Citroen C4 Cactus

Blue HDi 100 Feel

Citroen C4 Cactus, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, dashboard
Citroen C4 Cactus, glovebox

IT might be something of an unconventional crossover hatchback, but one thing's for sure, Citroen's quirky C4 Cactus will quickly grow on you.

Yes, more and more of these funky machines are now hitting the streets and it's easy to see why.

First things first, Citroen have bubble-wrapped the machine making it virtually bullet proof - well not quite - but certainly car-park proof, for large replaceable panels which the French car makers call Airbumps are fitted to the doors to provide a protective shield which helps prevent the bodywork suffering dents from carelessly opened car doors or dings and scrapes we all suffer from from time to time.

With 10 standard colours from which to choose, including flat yellow, blue, red, grey and white, along with metallic and pearlescent finishes in the likes of black, white, silver and purple, the Airbump panels can also be colour-coordinated to match the car's exterior paintwork as an option to the usual standard black.

Another neat and uniquely-Citroen exterior design touch is the car's "floating" roof. Black painted pillars along with the car's tinted windows give a clever illusion that the roof is actually detached from the rest of the car's bodywork.

Inside, there's more unconventional design cues. The minimalistic colour-coordinated dash is served by a small pad behind the steering wheel containing the digital speedo and fuel gauge.

Centrally-situated is the seven-inch colour touch screen through which the sat nav, radio, air conditioning and Bluetooth can be controlled, while select reverse gear and a rear view camera kicks in making reversing a breeze.

Other novel features are the large flat-topped hinged glove box and straps replacing the more traditional door handles.

Buyers can take their pick from three petrol and one diesel engine, all of which show superb fuel economy figures. The diesel for instance returns quite mind-blowing fuel economy of 83mpg.

The petrol range, made up of a trio of 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech powerplants of 75, 82 and 110bhp, all return in excess of 60mpg on the combined cycle, while CO2 figures range between 89 and 107g/km, meaning the maximum any Cactus owner will have to pay for road tax is just £20.

Highly-fashionably and trendy in the looks department, the Cactus has been designed for comfort rather than out-and-out speed. The suspension has been tuned slightly on the softish side which makes it great for long-distance cruising.

Around town, the car's light steering and great all-round vision make it breeze to negotiate through busy traffic.

There's bags of space in the Cactus, especially so in the rear which can accommodate three adults with relative ease. The boot is also spacious, with 385 litre of luggage space available with the rear bench seat in place. Fold it down and that increases to a more-than-useful 1170 litres.

The Cactus comes in Touch, Feel and Flair spec levels, all of which offer a decent amount of kit for the money. Most buyers will opt for the mid-range Feel with its seven-inch touchscreen, front electric windows, DAB radio, alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control and Bluetooth connection.

Standard safety features include electronic stability control, hill hold and front and side airbags, while sat nav and what Citroen call a city park pack which will more or less automatically park the car by itself, are also available as options.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C4 Cactus Blue HDi 100 Feel

Price: £16,885

Mechanical: 100bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 114mph

0-62mph: 10.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 83.1

Insurance Group: 18

C02 emissions: 95g/km

Bik rating: 17%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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