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Citroen C4 Cactus Test Drive Review

Date: 04 August 2014   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

BusinessCar reviews the new Citroen C4 Cactus

Citroen has muscled its way into the burgeoning crossover segment with the C4 Cactus.

It's the first time the French firm has made a move into the sector, and the all-new model is claimed to major on style, space and low running costs.

Regardless of whether or not you're taken by it, you can't fail to look twice at the Citroen's unconventional exterior. The swelled strips across the doors are a new development known as Airbump, which are quite literally pockets of air, like bubble wrap, designed to protect the bodywork from scrapes. The technology is also present on the front and rear of the car.

It's much the same on the inside too: there are numerous different finishes available, all of which leave
the cabin looking plush and distinctive. Touches such as leather straps for door handles and a front bench seat (on automatic versions where the space is available) make an interesting and appealing change to the majority of cars - rivals or otherwise - and ring true with Citroen's heritage of chic, quirky vehicles.

It isn't short on space either: there's a decent amount of room for front and rear passengers, and at 358 litres the boot blitzes the Nissan Juke's 251 litres and is about average next to its other key rivals.

Engines are limited to a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel with three and two different respective power outputs. Despite their diminutive size, the two versions that BusinessCar tested didn't come across as short on power: the 110hp 1.2 Puretech petrol model was punchy enough when revved and proved quiet at lower speeds, while the 1.6 e-HDi 92 diesel had sufficient mid-range pull.

The latter model was fitted with the six-speed version of the firm's ETG automated manual gearbox, an improvement over the older versions, which were renowned for lurching, uneven shifts, but still not as smooth as a conventional automatic transmission.

Citroen is expecting around 50% of cars to go to business users, and the most popular model is tipped to be the 100hp 1.6 HDi diesel in Feel trim. Emissions and official economy figures hit respective lows and highs of 82g/km and 91.1mpg, which renders the Cactus by far the most fuel- and tax-efficient small crossover to date, undercutting the next closest Renault Captur's best of 95g/km and 76.4mpg.

It's difficult to make a call on costs until Citroen releases official prices and the RV setters have their say (an area in which the firm has historically been weak), but the first signs are promising.

The firm's estimated prices put it very much in the heartland of the Nissan Jukes, Renault Capturs and Vauxhall Mokkas with which it will compete, and the small engines and low emissions can only be good news as far as running costs go.