Test drive Citroen C4. Soft French roll with tea

“Citroen” always liked me, as a brand. Probably, it is difficult to find a person in the world who would not admire the immortal goddess DS from the Fantômas films. This is a brand that went down in the history of the European not only of motorism, but of design. Today the company is going through far not the best of times. Both from the point of view of model development, and from the point of view of the technologies that are used in their cars, Citroën is now covered with dust in the backyards of the European automotive industry.

Even the newfangled “Cacti” look like a step of desperation, which should bring back the former technological grandeur of the brand. In our time, this citrus is contained only in a series of DS cars, which even it was decided to single out in a separate brand. And this, I think, is the first serious step of the French in the bright future.

But not only frog paws are full of French automotive industry. In the end, the proletariat eats the notorious soft French rolls and croissants. The latter are simple and understandable machines designed for simple and understandable movement along simple and understandable roads. One of these workers of the urban jungle is the C4.

Citroen C4 and remained the most popular and popular Frenchman from the current line of the brand. However, this should be expected, because they made a bet on it, localizing the assembly in the Kaluga region. The rate was very successful at first, but now the model is far from the top of sales. Part of this is due to the general decline of the Russian market and a drop in demand for the C-class in particular.

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Of course, the model with a top engine does not have such a large share of sales, but, nevertheless, the car with this motor becomes the same as it was conceived by engineers. Weak engines are often only compromise options, although, of course, have the right to life. Under the hood there is a turbocharger with a capacity of 1.6 liters with a capacity of 150 horsepower and a torque of 240 Nm. This is already a rather old engine, developed in cooperation with BMW. By the way, the owners of the previous “minicar”, looking into the engine compartments of their pets, will find the same engines. In general, the reliability of these motors has been tested for years, and all the children’s sores have been eliminated. The only “but” can be high engine requests for fuel quality. Owners should remember this, calling on some “nouneym” -pravka.

The gearbox in our version is used automatic with six steps and a “sport” mode, which means no more than a sharp response to pressing the right pedal and unnecessary jerking of the entire car in an active driving mode. After pressing the button with the letter S near the gearshift lever, the car responds to the driver’s ambitions of the city driver more cheerfully. But the impression is smeared by a very palpable tremor that spans the entire car. Convulsive switch gears then up and down quickly get bored – I want to quickly return everything as it was.

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In this mode, the “automatic machine” is docked up to 5 steps: at least in the urban speed range, it was not possible to switch to the sixth one. In a traffic jam, to operate the C4 in Mode S is highly discouraged – the car simply starts nervously picking through the first two gears, which again leads to unnecessary convulsions.

The suspension of the Kaluga Frenchman differs from that used in the European version of the model. Usually, the producers call this localization – they say, they brought it to mind and, in general, adapted to the peculiarities of the roads and climate of the country in question, in our case great and immense. Clearance increased to aboutparticipant 176 mm, which allows you to move out of the slopes, climb the curbs and do all the things that often have to engage in the common man in search of car happiness.

To the work of the suspension there are practically no complaints. This is really one of the most successful examples of localizer work in the segment. Despite the solid ground clearance, there is almost no sharpness in the bends. At the same time, the suspension differs in space energy consumption, allowing small defects in the roadway and the rollers of the recumbent high-speed servicemen to pass through without any problems. The device is simple and simple: in front of MacPherson, behind – a torsion bar. Despite the presence of the latter, the car until the last refuses to “goat” and to kick.

The weak point of Citroën C4 can be considered design. After the numerous exploits of the French designers, who sometimes put into the series of machines of incredible shapes with fantastic interiors, it is somehow hard to believe that the current C4 is Citroen, and not some strong Korean middle-class hard worker. It is so average that the appearance really at times casts thoughts on the Korean national automotive industry. At such rates, if not SsangYong , then Hyundai and Kia are really capable of surpassing the French.

A couple of vyshtampovok on the doors and rear wing, chrome plank on the rear bumper and deliberately predatory look of headlights. And between them, like a frowning thoughtful wrinkle, a double-chevron herringbone shines. Rear lights, heavily falling on the side of the sedan, are discordant with almost strictly forward-directed headlights. Here, in fact, and the whole of the French design, which, frankly, is more like the result of their vacation. At this “Sitrika” the guys clearly rested. Too much design in the notes of utilitarianism. And I want more design for the sake of design, as it was before.

There are a couple of little things, often not so noticeable, but which also deserve a moment’s attention. For example, a steel river, passing through the lower part of the window frames and creeping on the slope of the roof line. It seems that something like this is on the Mercedes. An antenna, uncombed by a whirlwind sticking out of the roof, the designers could also quite hide under a neat fin. So yes, the design for the C4 is a weak link, but only against the background of the company’s strong work. In addition, if the designers really did everything as described above, it would be a completely different car from a different price segment. More close to the DS series itself.

The interior of the C4 is not capable of surprising the owner, but it is not required from him. The car of the middle price segment should be as understandable and easy to use as possible. This is not a search for DS cars, but the interior looks quite friendly. The only “raisin” is the bright red button for starting the engine, lemanically located to the left of the steering wheel. Admittedly, it was not immediately used to such a thing, but this decision had no effect on the general ergonomics.

You can, of course, find fault with the “emergency” button, which has microscopic dimensions, but the climate and music controls are executed qualitatively – they are nice to use. The display, of course, is not huge, but all information is displayed as much as possible accessible and understandable. By the way, infotainment supports a fashionable chip called Apple CarPlay – a system that allows you to use the capabilities of the operating system iOS. True, in a somewhat limited form. For example, you can use a regular navigator built into Apple Maps, but you can not use such a native and comfortable navigator from the domestic search engine – only applications built into the system are available. It is activated by CarPlay when the smartphone is connected to the USB port, the system has not yet learned how to work without the wire.

You can reproach the creators for a diet version of the cup holder, in which only a cup of coffee or tea from a fast food snack bar is placed – and from the thirst to die not for long. Pollutrovye disposable glasses and bottles have to be stored either in the door or in the hands. This, perhaps, all the main disadvantages of the interior of the C4.

And yet a few words of admiration can be said about him: all aluminum inserts adding a balance to the gray-black interior are really made of metal. This is a solid stone in the garden of the same Korean manufacturers, sometimes overdoing with plastic of various shades in the interiors of their cars.

It is clearly not the ridge of a Russified Frenchman, but in the range of urban speeds, the small-volume motor suffices for its eyes. Dial 60 km / h – how to snap your fingers, the turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline engine copes with this load without any problems. Automatic transmission reacts to the right pedal with moderate smoothness, comfortably switching gears up. Dropping a pair of gears in the event of a kickdown is performed by the expected soft jerk.

Otherwise, the car completely meets all the needs of an average family, for which it was created. And this is also the main disadvantage of the Citroen C4, because it has become one of the company’s most faceless cars. But this is the fate of all global models – they are not created for admiration, but for work. Citroen C4 is assembled in France, China, Argentina and, of course, in Kaluga.

You can talk about the shortcomings of the model for as long as you like, but this will not make the C4 a weak car. It is utilitarian, and even its entire appearance shows that it was created for work. In addition, it is made a priori successful in Russia formula – a sedan with high ground clearance and a strong but soft suspension. These cars are for some reason very popular.

Most likely, in fifty years, the current C4 will not take place in the garage of any collector. However, this most automotive gourmet could well appreciate its simplicity and pure naivety. In the end, the “creative technologue” is not only an innovative design and advanced stuffing, but also a way to make an affordable reliable car, while at the same time spending a minimum of funds.

Sasha Stolyarov

Photo: Roman Vyshnikov