Arguably the Citroen C4 Cactus isn’t the sexiest car on the road, but if your looking for something that’ll turn heads then look no further. We drove 500 miles over Christmas and not once did we spot a fellow Cactus. Why? You tell us!
This crosshatch has the feel of a much bigger car with it’s high driving position, while still being compact enough for city driving. It is comfortable and spacious for driver and passengers alike, (albeit there are no “Jesus Christ” handles for sharp bends), fits everything but the kitchen sink in the hatchback and achieved 56.4 miles to the gallon. Comfort, space, adaptability and excellent fuel economy, the Citroen C4 Cactus does indeed tick all the demands of a modern day motorist. What it isn’t going to give you, is street cred or sex appeal but if it’s those things your after you should probably be on a different website.
Citroen have designed the exterior with safety and practicality in mind. Their Airbump® technology is like a plastic bubble wrap coating the side panels and bumpers resilient to neighbouring car park doors and designed to absorb the impact of a collision and reduce repair costs. Available in a range of colours, Airbump® can be matched to the ten body colours, three interior trim colours or four standard options, the choice of customisation is endless. Having said this, everything in the interior is controlled by a 7-inch touch screen tablet, which is not the safest thing to operate while driving. The ‘de-cluttering’ of the interior has been designed to provide a friendlier, more relaxing environment, but no buttons on the interior makes the inside very dark at night, and the touch screen does not take to light flicking, which is certainly not relaxing. Simple things like adjusting the temperature became near impossible while driving so we found ourselves having to sit uncomfortably hot until it was safe to adjust the heat. However on a Motorway there is no stopping; so what’s a driver to do…?
There are some buttons on the steering wheel, these control the audio and cruise control. Hands free is only partially hands free as you initially have to get the phone book up by touching the screen to find your contact. Despite there being a phone icon on the steering wheel this did not operate the phone.
We had a 1.6L diesel which, combined with the Eco stop start function. It gave us nothing close to the 91.1mpg but we were still impressed with the 56.4mpg it gave us. We drove a combination of city, rural and motorway driving and the Cactus adapted well to all three. For the size of the car and engine it had, we were pleasantly surprised with it’s power. It’s rapid on take off, transferring between gears is smooth, and starts up without problems following the Eco turn off. The only let down being there is no rev counter, however it does have a gear change indicator next to the digital speedometer.
Value for money
Entry-level prices start from just £12,990, and come with a three year or 60,000 miles warranty, one year breakdown cover and a service plan with Citroen. The money saved on fuel and potential repair costs lessens the blow that to look at, this is a fairly unattractive car. However if it’s an A-B, school run, weekly shop family car your after, then the Citroen C4 Cactus is for you. It can comfortably sit three kids in the back, it’s a whole lot more interesting than a Picasso, and you’ll have some spare cash to spend on, lets face it, the more important things in life.