Citroen C4: Safety kit celebration

  • French car’s pampered approach proves useful
  • Optional blind-spot monitoring function works well
  • Safety net of Citroen’s eTouch gives peace of mind

There are plenty of people that bemoan mollycoddling new cars, where little is left to the driver. Many believe it has taken all that was interesting away from driving.

While this may be the case, having some of the latest safety kit has proved useful in the first couple of months I’ve spent with the Citroen. Don’t get me wrong, the pure joy of driving a car that relies on the drivers’ concentration and talent should still exist in some part, but those little extras that help out when this concentration is running low genuinely do make a difference.

One of the most useful additions to the C4 is the blind-spot monitoring system. This comes as part of the optional Vision Pack, which costs an extra £800. This may seem a little steep, but so far I would say it is worth paying that extra money.

Sensors in the bumpers detect when a car is coming from behind you, and then warn you with LED lights in the corresponding mirror if there is a car in your blind-spot. I’m not relying on this for all my lane-changing needs but it has, on a couple of occasions, made me realise a car has been there when I hadn’t previously noticed.

Included in the Vision Pack is also a cornering light function, although Citroen also claim this comes as standard on the Exclusive model - very confusing. This moves the lights in the direction of the steering. This isn’t exactly new technology though. Citroen were one of the early pioneers of this on a large scale with the original DS back in 1967. It’s not quite as useful as the blind-spot kit, but it does improve visibility when you’re turning in to a corner.

Another piece of safety of equipment which makes ownership that little bit easier is the eTouch system, introduced on the facelifted C5 model in 2010. This is standard on the Exclusive model and has two different functions. One of these is an SOS button which alerts the emergency services if an airbag goes off. The other function is a button you can press, marked with the Citroen badge, to speak to Citroen Assistance in case you have a breakdown. The calls are made via an integrated SIM card, which allows the car to access mobile networks, while the GPS system is used to help them pinpoint where you are.

While you may go through your entire ownership of a Citroen without needing to use any of these, the reassurance they bring is good all the same. The Citroen Assistance button in particular would have come in handy in the burst tyre situation I had in my previous Audi A1.

So, while it might sound like I want to be concealed in bubble wrap and have all my driving done for me, I’m just pleased - most of the time - to have some kit that can keep me out of trouble or help me in case something did happen.

Current mileage: 13,148

Average mpg: 46.5

Hopefully we won't have to use them but these buttons could come in handy

If you're not a fan of the blind spot monitoring, then you can always turn it off