Citroen C4 Cactus

| March 18, 2018 | 0 Comments


Whole Lotta Love

C4 Cactus Feel Blue HDi 100 manual

When I was a teenager, the TV programme that most divided our household was Top of the Pops. Back in the 1970’s & early 1980’s before MTV, the only way that you could see your favourite band or solo artist on TV, was to watch TOTP on Thursday evenings on BBC1. Watching this programme with my dad was often hilarious. From the Sweet with Blockbuster in 1973, the first single I ever bought, right through to 1983 & The Smiths performing This Charming Man, my dad could be relied on to make a derogatory comment about all of the acts I liked, with my foolish self often defending them in the face of a man whose musical tastes extended to Elvis, Jim Reeves & Leadbelly. Whichever shocking artist appeared, be it David Bowie or Mark Almond, sides in our house would be taken, with my sister & I attempting to educate my dad as to the benefits of for example, The Jam, with my mum acting as the peace maker. The ‘Generation Gap’ was clear to see & this also extended to technology, films, actors & cars. My dad had no interest in cars. He had a company car, a brown Vauxhall Cavalier which actually had a cassette player in it. However, it was never used because my dad liked to drive without music on, forcing me to sit in the back of the car with one of those single ear piece headphones listening to a transistor radio or cassette player.

This brings us nicely to the Citroen Cactus, which was originally launched in 2014 into the compact SUV market, following in the footsteps of the highly-successful Nissan Juke. However, the Cactus conforms to a less-is-more philosophy with it’s focus being to reduce running costs & to improve fuel economy. Similarly to the Juke, it looks different, very different, although the newly launched Mk2 is perhaps a little less controversial to look at than it’s predecessor, more Let’s Dance than Diamond Dogs. Having said that it still stands out in the crowd & is most definitely a coherent addition to the recently launched C3 & C3 Aircross.

Featuring the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme, the new Cactus represents a European premiere for Citroen’s new suspension system with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions™ & a world first for its Advanced Comfort® seats. There’s a revised engine line-up with both diesel & petrol power on offer & the new model also benefits from enhanced soundproofing, with 31 different combinations of design, 9 colours & 4 packs to choose from.

Citroen were at pains to point out that 90% of the exterior of the latest Cactus is different from the Mk1. The new model features a broader front end, LED lights that wrap around the front into the Citroen grille, side scoops, but it still has the Airbumps, which are lower down & less noticeable than before. The rounded wheelarches feature plastic extensions, but gone are the twin ski-like roof bars.

Inside, although the quality of the fixtures & fittings has improved, it’s still refreshingly different & very much a Cactus. The luggage strap door handle’s & 1970’s inspired LED style speedo have remained, as has the dashboard styling, layout, fit & finish, with the 7″ touch screen controlling all of the major functions; the air-con, infotainment, telephone & vehicle functions. Other practical & easy-to-use connectivity technologies added to the new version, include voice-controlled 3D navigation via Citroën Connect Nav, Citroën Connect Box with Emergency & Assistance and Mirror Screen functionality with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay™ & MirrorLink®.


Despite it’s funky looks, the Cactus isn’t really that sporty to drive in diesel guise, just the opposite. The seats are soft & comfortable, the five-speed gear shift is noticeably long & with a top speed of 114 mph & 62 mph reached from start in 10.7 seconds, there’s no feeling of being rushed at all. Consequently, handling is relaxing rather than exhilarating.

The 1.6 diesel HDi 100 engine in my test Cactus achieves a claimed 76.3mpg on the combined cycle, emitting CO2’s of just 94g/km. Interestingly, I had a spin in the 130 PureTech petrol version & this was quite the opposite, of the diesel,offering a bit of power when required, a better to use six-speed gear box, a more comfortable ride, but the caveat of a claimed combined fuel economy of 58.9mpg & emissions of 110g/km. So for high milers, the diesel is still better, although the petrol compares well with the competition.

Both on the road & on the motorway, the diesel feels underpowered & offers a lack of mid-range power, which means that a little more gear changing is required around town. I drove around Thame & Aylesbury in my test car & a combination of the towns traffic lights & one way systems got quite tiring in the Cactus. Having said that, I drove the Cactus on the motorway & found it to be excellent company, with a simple cruise control function allowing me to stay within the speed limits, especially handy through  a section of 50 mph road works. I also troubled the Citroen Bluetooth system making a hands-free call whilst on the move & found it to work extremely well. The lack of switchboard buttons is common place in many new cars today & like many others, the temperature controls which it encompasses, can encourage the driver to take their eyes of the road to adjust these, which is my only negative here.

I tested the entry level Feel, which features 16” alloys, black Airbumps, cruise control with speed limiter, DAB radio, USB, Bluetooth, LED daytime running lights, & LED rear 3D effect lights. The cabin is roomy both in the front & rear & there’s a decent sized 358 litres of boot space too. I personally don’t like the rear pop-out windows which still feature.  ABS with EBD & EBA, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), driver & front passenger front lateral & curtain airbags & hill start assist all feature across the range.

With the range starting at £17,965 OTR for the entry level Feel PureTech petrol 110S&S climbing to £20,895 for the top of the range Flair BlueHDi 100 S&S manual, all models are attractively priced for what is a decent sized, well equipped & distinctive family car.

If the Cactus were appearing on Top of the Pops, who would it be ? To my mind, it reflects all of those music makers who moved things forward either with their music or with their looks. Therefore it’s Elvis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Sex Pistols, New Order, Blur, Nirvana all rolled into one. Citroen created something with the Cactus Mk1 that was genuinely different & they are to be congratulated in using this as the blueprint for al of the latest Citroen models. The latest Cactus, as with the C3 & C3 Aircross, proves that you don’t have to conform to offer models that look great, are well equipped, offer great fuel economy & stand out from the crowd.

The latest version of the Cactus deserves to do well & I sincerely hope that is does, if for nothing else than to wind up my old-man. Seriously though, if your business runs 5 door hatchbacks, then you really should take a look at this Citroen, because not only is it a great looking car, all models are attractively priced & whether chosen in petrol or diesel guise, will likely save your company money as well.

A Boy George 3.75/5.

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Category: Citroen

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