Citroen C4 Cactus review
The C4 Cactus is still a stand-out design that's comfortable and efficient, but a recent facelift repositioned it as a budget hatchback
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.
However, after the C3 Aircross was introduced to the range and the C4 hatchback was dropped, 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, but the original C4 Cactus's Airbumps along the side were toned down, while roof rails are now only an option, which helps to tone down the car's SUV looks.
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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.
Only two trims are offered on the C4 Cactus - Feel and Flair - and both of them are reasonably well equipped. All cars feature the comfort suspension, alloy wheels, air conditioning, comfort seats and touchscreen infotainment, while Flair cars add dark tinted rear windows, a panoramic sunroof and bigger alloy wheels among its extra kit.
There are four engines offered in the C4 Cactus, two petrol and two diesel. The petrols are the 1.2 PureTech three cylinder in 110hp and 130hp forms, while the diesels are based on the 1.5 BlueHDi, and badged 100hp or 120hp. All cars are front-wheel drive with a five-speed manual gearbox, except the 120hp diesel, which has Citroen's EAT6 six-speed auto. This can also be added to the 110hp PureTech. 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 around £18,500 to £23,000, and 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 still a stand-out design that's comfortable and efficient, but a recent facelift repositioned it as a budget hatchback
- 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