Citroen C4 Cactus Flair

110

CITROEN has done a good job of sharpening a boxy shaped compact SUV into the C4 Cactus.

Built in Spain, it won numerous design awards over the first few years and most are familiar with the "airbumps" side skins designed to minimise parking impacts while adding some focus to the flanks.

It is essentially a cross-over which uses the C3 and DS 3 platform but under a much more practical body for families.

Announced in 2014, there are 22 versions of Cactus on UK sale spanning the price range £13,400 to £20,865, in five trim levels, manual or automatic transmission and some can be ordered with the fuel-saving start & stop system.

Depending on the chosen petrol or diesel engine, power outputs are 75, 82, and 110bhp.

Our 110bhp Flair Edition Pure Tech is the most popular petrol version in the range and it does a very good job despite having just three cylinders.

It's noisy for sure when revved but ease off the throttle and it actually moves along very well and its refined responses are a delight even if the acceleration is not going to turn heads.

The clutch was quite long in travel but the gearchange was direct and the five-ratios seemed well matched unless you were doing a lot of motorway miles and you might wish for a sixth gear as well.

It turned sharply and slowed without any effort while the parking brake never gave me cause of concern on any hills encountered.

While I liked the way the suspension soaked up the bumps it could at times be disconcerting in the way it rolled around bends and you would always hear the system coping with the holes and ridges it took you over without shaking you up.

There was a strong tendency towards the nose heading to the outside of a corner unless you lifted off the throttle when it all came back on line very quickly and safely.

But this is no sports hatchback and you cannot expect handling to be like that, but neither can you expect the way it packed in people and luggage to be like a hot-hatch and it wasn't because it was very roomy.

The boot was of a reasonable size when all seats were used, but it almost tripled with the back seats folded and in the cabin the room in the back was almost as good as in the front. Easy to climb into or out of, the leg and headroom was good in the back.

Front seats were big and soft, the back simpler and not quite so user friendly, but the vision was very good and it was easy to park.

For the driver, the controls were sensibly laid out, both major and minor worked well and the instruments were simple and clear with straightforward heating and ventilation, but there's a lot going on behind that infotainment screen and it takes some getting used to and its not the easiest to use on the move.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C4 Cactus Flair 110

Price: £20,180

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: 38

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 100g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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