Cac­tus C4 a smooth op­er­a­tor

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

WHEN Citroen launched the C4 Cac­tus in 2014, the de­sign was as spiky as the plant it was named af­ter.

Huge air­bumps to pro­tect the side doors were the most ob­vi­ous ex­am­ple of a com­pact crossover de­ter­mined to make a big im­pres­sion.

The lat­est ver­sion, in­tro­duced ear­lier this year, is less in your face but is a much more con­fi­dent and as­sured in­di­vid­ual as a re­sult.

Yes there are still bump pan­els lurk­ing on the bot­tom of the doors - but they are much smaller so no longer dom­i­nate a mod­ern look that is pleas­ing on the eye.

Citroen gives the lat­est Cac­tus a stream­lined de­sign which sees the ditch­ing of roof rails and a new face fea­tur­ing head­lights that re­mind me of Marvel’s su­per­hero Iron Man.

The tail­gate is re­placed and there are more new lights which pro­vide able sup­port to the rest of the model’s move to­wards re­spectabil­ity.

That dosen’t mean it is in any way staid or stuffy as there’s a joie de vivre about the whole look that Citroen does so well.

The French mo­tor man­u­fac­turer’s tra­di­tional ex­per­tise when it comes to the ride is also demon­strated via a neat hi-tech sus­pen­sion that smooths out the many humps and hol­lows lit­ter­ing our high­ways these days.

This makes it a com­fort­able cruiser when it comes to long trips on a mo­tor­way - aided and abet­ted by a de­cent level of re­fine­ment as most ex­te­rior noise is ban­ished from the cabin – but it still of­fers enough grip to make coun­try lanes any­thing but a chore al­though there is a touch of body roll when cor­ners are taken at pace.

The driv­ing po­si­tion is low for an SUV so you don’t get the im­pres­sion of height nor­mally the pre­serve of these mo­tors - but thanks to the com­fort­able and sup­port­ive seats and in­for­ma­tive steer­ing you do feel con­nected to the car in a way you some­times don’t when perched up in the air.

The cock­pit is well de­signed with ev­ery­thing log­i­cally lo­cated and easy to use while the ob­long dig­i­tal read­out ahead of the driver is a de­light.

The PureTech 110 three-pot petrol engine is a will­ing beast com­plet­ing the sprint to 62mph from a stand­ing start in just over nine sec­onds on its way to a top speed of 122mph.

It is fru­gal when it comes to fuel con­sump­tion with a claimed av­er­age fig­ure just north of 55mpg com­ing in at around the high 40s mark in the real world with car­bon diox­ide emis­sions of 117g/km. Two other three-cylin­der petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel are also of­fered in a small but se­lect range.

The in­te­rior is sur­pris­ingly plush with a premium feel at odds with the rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive price-tag of just un­der £20,000. The air vents on the cen­tre con­sole catch the eye while you can’t fail to no­tice the natty han­dles when you go to close the doors.

The car’s many treats are ac­cessed through a seven-inch touch­screen with the Flair model get­ting an ef­fi­cient sat nav sys­tem as well as a dig­i­tal ra­dio and MP3 player plus smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity. The dual-zone air con­di­tion­ing en­sures a pleas­ant at­mos­phere in the cabin while leg and head­room are ad­e­quate for all oc­cu­pants.

Lug­gage room is rea­son­ably plen­ti­ful at 358 litres with the rear seats in place ex­pand­ing to 1,170 litres when you fold them flat. There are also plenty of cubby holes in­clud­ing a clever top-hinged glove­box to ac­com­mo­date the var­i­ous nik-naks that ac­cu­mu­late with fam­ily mo­tor­ing.

It all adds up to an as­sured pack­age that isn’t per­haps as in­di­vid­ual as the orig­i­nal Cac­tus, but over­all ben­e­fits from the changes Citroen has made.

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