C4 Cactus Rip Curl 1.2 PureTech 110
oddball Citroen C4 Cactus
crossover range first launched in
the UK in 2014 and since then its
like the proverbial hot cakes more
than 11,000 UK buyers last year and
over 10,000 customers in the first ten
months of 2016...
A PROVEN DESIGN-LED PRODUCT, the C4 Cactus range is chunky in style with
a blunt front, high bonnet, air-blister side protection mouldings and plastic
wheelarch and side sill guards plus a line-up of the award winning PureTech
and BlueHDi PSA Group's latest engines.
Adding a frisson to the individualistic C4 Cactus range is the latest addition
to the line-up, the Cactus Rip Curl. Described by Citroen as a unique and fun
crossover, it also comes in several other trims and specification levels
underscoring that, a major selling-point is the numerous personalisation options.
on the spec level, there is a choice of 1.2-litre PureTech non-turbo and turbocharged
75, 82 and 110hp three-cylinder petrol engines as well as 1.6-litre BlueHDi
100hp four-cylinder turbodiesel units. Prices start from a very attractive £12,990
and top-out at a hefty £20,495.
joy of the Cactus
Rip Curl model I tried
apart from the
advantages of the Grip
Control feature was
the three-pot, 1.2-litre
test C4 Cactus was the Rip Curl version with the 108bhp (110hp) PureTech petrol
engine that sells for £18,840; a 110hp turbodiesel Rip Curl is also available.
Both have a manual transmission and both versions are the only Cactus models
to have PSA Group's Grip Control-enhanced on-demand traction system. This provides
five selectable driving modes: Standard, Sand, Off Road, Snow and ESP Off (which
deactivates the stability control programme).
The Rip Curl variant was born out of collaboration between Citroen and the legendary
brand from the world of surfing, Rip Curl. The theory is the Rip Curl models
offer even more radical design and adventurous use.
The Rip Curl follows the standard C4 Cactus design of a crossover combining
the design of a five-door family hatch with the elevated stance of an SUV. This
soft-off-roader status is enhanced by plastic protection mouldings around the
wheelarches, side sills, and the Airbump blister pack panels fitted to the side
The Rip Curl is also fitted with front and rear underbody skid plates, 17-inch
grippy mud and snow tyres, white door mirror caps, white roof rails, Rip Curl
logos and graphics on some body panels, and signature rear quarter-lights. There
are five body colours: Tapenade Grey, Obsidian Black, Sport Red, Arctic Steel
and Pearl White.
Inside, the colour orange is a main styling detail change from other Cactus
versions. Orange denotes 'energy' something surfers no doubt need. The
orange adorns the seatbelts, floor mat stitching, and loudspeaker surround;
grey upholstery is standard although there is the option of part-leather at
The Rip Curl spec includes rear parking sensors and camera, climate control,
auto headlights and wipers, SatNav, a six-speaker audio system, cruise control,
tinted glass, electrically-operated windows and door mirrors, and a thermal
panoramic glass sunroof.
positioned in the high level fascia panel is a seven-inch touchscreen which
operates the radio, navigation, heating and ventilation system as well as the
computer readouts and vehicle settings.
with a soft-ish
the big seats provide
a lounge-style travelling
experience. Yes, the
road holding is on the
loose side with a bit of
sway and body roll
but it harks back to
it's another example from the PSA Group brands (and others) of how annoying
it can be to have to delve into the touchscreen programmes just to alter the
in-car temperature or fan speed or adjust the radio channel. It isn't user-friendly
and to my mind it isn't safe for the driver to be taking their eyes off the
road to make these adjustments. Other notable Cactus design 'quirks' include
the retro-style strap door pulls and the digital speedometer positioned in an
elongated box on top of the fascia panel in front of the driver.
Design quibbles aside, the Cactus is roomy with big comfortable seats and a
useful-sized 358-litre boot; folding away the rear seats creates a 1,170-litre
loadbay. The only issue is the low boot floor and a high rear sill, which means
heavy items need to be lifted over and down into the boot.
Coupled with a soft-ish suspension set-up, the big seats provide a lounge-style
travelling experience. Yes, the road holding is on the loose side with a bit
of sway and body roll but it harks back to Citroen's roots of comfy travel.
Unfortunately the suspension, although soft, doesn't cushion-out the impacts
and bumps generated by hitting potholes or on poor broken road surfaces. The
coarse-pattern tyre treads (used to support the Grip Control function) also
create a significant amount of road noise which penetrates into the cabin.
The joy of the Cactus Rip Curl model I tried apart from the advantages
of the Grip Control feature was the three-pot, 1.2-litre PureTech turbocharged
petrol engine. This family of engines has won numerous awards for their fuel
efficiency and in particular the turbo versions for their performance.
The compact powerplant has that audible keynote three-cylinder 'thrum'
as a soundtrack it's actually quite pleasing, and adds 'character' to the driving
experience. Mated to a five speed manual gearbox acceleration is quite 'punchy'
from low revs. The power output is 108bhp but it is the muscular 151lb ft of
torque delivered from 1,500rpm that serves up decent engine response from low
will at times induce torque-steer (which needs to be watched), most noticeably
accelerating hard out of low-speed bends. Top speed is 117mph and it cruises
very happily and with ease at 70mph; the zero to 62mph acceleration time is
not a car for
everyone, but if you
dont want motoring in
an also-ran modern-day
family hatchback get
behind the wheel of a C4
Cactus Rip Curl
even if youre not
a surfer, itll make you
Officially the Combined Cycle fuel economy is 65.7mpg and during my week-long
driving spell the average figure was 52.3mpg. With CO2 emissions of 100g/km,
there's nowt to pay for road tax all-in-all it's just brilliant for a
small capacity petrol engine in a family sized car.
You might dismiss the Rip Curl graphics as gimmicky but not the performance
of the engine or the avant-garde styling. It's not a car for everyone, but if
you don't want motoring in an also-ran modern-day family hatchback get behind
the wheel of a C4 Cactus Rip Curl even if you're not a surfer, it'll
make you smile. ~ David Miles
Citroen C4 Cactus Rip Curl 1.2 PureTech 110
Maximum speed: 117mph | 0-62mph: 9.3 seconds | Test Average: 52.3mpg
Power: 108bhp | Torque: 151lb ft | CO2: 100g/km