This car is something bolder from Citroen, with its spiky name and spongey seats...
Citroen has been on a rollercoaster ride in recent times. Once known for its interestingly quirky cars, the double chevron brand went through a bland period when its vehicles became duller and more corporate, before rediscovering some joie-de-vivre with the DS models.
Now Citroen is intent on making its mainstream cars a bit more characterful, and the C4 Cactus shows the way forward. This car is something bolder from Citroen, with its spiky name and spongey seats, and in particular its all-round bump-proofing.
This is the first model under a new regime at Citroen, which sees the French manufacturer’s products now split into two distinct and separate brands: core Citroen models and the up-market DS line.
The C4 Cactus’s ‘wow’ feature is its novel ‘airbumps’ on the body sides. Aesthetically they give the car a funky character, but more importantly they guard against the scuffs and scrapes of close proximity everyday urban driving: the casually opened adjoining car door in a congested car park, or the carelessly pushed shopping trolley at a supermarket, maybe.
The C4 Cactus is a five-door, five-seater hatchback with a choice of engines: 1.2 litre, three-cylinder petrol or 1.6 litre, four-cylinder diesel, with varying power outputs. Transmissions are five-speed manual or five-speed semi-automatic. Trim choices are Touch, Feel and Flair.
Engine power output varies from 75 bhp to 110 bhp, and CO2 emissions from 87 g/km to 107 g/km. Prices for the range start from £12,990 for a C4 Cactus Touch VTi 75 with the lowest powered petrol engine and manual transmission, and rise to £18,190 for a top-spec diesel Flair e-Hdi 92 ETG Auto.
The C4 Cactus is made in Madrid and its distinctive and heavily patented side airbumps are also produced in Spain, at a factory near Barcelona.
The 1.6 litre, 91 bhp diesel engined C4 Cactus is expected to be a popular seller. It is no ball of fire, but a very adequate performer with a nippy feel around town and a long-legged cruiser on a motorway. The engine produces 91 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 170 lb ft of torque at 1,750 rpm. The CO2 output is 94 g/km, putting the car in band A for VED, meaning no-cost annual car tax. Average fuel economy for this version is 78.9 mpg, which is pretty handy, although other models in the range go up to 91 mpg on the combined cycle.
The test car’s top speed is 113 mph and its 0-62 mph acceleration time is 12.6 seconds. The engine likes to be revved, and needs to be worked quite hard to extract the best of its performance.