Citroën C4 Cactus long-term test review

Citroën's funky C4 Cactus is aimed at family buyers who prioritise comfort. We've got four months to see if it delivers...

Citroen C4 Cactus
  • The car: Citroën C4 Cactus Puretech 110 Feel
  • Run by: Kris Culmer, sub-editor
  • Why it’s here: To prove that comfort can take priority in a family hatchback
  • Needs to: To prove that not everything has to be about sportiness

Price £18,090 Price as tested £19,815 Mileage 2890 Official economy 55.4mpg Test economy 47.5mpg Options fitted Connect Nav and Connect Box (£800), Metallic paint (£495), City camera pack (£250), White foglight surround and Airbump highlight (£180)

26 September 2018 – Getting settled

It’s been a month and a half now since the C4 Cactus arrived, and I’m still very much working out how I feel about it. Being quick to judge isn’t nice, you know.

As ever, my first impression of the car came on the motorway. Despite what you may think of the modern trend for turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engines, getting up to speed with Citroen’s 109bhp unit presents me with no frustrations; 0-62mph takes 8.2sec. The engine proves rev-hungry enough, while the gearchange acts slickly on the 0-70mph sprint.

However, while rowing my way up to economy-pleasing sixth gear, I noticed something confounding: the C4 Cactus still does not have a rev counter. This was a complaint made by some owners of the pre-facelift model, and while I can understand the logic in not having this on an automatic model, its absence on a manual is very irritating. At least the digital instrument display – which is viewed through the steering wheel - illuminates a small marker when it feels the time is appropriate for you to shift up or down.

Driving a Citroen C4 Cactus

Mildly contented by this discovery, my mind turned back to the road. "Comfort is the new cool" say Citroen’s adverts, but how soothing really is the Cactus? Well, you sure do sink into its armchair-like seats. I’m still fine-tuning my driving position, but it’s getting there, thanks to a good range of movement in the seat and steering wheel (an improvement, as this didn’t adjust for reach before).

The ride needs further evaluation. It’s certainly on the soft side, especially in comparison with rivals’. But whether it can be considered a ‘magic carpet’ remains dubious. However, many of the best motorway cruisers come unstuck around town, so I have a suspicion that the C4 Cactus will behave in an inverse manner.

That will have to wait a little while, though; I’ve just taken the car up to What Car?’s top-secret laboratory – just off the M1, near Milton Keynes – to have it put through our real-world-representative True MPG fuel economy testing. In the meantime, I’ve borrowed an example of a comparable family hatchback, the Ford Focus, in order to compare. I’ll report back on the differences soon.

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