Citroen C4 Cactus (2014 on)

4
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5

1.2 Puretech 110 Flair Start+Stop 5dr Hatchback

reviewed by ciaran1602 on 7 August 2016
5
Overall rating
5
How it drives
4
Fuel economy
5
Tax/Insurance/Warranty costs
5
Cost of maintenance and repairs
4
Experience at the dealership
4
How practical it is
5
How you rate the manufacturer
5
Overall reliability

A revelation

I review this car as the other family vehicle from my personal C4 hatchback.

I must admit, I am not sure if myself and the other owner reviewer on this site were driving the same model as we cannot be happier with our Cactus.

The first thing to bear in mind when you buy a Cactus is you are buying a car that has specifically been designed with being as light as is physically possible; this is why the car is the size of a Ford Focus but weighs well under a ton. This forces certain compromises on you such as no heater vent for the passenger side window, the rear windows opening like a Saxo from the late 90s etc etc. This is deliberate; Citroen have asked what the majority motorist can deal with out and where they can cut corners to make the car lighter than it has any right to be.

This is part of the reason for the Avant Garde styling and the air bumps. They are noticeably lighter than steel and provide the added benefit of being much cheaper to replace should a careless person clonk your car with their car door in a multistory. Citroen give you the option to customise the colours to suit you own personal requirements so you can make it as bright or as dull as you wish (I think the white car with the black bubbles, such as ours, is the most stylish combo but that's just me!).

All of this lightness adds up to several benefits for you the driver. First of all, there's no requirement to go for a big engine. We tried the 1.2 82hp non-turbo and it was perfectly adequate at pulling the Cactus along and coped remarkably well with motorway driving. However, give it something like the 110hp turbo such as ours and it genuinely becomes quite a quick car. It produces bags and bags of torque so will suit someone used to a diesel however it makes a pleasing, three cylinder growl rather than a diesel clatter when accelerating. The turbo engine allows you to best capitalise in the light steering and the agile, fleet of foot characteristics. It makes a surprisingly good long distance cruiser as well, though I imagine the BlueHDi100 will still be a better bet for very long mileages due to revving lower.

The touch screen system divides opinion in our household. While I find it quite simple to use and it gives you a wealth of information, it's not perfect. It uses old fashioned resistive technology (ie, two sheets of perspex which have to touch one another to register a touch) rather than capacitive technology (electromagnetism) like our modern iPhones and similar do. It can be a little fiddly to play with on the move, which becomes problematic when the heating controls are all on the screen. I find it reasonably okay, but my middle aged father is less pleased. The sat nav system works very well though as does bluetooth and all the USB connectivity for the connected among us.

Fuel economy has been excellent with the puretech 110. Of course, its far cry short of the EU tests but show me a car that isn't. However, around town we can average between 45-50mpg and get it relatively close to 55-60mpg on a long extended motorway run.

The only criticisms I can level is typical of French cars: A lack of forethought. There are design elements that seem to have been rather forgotten in the original manufacturing process; things like the armrest on top spec models, which completely obscures the handbrake and makes gear changes a challenge. The enormous loading lip that makes the boot useless for dogs and the particularly hard, unsupportive seats. I have a long term back injury and having almost no lower back support precludes me from using the car on a permanent basis. There is also no reach adjustment in the steering wheel which I find a pain; I like to set bolt upright with the steering wheel fairly close to me but it always seems a little far away for my liking.

These are relatively trivial as you'd decide before you buy whether you find it comfortable. We have found it useful, fun, frugal and enjoyable to own. It's even better when people stop and stare or ask questions about it in the car park!

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1
reviewed by SirLockstock on 29 June 2016

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About this car

Price£12,990–£21,705
Road TaxA–C
MPG55.4–91.1 mpg
Real MPG72.8%

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