Citroen has been going through something of a renaissance of late. The introduction of the DS range saw a marked step up in quality that’s filtered down to the company’s standard models. Cars such as the recently launched C4 Picasso MPV also deliver edgy styling that helps Citroen to stand out from the crowd.
Now it’s time for another addition in the form of a new crossover: the C4 Cactus. This car combines innovative design with lightweight build and competitive prices – just like the legendary Citroen 2CV – and also adds efficient engines to the mix. It promises to offer family buyers something genuinely different.
To find out how the quirky Cactus compares to similarly priced rivals, we’ve lined up two models that challenge its value and style philosophies. The Peugeot 2008 is our current small crossover favourite, and we test the 1.6 e-HDi Allure model here.
In contrast, the Dacia Duster offers bargain pricing and a rugged look that’s backed up by genuine off-road ability in 4x4 form. And in top-spec Laureate trim, it’s reasonably well equipped, too. So where does the new C4 Cactus fit? Is it a great value family car, or does it sacrifice practicality in the pursuit of radical design?
The C4 Cactus has a 358-litre boot, which is two litres down on the 2008, and 50 litres behind the Duster. The Citroen’s load lip is the same height as the Dacia’s, but the boot floor is a lot lower, and the tailgate opening is smaller, too.
In addition, Citroen only offers a split-folding bench as an option. The Peugeot has the largest tailgate opening of this trio, while plastic runners in the boot floor help with loading large items.
All three cars have roof rails, while Dacia offers a £555 Touring Pack, which adds cross bars as well as a tow bar. Peugeot’s roof bars are £134, and there’s a wide variety of accessories to go on them. Feel and Flair versions of the C4 Cactus come with gloss black bars as standard, while a white finish is £50.
Citroen’s BlueHDi diesels deliver low emissions to keep running costs down. A CO2 output of 87g/km is 18g/km lower than the 2008’s, and 48g/km better than the Duster’s. The C4 Cactus is also 43g/km up on the 2WD Dacia, so it qualifies for free road tax and will have low company car costs.
The new C4 Cactus is a quirky and welcome addition to the crossover sector. It has stand-out looks, a high-quality interior and is reasonably comfortable, but it’s not without fault. Rear space could be better, and the diesel favours efficiency over everyday usability, while a six-speed box needs to be added. But great value and a decent amount of standard kit secure its victory.
The 2008 is still a classy and desirable crossover. It has reasonable boot space and shares the premium feel of the C4 Cactus, but the compromised dashboard and driving position count against it, while rear seat space is tight, too.
The biggest sticking point with the 2008 is that it’s slightly pricier to buy than the new Citroen, and will cost you more to run, too.
There’s no shame in the Duster finishing in third place in this test. Its budget price tag and no-nonsense design and build provide charm by the bucketload, and if you want to carry five people and luggage, this is the car to go for.
It also has the bonus of four-wheel-drive versatility. However, running costs are on the high side.
|Citroen C4 Cactus BlueHDi 100 Flair||Peugeot 2008 1.6 e-HDi (115) Allure||Dacia Duster 1.5 dCi Laureate 4x4|
|On the road price/total as tested||£17,990/£20,425||£18,045/£19,445||£15,495/£15,495|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||TBC||£8,275/45.9%||£7,531/48.6%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£502/£1,004||£612/£1,223||£704/£1,409|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,413/£2,355||£1,575/£2,625||£2,016/£3,360|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||TBC/TBC/A/£0||20/£234/B/£20||10/£301/E/£130|
|Servicing costs||TBC||£16.99p/m (3y/30k)||£489 (3yrs/36k)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,560cc||4cyl in-line/1,560cc||4cyl in-line/1,461cc|
|Peak power/revs||99/3,750 bhp/rpm||113/3,600 bhp/rpm||108/4,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||254/1,750 Nm/rpm||270/1,750 Nm/rpm||240/1,750 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||5-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/4WD|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||45 litres/£75||50 litres/space saver||50 litres/repair kit|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||358/1,170 litres||360/1,172 litres||408/1,570 litres|
|Turning circle||10.9 metres||10.4 metres||10.4 metres|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||12,500 (1yr)/196||20,000 (1yr)/300||12,000 (1yr)/127|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||26th/27th*||14th/26th*||5th/N/A|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||N/A||88/77/72/5||74/78/28/3|
|0-60/30-70mph||11.3/10.6 secs||9.8/10.1 secs||11.6/12.1 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||5.1/10.6 secs||3.8/5.2 secs||N/A/5.0 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||13.3 secs/N/A||7.4/10.2 secs||7.0/10.8 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||114mph/N/A||117mph/1,900rpm||104mph/2,600rpm|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||52.5/11.5/520 miles||47.1/10.4/518 miles||36.8/8.1/405 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||144/87g/km/14%||161/105g/km/17%||206/135g/km/23%|
|Auto box/stability/cruise control||No/yes/yes||No/yes/yes||No/yes/yes|
|Climate ctrl/leather/heated seats||Yes/£695/no||Yes/£750/£150||No/£995/no|
|Met paint/tyre monitor/keyless go||£495/yes/no||£495/no/no||£495/no/no|