THE latest C4 is an intriguing vehicle - with Citroen taking a different approach to the family hatchback market.

The dominant forces in this sector - notably the Focus and Golf - are tailored towards performance and retain a traditional hatchback look.

By contrast, Citroen’s third-generation contender is unashamedly comfort-focussed and clearly seeks to play the crossover card in terms of its appearance.

And the approach has worked in many ways, with the keenly-priced new C4 being a more credible offering than its predecessor.

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There’s a good range of engines to choose from, including petrol, diesel and electric powertrains.

In terms of looks, it’s an eye catching and quirky design that stands out in a crowded marketplace.

There’s a unique design to the front end, including a wide front grille that extends from one side to another, with the chevrons integrated into the middle and the lights splitting off on either side.

Chunky wheels and black cladding around the wheel arches are a nod to SUV admirers, contrasting somewhat with the coupe-style roofline.

Once you get behind the wheel, it’s clear that Citroen’s engineers have concentrated their efforts on making the car comfortable as opposed to sporty, taking a different route to some key rivals.

Floating, super-soft ride quality is provided by Progressive Hydraulic Cushion Suspension, which evens out road imperfections.

That flying carpet effect is certainly relaxing and refined for passengers. The system sees the car’s springs and shock absorbers working in tandem with hydraulic compression and rebound stops, thereby slowing body movement over lumps.

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The trade off comes in the form of the car’s handling, with the suspension set-up combining with light steering to mean a vehicle that doesn’t offer a lot of driver engagement or fun.

My test car was powered by a 1199cc three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, offering 155bhp.

In my view, it’s a right-sized unit for a car in this marketplace, offering a nice balance between acceleration and economy. Indeed, it can achieve the sprint from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds, which feels sufficient for most everyday situations, while returning average fuel economy figures of over 40mpg.

In that sense, it’s another triumph for the PSA Group’s Puretech unit, which has already won many accolades in recent years.

Once you step inside, you’re greeted by a pleasant interior with plenty of tech and lots of clever integrated storage space.

A 10-inch digital touchscreen sits high on the dash and looks the part, while there’s also a digital instrument cluster, with higher spec versions benefitting from a head up display.

Leather ‘advanced comfort’ seats in the Shine Plus version are very pleasant, adding an extra dash of refinement on longer journeys. On certain versions, the front seats can also be fitted with a massage system.

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A number of softer touch and textured materials are prominent in the cabin, meaning it doesn’t feel like the interior has been created on a budget.

The angular roofline doesn’t do too much harm to rear headroom thanks to the clever way the roof has been sculpted on the inside.

Rear passengers benefit from impressive legroom of 198mm.

The boot is sizeable, with 380 litres of space on offer, expanding to 1,250 litres with the seats folded down.

The cabin is well-insulated from road noise, while the interior ambience is boosted by soothing lighting and the electric glass sunroof.

and the glazed surfaces let light flood into the entire passenger compartment.

In conclusion, it’s a car that offers a unique look, great comfort levels and decent levels of tech at a reasonable price.

Citroen C4 PureTech 155 S&S EAT8 SHINE PLUS 
PRICE: £28,490 on the road
ENGINE: 1199cc 3-cylinder in-line turbocharged petrol 
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed Efficient Automatic, front wheel drive
TOP SPEED: 129mph
ACCELERATION: 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds 
ECONOMY: 44.0- 48.8 mpg and 135 – 145g/km