Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force
- Mega comfortable
- Great economy
- Looks may not be to everyone's taste
- Low performance
- Some models are noisy
What's the Citroën C4 Cactus like?
Years ago, Citroën prided itself on the cosseting ride of its cars but in recent years, its smaller offerings were not especially comfortable.
The C4 Cactus that came out in 2014 sorted all that in one fell swoop, with the kind of comfort that every car maker should be aiming for, and it led the way for the latest C3, the C3 Aircross, new Cactus and other models.
But its plastic “airbump” clad exterior and minimalist, pared down interior will not appeal to all.
Power comes from a choice of three 1.2-litre petrols and two 1.6-litre HDi diesels, all of which are capable of more than 60mpg in government figures.
The 3-cylinder 1.2-litre is available in 73 and 82bhp outputs, both of which takes 12.5 seconds to reach 60mph from rest.
Top performing turbocharged 1.2-litre PureTech has 110bhp and covers the sprint in a very creditable 9.0 seconds.
This is thanks to excellent weight saving over most similar sized cars, which also aids the economy.
The e-HDi diesel has 90bhp and gets to 60mph in 11.0 seconds and the BlueHDi has 100bhp and brings that down to 10.3 seconds. Both have economy figures of no less than 80mpg.
Our roads are no longer smooth and pothole free – they’re in an awful state. Even some motorway slip roads now have holes in urgent need of repair.
The Cactus counters this with by far the best ride in the class, and probably for two classes higher.
The superb suspension system smooths out every pothole and blemish in the road surface with complete disdain and I would say it takes speed humps better than most cars on the market.
It doesn’t use the excellent Citroën Hydropneumatic system but conventional springs and dampers and it simply wafts over bumps and undulations like a magic carpet.
Others have said that there’s no point in hustling it along a twisting road because this only shows up a fair amount of body roll but I think they’re wrong.
There is considerable roll but if you keep your nerve, it nonetheless grips superbly and very safely even when pressed very close to its high limits.
The standard gearboxes are 5 and 6-speed manuals, but there's also an automated manual called the ETG.
It drives like no other automatic, changing very slowly between the gears, and this is only helped by lifting off the accelerator as if it was a manual.
Performance is pretty pedestrian in the lower two petrol engines outlined above, but the 110bhp offering is a gem, with a nippy and willing nature, and the 100bhp diesel is not far behind.
Soundproofing is not of the best in some models and so there can be a fair amount of both road and engine noise at times.
Interior and Equipment
Inside, the seats have excellent adjustment and reasonable support but there's very little in the way of a dash or instruments.
There is no rev counter and just two digital displays. A small narrow speedometer sits right in front of the driver and almost everything else – radio, climate, and sat nav when fitted - is controlled by a 7.0-inch touch screen that’s centrally mounted.
There are three basic trim levels – Touch, Feel and Flair – and the mid-range Feel has audio remote control, traction control, front electric windows, remote locking, cruise, alloys and folding rear seats.
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The Citroën C4 Cactus makes life easier when battling the imperfections of British roads thanks to a super comfortable suspension setup. Good levels of practicality and frugal powertrains round off what is an impressive small SUV.
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