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C4 VTR+ 110 HDI with EGS

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Thu Apr 19 2007, 10:29am
Having now covered almost 1400 miles in just over a week in my new C4 VTR+ 5 door 110 HDi with the EGS gearbox, I can honestly says it’s the best car I’ve ever owned. As Gordon Brown is paying for a chunk of it, (see my previous post) I have spec’ed it up with leather, security glass & alarm, and Bluetooth. The EGS gearbox is just brilliant, you really do get the best of both worlds, although I have to say I’m finding I mainly use the fully auto mode unless I’m “pressing on” on an A or B road. There’s something very odd about not having a clutch and using the paddles to change up and down – although you don’t have to do much of the latter as the box looks after most down-changes (when coming to a junction for example) for you, even when in manual mode. Because of this, I have found that I sometimes forget to change up though! This is why I’m tending toward the “lazy” option of just using the auto mode, manual changing just doesn’t seem intuitive to me, but maybe I just need more than a week to get used to it. One other great thing is that you can override the auto gear box control with the paddles anytime you like if you don’t like the gear you are in – for instance if you want to select a lower gear to accelerate into a gap in the traffic on a roundabout. It reverts back to full auto immediately.

I have read several test reports by motoring journalists saying they don’t like the slow and/or jerky action of the EGS box, all I can say is that unless you floor the throttle and leave it there, the changes are as smooth and quick as you could make yourself, especially in “sport” mode which speeds up the changes. If you lift off the throttle slightly when changing up, you can usually achieve satisfying almost seemless progress. Downchanges are always totally smooth. I have driven quite a few traditional autos over the years - mainly in the USA and Middle East - and I find the EGS auto mode just as smooth as any that I can remember. In the end, whether or not the EGS option is for you, is down to if you’d really just like an auto with a great “manual” mode, and no fuel consumption penalty. Personally, doing 20k+ miles a year, I’d just got fed up - after driving for 34 years, not non-stop you understand - of changing gear in today’s traffic. If you’ve still got some boy racer tendencies, then an auto may not be for you, although I have not driven a manual C4 of the same type very far, and can’t comment on the quality of the standard box.

Fuel consumption? Based on just two brim fills of the tank, the trip computer seems about 2mpg optimistic, and I got a true 47 & 49 mpg, however as the engine loosens up this should improve. This is about 2-3 mpg worse than the long term average of my previous Renault Megane 1.5 Dci 80 which, given the extra power of the 110 HDI, is what you’d expect. On slower B road journeys I have seen 56mpg average, so gentler use will make mid 50’s mpg quite possible. No oil use so far which is a relief, my Renault never needed topping up over almost 70k even with 18000 mile service intervals.

I recommend the leather option if you can stretch to it, as the door armrests also get the leather trim and the seats – front one’s at least - are very comfortable and supportive. In addition the “leather pack” gives you heated front seats, and an electric “memory” drivers seat with 3 memories. This means that once set, at the push of a button, the seat (and the door mirrors!) will motor to my - or my wife’s - ideal driving position, a great boon if you have to share a car.

I’m not quite so impressed with some of the cars ergonomics. The dual zone climate controls are mounted too low, and you have to take your eye off the road and lower your head to locate them – although one great idea is to have the air re-circulation control duplicated on the wheel boss, trouble is you still have to glance down to check it’s state. This fixed steering wheel boss contains so many buttons that again, you really need to have a quick look down to locate many of them, which kind of negates the point of it all. Finally, the horn is a relatively small button right at the bottom of the boss and hard to hit in a “situation”.

The Bluetooth set up works well but although my phone (Nokia N80) has voice activated dialling – which works most of the time – it doesn’t give a display of the functions like phone battery, signal strength, or the ability to see and scroll through your contacts (phonebook). My local Citroen dealer’s very helpful service manager’s phone (a Nokia 62xx) did send all this extra info, so it looks like a problem with my phone rather than the set up in the car.

Other minor irritations (as highlighted by other members) are; the wiper pattern, and the sun visors – which leave gaps at either side - but hey what car is perfect?

The VTR+ model used (until last Oct) to come with a useful looking pull out boot divider and cargo net. This is still an option….at about £150!!! Come on Citroen, just for a few bits of plastic clipped together…. Penny pinching, and a rip off if you ask me.

In conclusion then, a remarkably fast, quiet, comfortable, economical, and relaxing to drive “luxury” medium hatch, great for long distance business journeys, and if you are self employed, very tax efficient with it’s sub 121g/km CO2 figure. Should be congestion charge exempt from next year too, should you be inclined to drive in central London. Road tax is now (since the budget) only £35 a year also. Massive discounts are available on C4’s – I got mine through DriveTheDeal who were excellent, which makes the car very price competitive compared to just about anything else on the road. There hardly seems to be any point in buying something more expensive, other than to impress the neighbours.

Further updates after a year or so.

Thu Apr 19 2007, 10:43am

Member No: #90
Joined: Jan 29 2007
Location: Bristol
You will get used to the steering wheel controls in time...trust me.
The Bluetooth thing isnt a fault with your phone it is just the way it is manufactured and the functions that are permitted under buetooth. Some phones allow full function some very very minimal....

Please dont leave it for a year until you post again come back and join in!
Thu Apr 19 2007, 12:44pm

Member No: #1
Joined: Aug 07 2006
Location: Northumberland
The EGS wasn't available when I bought my 1.6 110 HDi VTR+ so I have a manual

But ignoring your EGS coments I can only totally agree with the rest of your comments on performance and comfort overall of the C4

It's a great car for the money even if I have to pay slightly more in road tax
Thu Apr 26 2007, 06:09am
c4owner wrote ...

It's a great car for the money even if I have to pay slightly more in road tax

I bought my HDI EGS and paid £50 RFL. A week later Gord dropped it to £35! Just my luck.

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