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Last day as a C4 owner!

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Kenny Carwash   
Thu Mar 26 2009, 06:22am
Earlier this week I finally bit the bullet and traded in my C4, after 18 months of what I can only describe as strongly mitigated motoring pleasure.

Part of me loves the C4 and always will, the moment I saw it in the Top Gear studio I knew I had to have one and a couple of years later I did. Initially I couldn't have been happier, the car looked properly striking, the trim level was great and the engine fantastic. It was a bit of a pudding in the bends, but new (though rather expensive) tyres helped to sharpen it up. For that first year, the car was absolutely flawless. I put just shy of 25,000 miles on it and it never missed a beat, never grumbled and made my working life on the road considerably more pleasant.

Unfortunately, things started to fall apart after that, when I was finally exposed to the other side of Citroen ownership. The car still felt pretty good when it went in for its MoT and while nothing was actually broken, the cost of having the discs and pads replaced was a stone cold shock. I stumped up the cash and endured a lean old Christmas as a result, but that wasn't the end. Next up a 'pollution system fault' which occurred less than two weeks out of warranty, according to other users experiences on these forums, could involve anything from a tune up to replacing the engine. It was as if the car was trying to give me a heart attack.

As it turned out, the light went away when the car had some warranty work done, despite having been stubbornly resistant to being turned off with a fault code reader before. However, I'd researched that fault code thoroughly and that made me fully aware of things like the FAP and Eolys, things Citroen aren't very up front about when you buy their cars. I got a quote for what all this would cost me and even with a refurbished FAP I'd have been looking at the business end of £700 to get it through its next service. To make matters worse, the C4 had developed some new issues, namely a noticable pull to the left that a wheel alignment hadn't cured and the steering as a whole had become worryingly vague around the centre.

Fearful of what all that was going to cost, I realised that the best thing I could do was to chop in the C4 for a car of slightly higher value and let some other poor sap pick up the tab further down the road. I had planned on waiting a little longer, but a car I wanted in the colour and trim level I wanted suddenly became available and I had to move quickly. So, tomorrow I pick up a Honda Accord 2.2 CDTi. It's not in any way striking to look at like the C4, but I think it's a handsome and understated car, especially in the gunmetal grey colour with the bigger, darker wheels on it. Insurance is a slightly lower than the C4, road tax is the same and fuel economy should also be similar to the VTS (although being a 2.2 moves me into a higher mileage bracket, so I'll be better off). It's also a plate newer and it's costing me less than my C4's next service would've been.

So, on reflection I'll remember the C4 as a great car sadly let down by Citroen's expensive parts and servicing and large hidden costs. As fond as I am of it, I won't be getting another one and in all likelihood will never own another PAS car. It's a real shame, as up til the point where things really started to go wrong I was really keen on both the C5 and the C6 as future cars.
Thu Mar 26 2009, 06:35am
Member No: #341
Joined: May 23 2007
Location: Norwich City, UK; & Loches, France.

Bon chance et bon voyage!
Thu Mar 26 2009, 09:49am
Member No: #2655
Joined: Mar 03 2008
Location: heronridge nottingham
Good luck with the new car.
Thu Mar 26 2009, 10:19am
you will not be disappointed with your honda it sounds just the same as the one i picked up 3 weeks ago
ps we also have a c4gp
Thu Mar 26 2009, 01:21pm

Member No: #1
Joined: Aug 07 2006
Location: Northumberland
You have to remember that the DPFS HDi's have a lower Road Tax and in normal use say 10-12,000 miles a year would take 7 years to reach the Eolys/ FAP filter costs and you have saved that in road Tax, additional mpg

As a high mileage user though the costs can seem disproportionate.
Thu Mar 26 2009, 01:21pm
We'll keep a seat warm for you. After all, once you're bitten by the Citroen bug, it's hard to stay away for long.
Fri Mar 27 2009, 03:46am
Member No: #1276
Joined: Oct 09 2007
Location: Scotland
Have to say your experience is not one that only happens with the C4. There comes a point in life of most vehicles where either for economical or sanity reasons you know it is time to move on.

Having said that the car I had the most driving pleasure from and owned for the longest period of time (despite its foibles) was Italian and LHD.

At least you have seen the positive side of C4 ownership, so you know it's not all bad.
Kenny Carwash   
Fri Mar 27 2009, 05:40am
Thanks guys, it's a wrench to let go of the car as there's so much I like about it. I think perhaps Citroen have started a little too early with the FAPs and it has a heavy bearing on the point at which the car is no longer economical to keep. Speaking of Honda, as far as I'm aware they didn't start rolling out their DPFs until 2007 and I think they've gone down the additive-free route, which keeps things less complicated. Interestingly, the Accord is in the same road tax bracket as the C4 despite having a larger engine with no DPF.

Like I said before, there are other cars in the Citroen range that appeal to me, namely the C5 and C6, but I found the uncertainty of working with the dealers very hard to take. The problem with my C4's steering could cost £50 to fix or it could cost £500, but frankly I've been too scared to take it in and get them to look at it, in case they won't let me take it home! Honda servicing isn't exactly cheap, but their dealers are consistent in their servicing prices and that's rather appealing right now. We'll see how it goes, but I'm looking forward to my long run to Liverpool next week to put the new car through its paces!
Tue Mar 31 2009, 03:30am
I concur with most everything Kenny says, i enjoyed driving my C4, but it cost me a fortune! granted I did 50k miles in 20 months but it should have coped better, over the past 9 months I averaged £300 per month repairs and servicing including tyres and clutch which I take as wear and tear items. but I also had 2 new injectors and 3 EGR valves. The final straw was when it needed yet another valve I was informed that since I had not paid for the replacement part (warranty claim) it was no longer covered even though it was well under a year since it was replaced.

I enjoyed driving it, it was comfy, reasonably quick and turned heads. BUT it was flakey and depreciated like a stone, I understand that the car market is depressed but £3,400 was the best trade in deal I was offered, I could have sold it privately for more but conscience meant I turned down a decent offer.

I now have a 520d touring which whilst boring is - hopefully - going to be reliable, and has some warranty, is no slower than the C4 but slightly worse on fuel. The biggie is though it will be worth more than 2 button and bit of string when I come to change in another year or so.

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