Citroen C4 Cactus review
The C4 Cactus is a great left-field choice, combining a stand-out design with good levels of comfort and efficiency.
The Citroen C4 Cactus represents a return to the past for the French manufacturer, offering unusual quirks that give it real appeal amongst its more run of the mill opposition. It’s the kind of fun and funky car for which the company was once famous.
In the past, Citroens were always soft and soothing, and with the C4 Cactus the focus has been placed very much on comfort. It’s relaxing to drive and, although it doesn’t handle quite as sharply as some other family hatchbacks, it’s still fun to hustle down a country road. The three-cylinder engines provide more punch than their power outputs might suggest, too.
Even though it’s getting towards the end of its lifecycle, there aren't many cars like the Citroen C4 Cactus currently on sale. When it was first introduced in 2014, it was positioned as a crossover to rival the likes of the Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur.
However, after the C3 Aircross small SUV was introduced to the range, the C4 Cactus was redesigned and repositioned as a value for money hatchback. As a result, the Cactus is now marketed as a quirky alternative for buyers looking for something different from the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra norm.
One thing that hasn't changed is the individual design that the C4 Cactus is famous for. The long, narrow body, raised suspension and black wheelarch extensions all remain, as do the original C4 Cactus’s Airbumps along the side – albeit toned down by quite a bit as part of the 2018 facelift.
Car group tests
Inside, there are the same quirky touches from the original C4 Cactus. This includes pop-out rear windows, asymmetric air vents on the dashboard, a top-opening glovebox and minimal buttons on the dashboard. In addition, the revised C4 Cactus has added split-folding rear seats and a new suspension system designed to deliver the kind of comfortable ride that older Citroens were famous for.
Because the C4 Cactus will soon be replaced by the upcoming Citroen C4 crossover-style hatchback, it isn’t available in that many configurations anymore. There are now only two engine options for the C4 Cactus – a 99bhp 1.5-litre diesel and a 108bhp 1.2-litre petrol – and the only gearbox available is a six-speed manual.
The C4 Cactus can also now only be specified in what was once the mid-range Flair trim, though this does mean the car is reasonably well equipped. Equipment that’s fitted as standard includes the comfort suspension, alloy wheels, air conditioning, comfort seats and touchscreen infotainment.
One hangover from its time being offered as a crossover is Citroen's Grip Control system. This gives the C4 Cactus a modicum of off-road ability by altering the traction control for different surfaces, and also adds Goodyear 4 season tyres.
Prices range from £22,535 for the petrol-powered C4 Cactus, to £23,315 for the diesel version. Whichever C4 Cactus you choose, you're getting an unconventional looking but spacious family car with some neat interior touches and a comfortable ride.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe C4 Cactus is a great left-field choice, combining a stand-out design with good levels of comfort and efficiency.
- 2Engines, performance and driveThere aren’t many engine choices, but they do the job. The smooth ride is excellent
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Citroen C4 Cactus claims strong fuel economy and low CO2 emissions, although depreciation could be heavy
- 4Interior, design and technologyEye-popping exterior design and touchscreen controls on the inside mean the C4 Cactus has plenty of style
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe C4 Cactus is a fairly roomy car, but some rivals have more storage and boot space
- 6Reliability and SafetyCitroen reliability appears to be improving, but the C4 Cactus only has a four-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests