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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Citroen C4 Cactus Feel PureTech 110

Click to view picture gallery“Fresh from a significant Spring
  facelift, Citroen’s C4 Cactus is now
  even more charming with a strong
  emphasis on a rare commodity —
  Comfort ...”


NOW DEFIANTLY MORE well-groomed hatchback than quirky crossover, the Cactus's revamped design is targeted at — and is sure to appeal to — family buyers, particularly those looking for something snazzy but also a little bit different in their mid-sized five-door hatch.

What really does it for the C4 Cactus is its fluent lines; not only is it good to look at but in today's samey old world it's instantly recognisable. There's still a tease of crossover in its stylish wheelarch and perimeter protection strips but the über-slim bonnet and equally narrow daytime running lights and fastback glasshouse treatment make for an appealing hatchback style that stands out from the crowd.

Occupying the Cactus's engine bay can be either an 82, 110 or 130hp petrol engine or a four cylinder 1.6-litre BlueHDi turbodiesel unit with 100hp. This past week we've been driving the most popular engine choice the award-winning three-cylinder 1.2-litre PureTech turboed direct injection petrol engine; mated to a five-speed manual 'box, it kicks out a responsive and refined 108bhp backed-up by a generous 151lb ft of torque. Impressive.

Welcoming you into the
airy cockpit are wide,
deeply-cushioned chairs
— Citroen’s new
Advanced Comfort Seats.
These satisfyingly
supportive and
effectively bolstered
armchair-like seats are
upholstered in two-tone
cloth and inject a real
snugness into
the tastefully trimmed
cabin...”
As too is its eagerness to dish out the power be it nipping around the houses or zipping along motorways. And although it makes a nicely thrummy signature three-pot sound, you rarely hear it inside the cabin. And it goes better than you might think given its three cylinders, hitting 62mph off-the-line in a breezy 9.4 seconds and topping out at 117mph.

Going by out test figures 47.7mpg over the course of a week's hard driving most owners should easily encounter the magic Five-O, or maybe more given the 62.8mpg official Combined Cycle figure. Emissions are a road tax-friendly 117g/km.

Welcoming you into the airy cockpit are wide, deeply-cushioned chairs Citroen's new Advanced Comfort Seats. These satisfyingly supportive and effectively bolstered armchair-like seats are upholstered in two-tone cloth and inject a real snugness into the tastefully trimmed cabin. There's plenty of personal wriggle room for your front passenger too and decent elbow room to go round, and thanks to some clever design and a slim-line fascia it also, despite the large chairs, manages to feel very spacious.

Naturally there's the obligatory central touchscreen, set at an equal height to the digital head-up-style instrument display directly ahead of the driver both are blessed with clear and sharp graphics. The tactile shelf-like dash allows for a practical top-lidded glovebox that offers ample space for oddments and personal 'stuff' (there are also big front door bins capable of taking large bottles, dual-use cupholders and a lidded central armrest box). Also contributing to the bespoke Citroen treatment are natty luggage strap-style door pulls that work perfectly. A swan-necked pull-up handbrake also saves on space while being easy to use.

You sit high with fine views out over the bonnet, all of which makes the Cactus an easy one to place and park. Both front seats adjust for height plus the driver's benefits further with adjustable lumbar support, and the multifunction flat-bottomed leather-wrapped wheel is good to grip. On the move, thanks to effective soundproofing and an acoustic windscreen, the cabin is well insulated from the clatter of the outside world.

You don’t have to drive
far at all to discover
that this new Cactus
serves up an agreeably
cosseting ride.
That’s mostly down to
Citroen’s new
Progressive Hydraulic
Cushions suspension
set-up — patchy
blacktop, potholes and
sleeping policemen
are all neatly
ironed out...”
The seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, with smartphone mirroring (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), is slick and foolproof plus there's Citroen's Connect Nav and Connect Box providing full onboard navigation and emergency and assistance support as required (a reasonable £800 option for the lot). Helpfully, the current speed limit is always posted on the mapping and fingertip-tappers will be pleased to find that adjusting the climate control is also done via the screen, through which all primary vehicle functions are also controlled.

More standard kit includes a DAB digital radio with six-speakers and MP3 player, Bluetooth (handsfree and media streaming), AirCon, one-touch electric front windows, electrically-adjustable heated door mirrors, and rear parking sensors. Safety and assist features include Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, cruise control with speed limiter, tyre pressure monitoring, a full set of airbags, LED daytime running lights, LED 3D-effect taillights, and front fog lights with cornering function.

If you just have to have more safety stuff it's there for the asking: automatic emergency braking, Driver Attention Alert, Road Speed Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Coffee Break Alert, colour reversing camera, Blind Spot Monitoring, front parking sensors, Gap Measurement, and active self-parking Park Assist. All can be added either as options or simply upgrade to the next (and top) trim level: Flair.

You don't have to drive far at all to discover that this new Cactus serves up an agreeably cosseting ride. That's mostly down to Citroen's new Progressive Hydraulic Cushions suspension set-up patchy blacktop, potholes and sleeping policemen are all neatly ironed out. Partnered by the big, comfy chairs it helps the Cactus do exactly what it says in the ad: 'Comfort is the new Cool'. Make no mistake this hatch is a car designed to calm and relax.

So does the 'soft' ride rule out press-on driving? Non! It's jolly nice to drive and while it wafts along, behind the fluent ride it remains predictable and composed with light but accurate steering; push on and sure there is some body lean (as you'd expect given the limo grade ride) but you're never in any doubt as to what's going on as the power's laid down through the front wheels getting it there is a no-brainer courtesy of a clean-gated and fluent gearchange action.

The deepish 358-litre
boot swallows more than
enough luggage to satisfy
the average family,
while for lugging larger
loads the split rear seats
can be easily folded
to create a useful
1,170-litre loadbay...”
On wet and windy motorways the Cactus tracks arrow-straight, so no worries there. However, if more traction is on your wish-list you can always tick the box for Grip Control which, along with multiple driving modes for the likes of snow, sand, mud, damp grass, etc, also gets you '4-season' tyres wrapped around up-sized 17-inch alloys.

Rear passengers have it equally good with the same high-comfort seats as those up front. The backrests are set at a relaxing angle and legroom is fine; even three side-by-side is doable with sociable space for three pairs of feet. Plus there are good views out through the longish, front-hinged 'pop-out' side windows that when open let in a refreshing and controlled breeze; using them over standard drop-down electric versions also means more there's elbow room to be had.

Parents will appreciate the Isofix child seat mounting points and remote-operated electronic child locks; all age groups will be glad of the mag pouches on the front seatbacks, the deep, large capacity door pockets and handy open storage bins near the top of the rear doors.

The deepish 358-litre boot swallows more than enough luggage to satisfy the average family, while for lugging larger loads the 1/3:2/3 split rear seats can be easily folded down to create a useful 1,170-litre loadbay within the Cactus's 4.1-metre length. And if you like to keep loads on the outside, well that's fine too the 1.2-litre will happily tow a braked 950kg.

Drive a Rolls-Royce and, more than anything else, you'll experience Serenity; amazingly, for a fraction of the price, you'll get a taste of it riding around in a C4 Cactus. With its unique comfort suspension and seats and celebrated French flair, the C4 Cactus is making Comfort the new Cool ~ MotorBar
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Citroen C4 Cactus Feel PureTech 110 | £18,090
Maximum speed: 117mph | 0-62mph: 9.4 seconds | Test Average: 47.7mpg
Power: 108bhp | Torque: 151lb ft | CO2: 117g/km

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