Citroen used to be known for giving us some really outlandish cars. From the svelte DS to the quirky Citroen 2CV and then finally the C4 Cactus which was first launched back in 2014. The trouble is that it wasnít that popular with car buyers. So, fast forward four years and the C4 Cactus has had its styling readdress and itís now been repositioned to compete with the likes of the Skoda Octavia. However, is it really any good and has it got the dynamic ability to match its more mature looks?
Well, we think itís a vast improvement on the old car. Its trademark paint protecting air bumper have shrunk and most of the grey plastic cladding that adorned the previous cars has gone too. On the inside there are still some unusual touches such as the square bottom steering wheel, bulbous air vents and a strangely shaped handbrake lever but it adds to its character.
The front seats come with adjustable lumbar support which is an important feature in our eyes. Although thereís plenty of adjustment in the driverís seat and steering wheel, not everyone will find a comfortable driving position mainly because the seat base is so darn soft. Itís so soft that it kind of puts your legs in to an elevated position and you almost feel like youíre trying to drive while youíre sitting on your sofa. In terms of visibility itís really is rather good. The forward view out is excellent and itís only really obstructed by the A and B pillars depending on where your seating position is. Visibility out of the back isnít quite as good though this is not uncommon for a family hatchback nowadays. Whatís good with the C4 Cactus is that you do get parking sensors as standard and if you opt for the range topping Flare model then you also get a reversing camera. Although the Cactusís interior does have some neat touches, such as a flip up glovebox lid, what we simply canít overlook is the hard scratchy plastic which just does doesnít match the quality of rivals in this sector of the market. Whichever Cactus you go for you do get a smart looking 7-inch touchscreen. Although it isnít the most responsive on the market you do get DAB radio, Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
The C4 has arguably one of the most strikingly interiors in its class but it is perhaps not as practical as you might expect. Saying this, you do get some useful storage compartments situated around the cabin including a decent sized flip-up glovebox, cup holders and good-sized door-bins. Sitting in the back youíll discover that the rear bench seat is narrower than both the Volkswagen Golf and the Skoda Octavia. So, to fit three adults side-by-side in the back is going to prove quite cramped. In terms of headroom youíd have to say itís a little on the squishy side so passengers of around 6ft may feel really squashed in the back. When you combine this with some very old-fashioned opening windows (found on old cars such as the Citroen AX GT) rear seat passengers might feel that they are keen to escape especially on long journeys. On the plus point though thereís plenty of storage back here mainly due to the fact that the door bins are a really good size.
Around at the boot youíll note that the back seats donít slide backwards and forwards they just fold on a standard 60/40 split and when they do thereís quite a sizeable step. Thereís also no false floor and if there was it would eradicate a large load lip which can make loading heavier bulkier items in and out quite laborious. In terms of the bootís overall size weíd have to say itís reasonable though the on found on the Skoda Octavia is bigger.
Thereís a choice of either a 1.6 diesel or a 1.2 petrol engine with 3 power guises. First, thereís the least powerful which is the 82 PureTech petrol model. Unfortunately this unit is quite weak and for that reason is definitely not our first choice. Then thereís the most powerful unit which is the 130 PureTech petrol model and although this has a lot more power itís quite expensive to buy. So, our favourite out of the lot is the 110 PureTech, which is the car we tested to the purpose of this short review, has the right blend of performance and economy. The 110 PureTech is turbocharged so it picks up well from low revs and itís got enough oomph to hold its own at motorway speeds. All three petrol engines are both quieter and smoother than the diesels too. You can have the 110 PureTech with either an automatic or manual gearbox though we prefer the manual because it offers better acceleration and the automatic can be a tad slow to change gear. If youíre really after an automatic then youíre better off with the dual-clutch system that youíd find in a Volkswagen Golf or Skoda Octavia.
The C4 Cactus has been given rather soft suspension which is intended to give the car a comfortable ride over broken surfaces. Therefore, it might come as a surprise to learn that the Cactus isnít all that comfortable. Over larger imperfections in the road this car really crashes and shimmies and even under light acceleration the setup causes the body to just pitch back and forth. If itís comfort that youíre after then you may be better suited to the VW Golf or Skoda Octavia as theyíre both more capable in this department.
The Citroen C4 Cactus is affordable to buy and offers good value for money. In terms of running costs even the 110 PureTech engine model will return 50 miles to the gallon (mpg) if driven considerately. All trim levels come with a generous amount of equipment including both air conditioning and cruise control. Youíll have to stump up the most cash for the Flair trim but it does add built in sat-nav and important active safety systems such as Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning. However, the Cactus interior trim and infotainment system arenít up there with alternatives from SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen and it doesnít match them for handling or driving experience either. That said the car will appeal to those whose priorities are an affordable price, low running costs and avant-garde styling. You just have to make sure that you can live with all its foibles before committing to buy one. To find out how much used Citroen C4 Cactus cars for sale are then perform a few car searches on the DesperateSeller.co.uk website.