New 2020 Citroen C4 to lose hatchback roots and morph into crossover
Citroen will reinvent its offering in the family hatchback segment with a bold new crossover as an alternative to the VW Golf and Ford Focus. And although the car will be radically different to its closest rivals, the newcomer will continue to use the C4 name, Auto Express can reveal.
The decision to abandon the traditional C-segment hatchback bodystyle and go for something bolder is Citroen’s way of trying to carve out a niche in a highly competitive market. The previous C4, a conservative hatch, was removed from sale back in 2017 as the brand began to reinvent itself.
Speaking to Auto Express, Vincent Cobée, Citroen’s new CEO, told us: “I would agree that the C-segment has been a fairly traditional sector and is probably right for changes. One [idea] is to find the proper balance between affordability, versatility and comfort, better access, and better visibility, as there’s probably also a need for more spice in the style.”
The all-new C4, due to be revealed in June, has been spotted testing, and our exclusive images preview how it could look. The crossover will also kickstart a new design language for the French firm.
“Customers want a design renewal and it’s a great way for us to show our creativity,” Laurence Hansen, Citroen Product and strategy director, added. “We have a strong legacy in this segment and we know what we need to do and to avoid. The car we have designed is the best of different worlds. It will have a strong personality and the new lighting signature from the 19_19 concept.”
As well as capitalising on the continued rise of crossover sales, the new C4 will also tap into another growing segment: EVs. The C4 will be based on the PSA Group’s CMP platform that enables Citroen to offer the crossover with petrol and diesel power, plus a fully electric alternative.
The basic architecture can be found on the latest Peugeot 2008, which uses a 50kWh battery to deliver a real-world range of around 190 miles. The platform also supports a 1.5-litre diesel engine plus a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo. Both are expected to be offered in the new C4.
The traditional C-segment has seen sales gently fall for a number of years as buyers continue to flock towards crossovers and SUVs. Auto Express recently revealed that Renault is evaluating the future of the Mégane so additional investment can be put into electric vehicle development. However, Citroen believes its new strategy in the segment will reverse that trend.
“We will come with a new concept,” Hansen added. “I had a great chance to drive it [the new C4] and when you have the hydraulic suspension and electric drive it truly makes a great difference.”
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