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Ideal family runabout is good match for its rivalsDriven Citroën C4 Exclusive HDI150By Tim RoseIt's now almost a year since the new Citroën C4 went on sale and more than 5,000 have found homes in the UK, according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' figures. While the volume is surprisingly small compared to the Ford Focus's 77,875 units or Vauxhall Astra's 57,719 units, the C4 is a fine hatchback, and certainly stands its ground against the two fleet-dominating rivals. In the retail market in particular, where a C-segment hatchback is a key family runabout, the C4 caters for this well. Even with a teenager and two younger children perched on the part-leather rear seat it didn't seem too much of a squeeze for an hour's journey. The smooth, comfortable ride was appreciated by all, and the five-door hatchback's performance was far from lacking even when fully loaded, including its 408-litre boot stuffed with sports bags. The kids were also amused by the function to change the display colours and cabin ambience.Thankfully Citroën dropped the floating steering wheel idea used in its predecessor. However there were still an over-whelming plethora of wheel-mounted buttons to get to grips with on this range-topping Executive trim model, which may take buyers a few weeks to become fully comfortable with. But it does reinforce the impression of this being a technology-laden, customer-focused car.The 2.0-litre diesel engine in this derivative is a pokey and accomplished unit. Its 148bhp power output can sprint the car up to 130mph, and see 62mph in well under 10 seconds. Despite its power it still achieves decent economy of 56.5mpg and keeps CO2 emissions down to 130g/km. Nevertheless, an even more frugal 1.6-litre diesel with 110bhp is also in the C4 range, to serve that greater number of buyers who put purchase price and lower running costs over outright performance and glitz.SpecificationPrice £21,645Engine 2.0 diesel: 148bhpPerformance 0-62 8.6sec, top speed 129 mphTransmission 6-sp manualEfficiency 56.5mpg, 130g/km CO2RV (3yr/30k) 32.2%Rivals Ford Focus, Renault MeganeShowroom

By Jeremy BennettThe largely anonymous Fox was a blessing in one sense in that the lack of awareness led customers looking for a small car straight to the Polo. An excellently judged refresh last year, allied to a lineage stretching back a giddy 34 years and more than 10 million sales, keeps the car in the consumer spotlight to the point where the Fox didn't really stand a chance. The Polo is Volkswagen's best-selling car after the Golf. Its appeal continues: to the end of November 2011 sales stood at 43,250 units compared to 41,558 the previous year. 2010 was its best year since 2003 with 45,517 total sales. The most popular model now is the Match on test, accounting for 34% of sales. The Match model replaces the SE and Moda trim levels, providing £650 worth of extra equipment, but costs £215 less than the outgoing models. Prices for the Match range from £11,300 to £14,140. Equipment includes alloy wheels, front fog lights, air con and iPod connection as standard. There are a number of inducements at the moment to ease the salesperson's efforts: low rate Cheaper replacement Polo is better specced finance and free insurance. There is a low rate PCP (Solutions) of 7.9% with the £500 deposit paid, free or low price three-year servicing pack-ages and free insurance. And, of course, the facet competitors can only dream about is the long-standing tradition and reputation. How long will this unassailable position last? VW's A-segment replacement for the Fox, the Up, comes to the market in the spring, originally as a three-door. Given the positive pre-launch press for the car and the hunger for small cars during times of austerity the Polo could take a hit. It's a risk the company acknowledges: "Due to the fact they will share many of the same core attributes - compact, the VW badge, good value, safe - yes, we do expect some level of substitution," said a spokesperson. "But of course there are a lot of models available in the Polo range which aren't in the Up range. The Polo also has five seats which the Up doesn't. A five-door version of the Up won't be available until the second half of 2012." SpecificationPrice £11,300Engine 1.2-litre 58bhpPerformance 0-62mph 16.1 sec; top speed 97mphTransmission 5-sp manualEfficiency 51.4mpg; 128g/km CO2RV (3yr/30k) 45%Rivals Ford Fiesta, Audi A1, Vauxhall CorsaNew car marketNewsNewsdigestShowroomAMAwardsNew car newsAMIndexRecruitmentDriven Volkswagen Polo Match 5-dr