Citroen Cactus goes

to top of class

Citroen C4 Cactus, side
Citroen C4 Cactus, 2018, front, action
Citroen C4 Catcus, 2018, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, boot
Citroen C4 Cactus, 2018, seats, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, 2018, seats, rear
Citroen C4 Cactus, front action 2
Citroen C4 Cactus, rear action

CITROEN'S resurgence as a force to be reckoned with takes another massive step forward with the new C4 Cactus, and that points the way to up-coming new models.

The reason for my optimism in the company's future is simply because the Cactus, the C3 and the C3 Aircross, which have been launched in the last year or so, are all so good.

Years ago, Citroen prided itself on the cosseting ride of its cars but until now, its smaller offerings were not especially comfortable.

The Cactus sorts all that in one fell swoop, with the kind of comfort that every car maker should be aiming for.

Our roads are no longer smooth and pothole free - they're in an awful state. Even some motorway slip roads now have holes in urgent need of repair.

The Cactus counters this with by far the best ride in the class, and probably for two classes higher. In fact, I think its good enough to start the premium car makers worrying.

The new suspension system uses Progressive Hydraulic Cushions added to standard springs to produce the comfort and the result is absolutely superb.

I drove it over some very rough country roads at reasonable speeds, and it handled them all with ease. It takes speed humps almost as if they're not there, and multi-repaired town streets cause occupants no discomfort whatsoever.

I think this concentration on ride quality is a winner - more especially for private buyers, many of whom are not so young in years and prefer not to be shaken or stirred in their chosen transport.

And yet they do not have to compromise on less able handling or road-holding either. The Cactus corners pretty flat and can be pushed through bends much harder than most owners are ever likely to without ever losing grip.

I drove the smooth and quiet 1.2-litre turbo petrol, driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Like the excellent suspension, this feels marvellous at almost all speeds and is very willing and punchy, with power to spare for overtaking.

The automatic has a manual setting and changes are then made using the floor lever. It's a system that works well, it will give better economy if driven carefully, but since the government average is 61mpg and owners are likely to get a real 40-45mpg, I can't see many bothering.

The new Cactus is better looking than the old, with less of the rather ugly plastic cladding along the sides, but it is just as practical, with space for four or five, and excellent storage all round the cabin.

In top Flair trim, it also comes with a huge range of standard equipment, some of which is on the extras list of cars costing a good deal more.

This includes Active Safety Brake, that reduces the risk of a collision by braking automatically when danger is detected, speed limit recognition, lane departure warning and a coffee break alert that prompts the driver to take a break after they have been driving for two hours.

It also comes with a driver attention alert warning, blind spot monitoring, park assist that gives active help for parking and can also steer the car into a space, a reversing camera, hill start assist, front fog lights with a cornering function, keyless entry and starting and Grip Control to help maintain grip in slippery conditions.

It's also very well connected, with Mirror Screen to link to phones, Android Auto and Apple Car Play.

The standard sat nav has live traffic information, and it, the phone and the DAB stereo can be voice controlled. Other standard kit includes keyless entry and starting, cruise, parking sensors and a rear parking camera.


Price: £21,165

Mechanical: 110bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 117mph

0-62mph: 9.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 61

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions: 105g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles


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