IF Citroën's new C4 was a political party candidate knocking at your door canvassing for votes, you would know instantly that you were looking at a member of the Conservative Party.

Sharply dressed, offering nothing too radical, it hints at a greener world but with the assurance that it is rooted in ‘real world’ practicality.

The real surprise about the C4 is that Citroën appears to have deliberately made it a much more grown-up car than its predecessor.

The former model came in strikingly different five-door and three-door versions with snazzy innovations such as a fixed hub steering wheel and more radical styling.

Now there is just a five-door, which is pitching for business with plenty of space, upmarket build quality and an array of features normally only seen on top-of-the-range executive cars.

The dashing, daring, avant-garde design and features are presumably being stored up for the forthcoming DS4, leaving the C4 as the more solid, sober member of the family.

Up against formidable competition from the likes of the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra, the C4 package delivers an impressively stylish cabin, which floats along with the grace of a Citroën from a previous era.

With prices starting at about £15,750, a wide range of engines includes three BMW co-developed petrol engines and four HDi diesel units, with power rising from 90 to a punchy 155 horsepower. Automatic, five-speed manual, six-speed manual and six-speed semi-automatic transmissions are all available.

Fractionally larger than its forerunner, with a seriously useful boot space, the C4’s interior includes tactile soft-touch material on the top of the one-piece dashboard and generous dashes of chrome around the dials and vents.

The driver can adjust everything from the colour of the instrument display, to sound alerts and even set the intensity of the automatic air conditioning to one of three different settings. You can even order a pair of massaging front seats.

The car can be specified with a new blind-spot monitoring system, a cornering light function, cruise control and speed-limiter with favourite speed settings.

Also available is Citroën’s new eTouch Emergency & Assistance System, which automatically or manually makes emergency or assistance calls using a built-in SIM card.

The system also enables drivers to monitor their driving patterns and fuel consumption, and to receive advice on how to improve their fuel economy.

Drivers can also consult their vehicle’s technical status and monitor any necessary maintenance or servicing needs online at their ‘MYCITROËN’ personal space.

Selected models feature a new raised centre console – another first for the class – which houses a cooled and illuminated storage area that can take four half-litre bottles.

Other available equipment includes a Connecting Box that provides Bluetooth and a USB socket; front and rear parking sensors; parking space ‘gap’ measurement; xenon dual-function directional headlamps and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

With a range of driving aids from anti-lock brakes and electronic stability programme to traction control and six airbags, you are certainly in a safe pair of hands.

What the C4 will deliver, which no politician would dare guarantee, is a seriously smooth ride for the future.

Auto facts Citroën C4 Exclusive HDi 150

  • Price: £21,645
  • Insurance group: 23E (1-50)
  • Fuel consumption (Combined): 56.5mpg
  • Top speed: 129mph
  • Length: 432.9cm/170.4in
  • Width: 178.9cm/70.4in
  • Luggage capacity: 14.4 cu ft
  • Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gallons/60 litres
  • CO2 emissions: 130g/km
  • Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles