The outgoing C4 is a car that will pass without comment or eulogy. Except here. Well, of sorts anyway…
They say that above every cloud lies blue sky, so while we get over our disappointment with the creative execution of the heavily facelifted C4 Cactus, its advent has brought about the demise of perhaps the least worthy bearer of the double chevron ever. Seemingly killed for lacking that now essential Citroën quality, its lack of joie de vivre and cynical adequacy has ensured that it no longer fits within Linda Jackson’s (bouncy) castle moat.
Announcing the decision to pull the plug on the unloved and slow selling C-sector hatchback, PSA product planning chief Xavier Peugeot told Autocar’s Julian Rendell on Wednesday, “The current C4 is a seven-year-old design and we had to make a decision. We will stop production and the C4 Cactus will take its place.”
Not simply a grey of no significance from a creative standpoint, the outgoing C4 was simply a poor effort in a class of uniform competence that brooked no shirking at the back. The C4 smacked not so much of underachievement, but more of apathy. And if Citroën didn’t care, then why should anyone else?
Seemingly created to present a sackcloth and ashes polarity to the more ephemerally and graphically overstyled DS4, it represented a miscalculation by PSA, especially given the sales arc of both cars. Last year alone, the now superseded C4 Cactus comfortably outsold the C4 hatch, hardly surprising given that it is significantly cheaper (before options anyway), a good deal livelier not to mention (like it or not) more visually engaging. The DS4 by the way, (praise the heavens) is also tanking.
Driven to Write’s Richard Herriott presented the following verdict when he subjected a C4 to the usual exhaustive DTW road test regime in 2015, stating; “What I want to get across here is that the C4 is a car where there was no unifying vision to tie the car together. I don’t see it as a comfortable vehicle, despite Citroën’s insistence. The ride is long from the best I have tried in recent years (perhaps only the Megane was worse). Engine noise, road noise and wind noise all obtrude. The interior form language promises a sportiness the car doesn’t provide either. Individually, quite competent people worked on this car. They needed someone to unify their efforts. They were absent.”
Xavier Peugeot went on to inform Rendell that “We see an opportunity to do something fresh and different with the new C4 in three to four years time,” This means the revamped Cactus has some considerable time yet to man the portcullis until a new car, likely to be twinned with both Peugeot and Opel will arrive. That’s a lot of fort-holding for one so expedience-riven.
But that’s for later. Let us now simply bask in the warm glow, knowing the C4 is no more. Because whatever Linda and her elves dream up next, it cannot be as dreary, as unremittingly grey, as stultifyingly adequate as the car we bid a tearless farewell to today.