New Citroën C4 Cactus vs Skoda Octavia

Citroën has reinvented the C4 Cactus as an oddball family hatchback. That means it now faces the class-leading Skoda Octavia...

New Citroën C4 Cactus vs Skoda Octavia

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

​At first, it’s hard to get excited about the Octavia’s monotone interior, but it delivers in all the key areas. For example, it provides a decent amount of steering wheel adjustment and firm yet supportive seats that line up nicely with the wheel and pedals. This, plus standard lumbar support adjustment, provides you with a natural seating position that’s comfortable over long distances.

The Cactus, on the other hand, requires you to acclimatise to its unusual driving position. It, too, has both height and reach adjustment for the steering wheel and lumbar support as standard, but you sit low in the pillow-soft ‘Advanced Comfort’ seats with your thighs in an elevated position, due to the angle of the seat base. Imagine trying to drive while sitting on your couch and you’ll get the picture.

New Citroën C4 Cactus vs Skoda Octavia

Forward and side visibility are good in both cars, thanks to their thin front pillars and tall windows, although the rearward view is more obscured in the Cactus due to its thick rear pillars and small rear screen. Rear parking sensors are standard on both cars, while reversing cameras cost extra.

A number of nice details (such as a lift-up glovebox lid that looks like an old travelling trunk) do their best to occupy your attention in the Cactus. But if you look closer, you’ll find a number of hard, scratchy plastics that don’t match the higher-quality materials found inside the Octavia.