This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Citroën C4 Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

The C4 gets three petrol engines (1.4-litre, 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre) and three diesels (a 1.6 HDi in two outputs of 92bhp and 110bhp plus a 2.0 HDi). The base model 1.4i has 90bhp and is fine for town driving, but gets a little breathless on the motorway so a better option is the 110bhp 1.6-litre which is willing, but needs to be worked hard to tap into its performance.

The diesels are more impressive however, especially the entry-level 1.6 HDi which offers decent performance in both outputs and averages around 60mpg. The 2.0 HDi is smooth and punchy with plenty of mid-range pull so it will happily eat up motorway miles while overtaking is easy as the power kicks in just when it’s needed. Summer 2006 saw the introduction of an automatic gearbox called EGS (or Electronic Gearbox System).

This works like a standard automatic but also gives the driver the option of making manual changes. It’s far from a resounding success though – in automatic mode the changes are slow and the car pitches and dives under hard acceleration. Manual mode allows you to use the steering-column mounted paddles but it’s little better. Unfortunately the vague and imprecise manual gearbox is poor too.

The C4 lacks the poise and polish of leading alternatives like the Honda Civic and Ford Focus – mainly due to the over-assisted steering. Body control could be better too and there’s noticeable vibration through the steering column over bumpy roads. The ride is very good though – as you’d expect from Citroen – and is only caught out by larger potholes and ruts in the road.

But overall the C4 lacks the composure and sophistication of competitor cars and is some way short of the class best.