Citroen C4 Cactus review - Engines, performance and drive
There aren’t many engine choices, but they do the job. The smooth ride is excellent
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.
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 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 models results in a slightly unpleasant gruff sound. However, the C4 Cactus has sharp brakes, and stops well – again, helped by the the Citroen’s low weight.
The C4 Cactus is offered with a pair of small-capacity petrol and diesel engines, with the diesels catered for by the recently introduced four-cylinder 1.5 BlueHDi. It comes in 100hp and 120hp auto guises, and both provide reasonable performance thanks to the C4 Cactus’ low kerbweight. Citroen claims 0-62mph times of 10.0 and 8.7 seconds respectively.
For petrol power, you have the 1.2 PureTech three-cylinder turbo unit. It comes in 100hp and 130hp guises, which have 0-62mph times of 9.2 and 8.1 seconds respectively. Adding the EAT6 auto to the 110hp engine has no effect on the 0-62mph time.
In this review
- 1Citroen C4 Cactus reviewThe 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 drive - currently readingThere 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