Citroen C4 Cactus

Flair PureTech 110

S&S Rip Curl

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 Catcus, 2018, driving position
Citroen C4 Catcus, 2018, Advanced Comfort seats

CITROEN seems to be on a roll at the moment and its success is essentially down to doing things differently.

Once upon a time this was a Citroen trademark and over the years there have been many classics which really have stood out from the crowd - key among them being the 2CV and DS.

There was a period when the French car maker lost its way and perhaps the main reason for that was because it started trying to do what other car makers were doing.

As a result the marque became less distinctive and arguably even a little anonymous.

Fast forward to more recent times - and in particular the excellent leadership offered by its English CEO Linda Jackson - and for want of a suitable automotive analogy Citroen really is firing on all cylinders again.

The original Cactus, launched in 2014, was a key part of Ms Jackson's rejuvenation of the firm.

The Cactus was a quirky car with a personality all of its own - like some of those great Citroens of old.

Its defining features were its Airbumps - the large plastic panels on the doors that served to protect it from supermarket trolleys and other car doors as they were being opened.

It made perfect sense from a practical point of view but also added an element of character to the car visually.

There might have been those who didn't like them but you could opt to have a Cactus without them if you so wished.

How much they contributed to the success of the Cactus is anyone's guess but the latest midlife makeover model has undergone an Airbump transformation.

They haven't been removed exactly but they have certainly been scaled down.

Have they diluted the Cactus's quirky character? The answer has to be no and while those earlier Airbumps were somewhat hard to miss the new ones still work well, even if they are more understated.

Citroens used to be known for its self-levelling hydraulic suspension and the car maker was well ahead of its time in this regard.

The Cactus aims to replicate that in part with the new Progressive Hydraulic Cushion system.

I have to say I rather liked it and while the Cactus does bounce somewhat there's a soft suspension feel that does aid comfort.

It also contributes to the driving fun factor and while the Cactus is unlikely to win any handling accolades it offers an overall experience that is more than acceptable.

Given it's a midlife makeover there's quite a bit about the Cactus that is all-new.

The overlook on the outside has been freshened and it does look pretty different to its predecessor.

There's new front lights with LED daylight running lights, additional chrome and 3D-effect rear lights.

On the inside it still has that individual and uniquely Cactus feel, characterised by accessories like the straps instead of door handles and plenty more besides.

Comfort has been enhanced through improved seating, which benefits from what Citroen describe as high density foam.

Engine-wise there's just one diesel unit - the 1.6-litre BlueHDi, which produces 98bhp.

Given the trend to move away from diesel and the rise of small but potent and efficient petrol engines, most buyers are likely to opt for a version of the 1.2-litre PureTech petrol unit.

It's available in three power variants - 81bhp, 109bhp and 128bhp.

This was the middle one and is probably the pick of the bunch when it comes to combining performance with value for money.

It pulls nicely through the rev range and is suitably smooth and refined.


Citroen C4 Cactus Flair PureTech 110 S&S Rip Curl

Price: £19,600

Mechanical: 109bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 117mph

0-62mph: 9.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 100g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles


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