Citroen C4 Cactus

Flair PureTech 110

Citroen C4 Cactus, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, rear
Citroen C4 Cactus, rear
Citroen C4 Cactus, rear
Citroen C4 Cactus, interior
Citroen C4 Cactus, interior
Citroen C4 Cactus, interior

PEARL white chocolate may sound as much like a new line of ice cream by Ben & Jerry's as the colour of a car from Citroen.

Appetising too - just picture yourself plunging a spoon into those swirls of gooey brown liquid spiralling their way to the top of the tub.

In the case of the C4 Cactus, minus the prickles, the same colour scheme is a bit more about the packaging than the contents.

In fact it's just about the only thing I don't really like about the Cactus and to be fair, criticism only applies to the cabin.

The car's exterior - pearl white with a chocolate Airbump - looks on the attractive side of okay, while the interior appears more like a throwback to an Eastern bloc model from the 1970s.

If you're curious about the Airbump, well it's an oblong strip across the sides of the car and the bumpers, basically to protect the Cactus from knocks and scrapes.

It's made from a thermoplastic polyurethane skin called TPU containing air bubbles to absorb any impacts and is available in colours like black, grey, Dune and chocolate, which can be matched with the Citroen's 10 body colours.

Whether it makes the C4 more attractive is down to personal taste, but it's certainly different and one of several features that make the Cactus such a stand-out version of the compact hatchback.

Though sharing the same wheelbase as the standard C4, the Cactus is actually 200kg lighter and is a product of the French brand's New World New Ideas philosophy.

The upshot is more space for the driver and passengers, in a relaxing, clutter-free cabin with a low dashboard and digital screen.

There's also ‘Airbag In Roof' technology whereby the passenger airbag is transferred to the roof and deployed over the windscreen.

As for comfort, the wide front seats are designed in the style of a sofa while rear legroom is similar to that of the C4.

Other touches include luggage style door handles with leather straps, a storage compartment on top of the dashboard and an optional (£425) large panoramic sunroof.

And driving aids include useful stuff like Smart Wash - washer nozzles are built into the tips of the wipers and release just a small amount of fluid - Park Assist, a reversing camera, Hill Start Assist and cornering lights.

Power comes via PureTech petrol and BlueHDi diesel engines with Stop & Start, the tested 1.2-litre petrol version offering a fair blend of performance and economy.

The Cactus isn't the most exhilarating car to drive, but a pleasant one nonetheless - with positive feedback from the steering, fair ride quality given its light weight and satisfactory cornering.

Its CO2 emissions are low at 107g/km and in real-world conditions you should be able to eke an average 53 miles per gallon - not too far short of the official 60.1 - out of the car in everyday driving.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C4 Cactus Flair PureTech 110

Price: £18,090

Mechanical: 110bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 117mph

0-62mph: 9.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 60.1

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 107g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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