AFTER an era of producing distinctive cars like the futuristic DS and quirky but loveable 2CV French car manufacturer Citroen went through an era of making rather bland models that lacked the flair of those notable old timers writes Bryan Longworth.
However, Citroen is entering a new age with some more distinctive models that indicate the company is restoring style and flair to their range which is a welcome development for those of us who are older and fortunate enough to have driven the cars mentioned above.
I recently tested the DS3 hatch which had real style, was a pleasure to drive and is a real rival for the Mini which takes some doing.
Now, I have just been taking a longer look at the new C4 which is a stylish replacement for the previous model and is already attracting very favourable comments from the motoring press and owners.
I liked the look and feel of the C4 when I drove it recently on the Press launch and I like it even more after driving it for a longer period during which time it attracted many favourable comments from admirers.
For the new C4 has a very shapely body that gives it more street impact than the previous model and it has a matching quality interior with handling and performance that made it such an enjoyable car to drive.
My test car was the C4 Exclusive HDi 150 six speed manual costing £21,495 which was the top model but prices start at £15,595.
The new C4 is aimed at competition like the new Ford Focus, VW Golf and Vauxhall Astra which are all excellent cars creating a tough market place for the new Citroen.
Power was provided by a 2.0-litre 150bhp diesel engine that produced a top speed of 129mph, a zero to 62mph time of 8.6 seconds and a fuel consumption of over 56mpg.
There is a very comfortable and well furnished interior with one of the best and user friendly instrument binnacles I have come across complete with compass and altitude indicator plus a facility for changing the sound of the winkers and colour of the fascia lighting which are ideal for owners who like toys in their cars.
At the rear is a roomy load area with a space saver spare wheel underneath but the rear hatch rises so high that shorter owners will find it rather challenging reaching the top of the door to close it!
As I mentioned earlier Citroen is emerging as a producer once again of cars with real style and flair and the new C4 is another example of this bright new era for the French company.
My Verdict: A classy car with really cool toys!
Model: Citroen C4 Exclusive HDi 150.
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel.
Output: 150bhp @ 3750rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 129mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 8.6 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 56.5mpg.
CO2 emissions: 130g/km.