Citroen’s heavily revamped C4 Cactus Hatch is, the company says, pushing upmarket.
Tom Scanlan enjoys the upgraded and improved New Citroen C4 Cactus
It claims to have a world-first with its ‘Advanced Comfort’ seats, while, at the same time, introducing its Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension.
Like riding on a flying carpet, says Citroen.
First things first, then and I must say that, although I have never experienced a real flying carpet, this car does provide a very comfortable ride.
At the launch, Citroen’s UK team found some seriously bad roads that would challenge every car that had the misfortune to travel over them. Bingo! No problem...impressive performance from the new C4 Hatch as it sucked up all those nasty little pot-holes, ruts, temporary repairs and more.
There’s more to report on, of course, because apart from some new metal-work for the car’ front end, along with new ideas for headlamp and rear lamp design, those marmite (love them or hate them) ‘air-bumps’ have been minimalised and slid down to the sills where they join similar plastics over the front and rear wheel arches.
However important first impressions of a car’s exterior may be, it’s the new car’s interior that might strike the prospective buyer the most.
There are thirty-one combinations of outside colours and interior trim options. It’s good to find that Citroen has designers who can still, in the company tradition, produce something entirely different, without being too whacky.
The first test car sampled happened to have one of the two subtle reds available for part of the seat coverings — which are in cloth. These were not only becoming to look at, but were very comfortable and, as a general note across the industry, soft to sit in. In all the cars, the passenger seat back-rest adjustment knob was very stiff to use, so this needs a little look back at the factory.
Looking round the cabin, it felt warm and welcoming. At the front, further interesting design features included the instrument panel ahead of the driver. This was in the form of a simple shiny rectangular pod, complementing, perhaps, the bigger 7-inch screen for the satellite navigation and general infotainment display in its usual central position.
Left of this was the quite striking aspect of the top of the glove compartment, a mix of textures that made you wonder why, but, then, ‘why wonder?’, just enjoy!
Although the car has its reasonably long wheelbase, adults riding in the rear seats could still do with more leg-room; it’s alright for children. The rear side windows don’t open up and down, but get a small sideways-hinged opening.
The boot is of a good size; lift the floor and, something of a surprise these days, a spare wheel is revealed, even if only a space-saver.
Four cars were tried out on the launch, all very pleasant to drive.
These represented the range of engines with lively 3-cylinder 1.2 petrol engines of either 110 or 130 bhp (0-62 mph in 8.7 seconds), and a choice of manual or automatic transmissions, both smooth and easy, the automatic also having a Sport mode for increased engine response and a 1.6 diesel that has 100 bhp but the usual useful extra torque.
Citroen tells us that their new car is, by 150 kilograms, lighter than any other car in its class. This should help with the performance and should aid consumption and emission figures.
The test routes provided a variety of conditions and the returns indicated on the trip computer ranged from 39.7 mpg in the Flair PureTech 130 manual, to 44.0 mpg in the Feel PureTech 110 manual (likely to be the top-seller), and 52.2 mpg from the diesel Flair Blue HDi 100 manual. Official combined figures for comparison are, respectively, 58.9 mpg, 62.8 mpg and 76.3 mpg...if only!
The engines are pretty clean: 96 g/km from the diesel, 104 and 110 respectively for the petrol cars. The range starts at £17,625 for a launch edition of the Feel version in early April. At the top, it’s £19,865 for a Flair. Add on more money for options, although the cars are generally well-equipped.
All in all, the New C4 Cactus improves on the previous model in many ways and makes for a comfortable, stylish family car. However, I would happily pay a tenner more for a vanity mirror for the passenger’s sun visor and grab-handles either side...
Car reviewed: New Citroen C4 Cactus PureTech 130 S&S 6-speed manual Feel - Base Price On the road £18,765 0-62mph 8.2 secs Top speed 117mph Fuel Economy combined 58.9mpg CO2 emissions 110g/km Engine 1199cc 3-cylinder EU6 unleaded Max Power 131bhp@5500rpm Torque 230Nm@1750rpm Transmission 6-speed manual
Likeable,comfy and spacious
Smooth magic carpet ride
Great economy and emissions
Strange, no mirror for passenger
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