Cac­tus won’t prick buy­ers’ con­science

Evening Telegraph (Late Extra Edition) - - YOURVOICE -

THE Citroen C4 Cac­tus looks un­like any other ve­hi­cle on the roads thanks to its Air­bump side cladding and a whole host of other bold de­tails.

Un­der the skin, it’s much the same as a C3, which isn’t quite so avant-garde, but as a com­fort­able and sim­ple city scoot, it has much to com­mend it.

De­spite the car’s ad­ven­tur­ous styling, there’s some real com­mon sense go­ing on here.

Economise on the oily bits and go nuts with the shiny bits seems to have been the mantra with this one, so it prob­a­bly won’t sur­prise you to learn that the C4 Cac­tus doesn’t break any new ground as a driver’s car.

That’s not to say Citroen hasn’t ap­plied its de­sign ge­nius to im­prov­ing this car’s re­sponses.

It’s ex­tremely light. The three­cylin­der petrol model weighs in at around 1,000kg — 200kg less than an equiv­a­lent C4 — which helps it get the most out of its mod­est en­gines. Even the most pow­er­ful ver­sion gets a mere 1.2-litre three­cylin­der petrol pow­er­plant. We’ve seen this unit be­fore in the Peu­geot 208 and the Citroen C3 and it’s a cracker that re­ally loves a few revs.

Here it de­vel­ops 110PS and will get the C4 Cac­tus to 62mph in 9.3 sec­onds.

It’s joined by two other petrol en­gines (‘PureTech 75’ and ‘PureTech 82’ units) and a fru­gal ‘BlueHDi 100’ diesel pow­er­plant.

Most buy­ers will stick with the five-speed man­ual gear­box, al­though five and six-speed Ef­fi­cient Tronic Gearboxes (ETG) are also on the menu. Citroen has en­gi­neered the sus­pen­sion set-up for com­fort rather than out­right han­dling and the power steer­ing is geared to­wards ease of use in cities.

The ‘Air­bumps’ might look like a pair of punc­ture re­pairs on the side of the doors, but these ther­mo­plas­tic polyurethane mould­ings have air cap­sules in­side to help ab­sorb su­per­mar­ket car park dunts.

In­side, there’s a lot to take in. The cabin has had a lot of de­sign ef­fort poured into it. Ev­ery­thing feels soft and re­lax­ing, with squidgy seats and a sim­pli­fied dash that fea­tures a touch screen to house most of the mi­nor con­trols. In an in­dus­try first, the pas­sen­ger airbag is housed in the roof, free­ing up the dash area to feel lighter and airier.

Prices start around £13,000 and all mod­els get a dig­i­tal Touch Drive in­ter­face con­trol­ling things like au­to­matic air con­di­tion­ing, a DAB ra­dio, sat nav, a re­verse park­ing cam­era, Park As­sist, cruise con­trol and Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity.

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