys which come as standard with the car. Look a little closer and you will notice the fine detail that has been paid towards the styling of the car as a whole, it looks as if the designers were the kind who would commit suicide if anything went wrong, thus the flawless appearance.
And it gets even better inside. The cabin is airy and if you are willing to pay an additional $3000, you get the delightful panoramic glass roof which brightens up the interior beautifully. Furthermore, the dials feel important when pushed and not flimsy like an old hat, the dash is full of surprises, the biggest one being the steering wheel which doesn't seem to turn at all. Weird, but then you realize that its because of Citroen's clever Multi-functional fixed-centred controls steering wheel which is like a universal remote control. It has everything on it from a speed limiter to cruise control, air-conditioning controls to radio adjustments, it handles it all. All these buttons make you feel like you are controlling your Playstation rather than your car. Cabin space is above average with ample space for adults in the rear and the seats are comfortable too. So far it seems like there can't be much to complain about. Or is there?
The dials have all be relocated to the centre console which can be a bit distracting when driving and the LCD display for the trip computer is a tad to small at times especially the cute icons to represent what i would interpret to be a human. And that big speedo in the middle just tells the whole world if you're speeding or not, making the job for the police easier. It all seems a bit confusing as the fuel consumption and other safety indicators are spread out in two different locations though they are one above the other, they still need some time to get used to. The interior is rather 'plasticky' and feels rather loosely put together and the rear magazine holder panel even moves! It somehow decided that it needs a break from being well fitted and clinically tight like an Audi. Moreover, the engine is rather loud and not to mention the C4 does not exactly have a wonderful soundtrack.
So the cabin is noisy, the interior fittings don't feel like staying put and the dials are rubbish... at first.
Once started, the car roars to life, noisy yes but limp, no. The standard 1.6l engine can go from 0-100km/h under 12 seconds. Not too fast but neither is it too slow in our city traffic. The 110bhp engine does well and is not a heavy drinker. The average fuel consumption is around 13.1km/l and that can be improved if one is not heavy footed. The ride is smooth and planted, the suspension absorbs bumps well and won't make you feel like you're in a bouncy castle. And, even in the entry level C41.6 SX VTI you get disc brakes all round which mean better braking power with ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Braking Assistance (EBA) as standard, you feel safe in this car. Airbags are plentiful as well, 6 in total making the car a winner with a five star EuroNCAP rating. There's even a Sport button and by pressing that, the gear ratios are adjusted and you get seriously more power than you'd imagine this 1.6l could churn out. Its a tiny monster; tiny, but still ferocious. And that avant garde centre console grows on you. You'd never feel bored in a Citroen.
What's more, the Citroen shares 70% of its chassis with Sebastian Loeb's C4 rally car which makes it a solid ride. The stability, comfort and performance of this car have all been merged tastefully making it an ideal car for the typical city driver, yet providing an edge in quality and sheer coolness. This car is not that common... yet. Buying one makes you stand out from the crowd. It shows you are a discerning driver who knows his stuff. French flair has done it right this time, and i think they beat their Japanese rivals hands down in terms of functionality and style.
Hopefully, people who read this wont go and buy a Citroen. Then those who do can be special.