Cactus won’t prick buyers’ conscience
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.