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C4 VTS End of Term Report

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Author Post
Sun Jul 17 2011, 04:38pm
After 3 great years I've traded in my C4 VTS for something a little bit quicker. You can find my end of term report on the Pistonheads forums:

I bought my Citroen C4 VTS in May 2008. At the time the purchase was a case of simple mathematics - I had a £7.5k budget, wanted a car no more than 3 years old with less than 20k on the clock (for that almost new car feeling), and the C4 had the most bhp available within the constraints that I had set. At the time I was running a Citroen C2 Furio (with a titanic 1.4l engine) and it had not missed a beat in the 40,000 miles I had covered in it, so I really wasn't worried about Citroen's reliability record. I looked at a few C4s before I found what was to be my car, in perfect condition on 12k miles with pretty much every available option ticked by the original owner (sat nav, 6 cd multichanger, directional xenon lights, climate control etc etc). After a brief and friendly haggle on the trade in value for my C2 the deal was done.

To be honest I wasn't too bothered about all the toys that it came with, I was just eager to graduate from the C2 (I car which I had run as a student) to what I considered to be my first "grown up" car. The C4 definitely didn't disappoint. I found it just right as a step up, with 180bhp being just about quick enough to see off the majority of the day to day commuter traffic but lacking enough power/torque to seriously endanger myself or any unfortunate passengers.

So the good points. Despite the 2.0l engine being a 13 year old design (it was originally used in the 206 GTi), it was so eager to rev, and while the weight of the car dulled things at the bottom of the range once passed 4.5k the digital rev counter raced for peak power at the 7k red line and the C4 felt genuinely sprightly. The five speed gearbox was a little bit spongey but the ratios were close and stacked very thoughtfully, with each subsequent upshift dropping you right back at peak torque at 4.7k revs. 1st gear ran to 40mph (according to a PSA press release to allow the enthusiastic driver to nail hairpins in first gear), and 5th gave only 20mph per 1000rpm, so at a 0.8 lepton cruise the C4 was buzzing away at 4k revs, and always felt ready to charge after some faster machinery at a twitch of the right foot.

Grip was as good as you could find in a mid sized hatch and was never troubled by 149lb/ft even on a wet road. Despite the power disadvantage the C4 could just about keep up with 'proper' hot hatches in the twisties if driven like a getaway driver, before ultimately succumbing when the roads straightened out. I also enjoyed the 'reverse exclusivity' of such an unpopular car. I genuinely loved the coupe shape, cut off rear end and little spoiler on the boot lid, and never once saw another VTS on the road in my 3 years of ownership. Because it was vary rarely recognised, I always had a good chance of catching faster machinery unaware at the traffic light derby on the daily commute.

And the not so good points. Mechanically the car was bombproof and never required a mechanical repair in 3 years/30k miles despite bouncing of the redline with worrying frequency on some over exuberant B road outings, but was plagued by electrical gremlins. Pretty much every extra on the extensive options list went AWOL at some point during the time we were together, leading to a total repair/servicing/MOT/consumables bill that ended up just shy of £3k for 3 years, with a particularly painful £1400 outlay in 2010.

When the exhaust blew last year Citroen quoted me a frankly comical £1500 for a replacement, so I ended up replacing it with a 'Pimp-My-Ride" spec stainless steel system from Longlife, which to be honest shouted a little bit too loudly for a car with a 0-60 time just on the wrong side of 8 seconds, even if it did give that junior touring car vibe over 5k/rpm.

So, why did I decide to change? The car obviously still had a lot of life left in it having covered a mere 40k miles, but much like when I chopped in the C2 I felt like I had outgrown the car once again. Although the C4 was just about fast enough to live with, I'd grown tired of bouncing the redline to nose ahead of unsuspecting 320d's and VAG 2.0 TDi's. The C4 was still eager but I was after something a bit more effortless and refined. With the grand old age of 30 approaching more rapidly than I would care to acknowledge, I figured if I was going to own a proper fast hatch it was now or never as I'll probably need a C-Max or something in the not so distant future.

As a last hurrah last month I took a few days off work and drove the C4 from Hampshire to Aviemore, and toured some of the finest roads in the highlands. The C4 was with me all the way, faultlessly covering the best part of 1000 miles over four days.

I'd just like to say thanks to everyone in the C4 owners community. I might not have posted much but the advice on this forum helped me sort out numerous gremlins with my C4 and made for a much nicer ownership experience.

Thanks and goodbye!
Mon Jul 18 2011, 01:07am

Member No: #1
Joined: Aug 07 2006
Location: Northumberland
Thanks for the report, good luck with whatever you buy next

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