Citroen C4 Cactus

Flair PureTech 130

Citroen C4 Cactus, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, front, static
Citroen C4 Cactus, front, action
Citroen C4 Cactus, rear, action
Citroen C4 Cactus, rear, static
Citroen C4 Cactus, rear
Citroen C4 Cactus, interior
Citroen C4 Catcus, 2018, Advanced Comfort seats

IF comfort is your main priority when you buy your new family hatchback there is only one name in the frame at present - the new Citroen Cactus.

Over the years Citroen has often done things a little differently when it comes to suspension - remember the Citroen 2CV and the Citroen DS - and the latest version of the Cactus is no exception.

The result is a car which has the uncanny ability to smooth out the potholed roads of Britain.

Okay you may feel some impact from the very worst of the holes but in general the suspension acts like a magic carpet ensuring the car almost floats along. And as if to emphasise the point the television advert for it shows a Cactus getting to its destination with a unspilled cup of coffee on the roof.

It's all down to the new Progressive Hydraulic Cushion system which softens up the ride by adding a cushioning affect rather than a hard stop at the end of the suspension units to give additional comfort but not to the detriment of the handling.

There is a little bit of body roll but it's all under perfect control and you can still drive the car hard around twists and turns without any nasty surprises.

Backing up the new suspension system - to emphasise just how much the French car maker is majoring on the comfort element of the car - are new style seats with extra layers of high density foam to ensure even the hardest bump is softened even more.

The original Cactus took to the road in 2014 and the most distinguishable features on it were the plastic panels known as Airbumps which Citroen said were to protect the doors from supermarket trolleys and parking motorists who insisted on bumping your door when they opened theirs.

The latest generation Cactus features Airbumps scaled down to a level where they are barely noticeable but still offer paintwork protection.

Like the original there are a number of quirky aspects like no rev counter and straps rather than handles on the front doors but in general an awful lot has changed.

In fact Citroen says some 90 per of the exterior parts on the car have been changed compared to the original model. These include new front lights with LED daylight running lights, additional chrome and 3-D-effect rear lights.

From behind the wheel the 1,199cc engine is impressively quiet. Okay when it's cold you can just about hear the thrum of three cylinders but as the engine warms that distinctive note disappears and the whole thing becomes very refined.

It's also very sharp off the market, hitting 62 miles per hour in a very commendable 8.2 seconds making it an enjoyable car to drive.

The Flair PureTech model comes with some nice little extras too, like a panoramic glass sunroof and very sharp colour rear view camera.

For me the few negative aspects included barely audible and visible warnings for the indicators, a fuel gauge which is much too small and no rear cupholders.

Most of the car's functions are activated via a seven-inch central touch screen while the digital speedometer is encased in a distinctive square screen in front of the driver, retained from the original model.

There's plenty of space in the very deep boot - 358 litres rising to 170 litres with the rear seats backs down - and a host of safety features include blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C4 Cactus Flair PureTech 130

Price: £20,670

Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 120mph

0-62mph: 8.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 58.9

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 110g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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