Rory White

See other Blog articles filed in ‘Tow cars’ written by Rory White
   
Citroen C4 2.0 HDi 150 Exclusive

Price £21,495

Power 150hp @ 3750rpm

Kerbweight 1501kg (85% 1275kg)

Towing limit 1750kg

Towball limit 75kg

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Citroen C4 2.0 HDi 150 Exclusive

Price £21,495

Power 150hp @ 3750rpm

Kerbweight 1501kg (85% 1275kg)

Towing limit 1750kg

Towball limit 75kg

 

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN a while, I was genuinely astonished last week. It happened while sat on my sofa, in my living room open-mouthed, staring at my television. It's funny how the television used to be a source of intellectual gain, but now pipes a relentless stream of Dave into British Suburbia.

 

Among the repeats of various satirical news quizzes lies maybe the last program of any real interest, the World Rally Championship round-up. Where other TV channels have cut back coverage of the event, Dave has prospered, dedicating a whole muddy, gravelly, fire-spitting hour to the spectacle.

 

The reason for my astonishment wasn't the coverage, though, but the image of Sebastian Loeb lifting the WRC winners trophy for the seventh time, skipping about the roof of his Citroen C4. To be seven-times champion is an amazing achievement and if he wins with Citroen next year, he becomes the most successful man ever in the sport.

 

This made it all the more interesting when editor Nigel told me I was off to see the new 2011 C4 in the Cotswolds. The current C4 sells well and has motorsport heritage under its belt, so this new generation had a lot to live up to. But I was more interested in whether it would make a tolerable towcar.

 

First Impressions

I left the pre-drive presentation feeling upbeat. Usually the latest technology creeping into new cars comes with a booklet, a long name impossible to pronounce and a branded USB stick. With the C4, it seemed Citroen had used some common sense.

 

For instance, their 'eTouch' system provides support in an emergency or breakdown. A quick press of a button on the dashboard and you are transferred via a built-in SIM card to the Citroen head-office, who will deal with everything. Similarly, blind-spot technology constantly monitors both sides of the car and will illuminate a small warning light in the relevant wing mirror if another car lurks behind. There's even a fridge between the front seats.

 

I did get a branded USB stick.

 

Movie

 

Seriously, though, those features all help make towing that little bit safer and more comfortable. Tick the 2.0-litre HDi 150hp diesel engine option box too, and you've got yourself a very strong towcar. There is 250lb.ft of torque to play with and considering this is nicely spread across the rev range, the engine still returns 54mpg solo and only emits 130g/km CO2.

 

Despite driving the undulating roads of Gloucester, snaking my way through swirling mists set against green pastures, I never felt the urge to press on. I could have been driving a Great British rally stage but the C4's ride was so good, I couldn't help but sit back and enjoy the view. The car has been directly aimed at 50+ year-olds and the premium materials inside, massaging seats and brilliant interior space all confirm that.

 

I sat down with Press and PR manager John Handcock who took me through the technology with caravanners in mind. He admitted he couldn't give us the price of fitting a towbar yet but believed it would be around the price of the current model (around £140 excluding fitting from Towsure).

 

John also took me through the weights. The 2.0-litre 150 HDi diesel weighs in at 1501kg with an 85% figure of 1276kg and a maximum tow limit of 1750kg, which is likely to turn heads in the small family and couples caravan markets.

 

However, there are areas where Citroen's proposed demographic and the new C4 don't work together. Although the French firm are renowned for pushing the boundaries of design, most people of 50 years or older don't need to change the colour of their back-lit dials or customise their warning sounds.

 

Another question mark is raised against the automatic EGS gearbox, which can be fully auto or changed using paddle-shifters either side of the steering wheel. For those over 50, the simplicity and relaxation of an auto 'box is a selling point. With the EGS system, gear changes take too long and there's a considerable lurch when shifting both up and down which isn't comfortable and wouldn't be ideal with a van in tow.

 

On reflection, I love the exterior styling and the fit and finish inside is top quality. The latest technologies will actually really help caravanners and as long as you stay away from that auto gearbox and opt for the brilliant manual with the 2.0-litre diesel you'll never be left wanting going up-hill.

 

All that's left to decide then, is whether you think £21,495 is a fair price for all this innovation.

 

Citroen C4 2.0 HDi 150 Exclusive

Price £21,495

Power 150hp @ 3750rpm

Kerbweight 1501kg

Towing limit 1750kg

Towball limit 75kg

 

rory@practicalcaravan.com

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