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In-depth reviews

Citroen C4 Cactus (2014-2020) - Engines, performance and drive

There aren’t many engine choices, but they do the job. The smooth ride is excellent

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

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On the road, the C4 Cactus is a relaxing cruiser. The new clever suspension tech means that the car wafts over all manner of road surfaces. It’s a far more comfortable car because of it. The trade off for this is that the C4 Cactus does generate pronounced roll through the corners, and there’s more pitch and dive under acceleration and braking than in its rivals.

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There’s decent grip though, so while not conventionally sporty to drive, it remains enjoyable. Improvements in sound insulation, combined with that ride, means that the Cactus is an accomplished motorway cruiser, too.

The manual gearbox was a let-down in earlier Cactus models, but the 2018 facelift has brought a noticeable improvement. It’s still not the sweetest shifting car, but much of the old car’s sloppy, vague feel has gone.

The ratios, however, remain quite widely spaced, so you have to do quite a lot of forward planning to avoid finding yourself in the wrong gear at the wrong time. This can take some hard work from the engines, which in the diesel model results in a slightly unpleasant gruff sound. However, the C4 Cactus has sharp brakes, and stops well – again, helped by the Citroen’s low weight.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

While the C4 Cactus was once offered with a decent array of engines, the powertrain line-up now consists of a 1.2-litre PureTech petrol with 108bhp and a 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel with 99bhp. As a result, neither engine is bristling with power, though the car’s low kerb weight does at least allow reasonable performance. Citroen claims a 0-62mph time of 10 seconds flat for the diesel C4 Cactus, and quotes a slightly faster time of 9.3 seconds for the petrol version.

At one point, the C4 Cactus was offered with a six-speed automatic gearbox. However, it has now been phased out, leaving the six-speed manual as the only available gearbox until the car’s production run ends.

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