2020 Citroën C4 Cactus review

2020 Citroën C4 Cactus review quirky Citroen 2CV, and C4 Cactus, first launched in 2014. Trouble is, it wasn’t that popular with buyers. So, fast forward four years and

the C4 Cactus has had its styling readressed and it’s repositioned to compete with the likes of the Skoda Octavia, and… It’s a vast improvement!

2020 Citroën C4 Cactus review

It’s trademark paint protecting air bumps have shrunk and most of the grey plastic cladding that adorned the previous car has gone too. On the inside there are still some unusual

touches, such as the square bottom steering wheel, bulbous air vents, and strange shaped handbrake lever. Keep watching to see if the C4 Cactus

has the dynamic ability to match it’s more mature looks, and remember if at the end of this review you are thinking about buying one.First though, let’s take it for a drive.

There’s a choice of either a 1.6 diesel or a 1.2 petrol with 3 power guises. There’s the least powerful, which is the 82 PureTech petrol model, and it’s quite

weedy so it’s definitely not our first choice. Then the most powerful is the 130 PureTech petrol model and although that has a lot more power it’s

quite expensive to buy. So our favourite is the 110 PureTec petrol, which is what we’re testing today, and it has the right blend o performance and economy.

It’s turbocharged, so picks up well from lo revs, and it’s got enough oomph to hold its own at motorway speeds. All three petro engines are quieter and smoother than the diesel too.

You can have the 110 PureTech with either an automatic or manual gearbox, we prefer the manual because it offers better acceleration, and the

automatic can be a tad slow to change gear. If you’re really after an auto, then you’d be better off with the dual clutch system in a Volkswagen Golf or Skoda Octavia.

The C4 has been given fairly soft suspension which is intended to give the car a comfortable ride over broken surfaces, so it might come as a

surprise to learn that the Cactus isn’t all that comfortable… Over large imperfections, it crashes and shimmies and even under light acceleration the

setup causes the body to just pitch back and forth, which, ultimately if you want to be comfortable a Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia are definitely more

capable in this department. The seat comes with adjustable lumbar support, which at What Car?, we love. Although there’s plenty of adjustment in

the seat and steering wheel, not everyone will find a comfortable driving position because the seat base is so soft, it kind of puts your legs into an elevated

position, you almost feel like you’re trying to drive while sitting on your sofa, if you get the picture. In terms of visibility, forward visibility is

excellent, and it’s only really obstructed by the ‘A’ and ‘B’ pillars, depending on where your seating position is. Out the back, not quite so good, which

is not uncommon for a family hatchback. Great news though, you do get parking sensors as standard, and if you go for the range-topping ‘Flare’ model, you also

get a reversing camera. Although th Cactus interior does have some nea touches, such as this flip up glovebox lid. What we can’t overlook though, is

the hard scratchy plastic which just doesn’t match rivals interior quality. Whichever C4 Cactus you go for, you do get this smart looking 7-inch

touchscreen, which although is not the most responsive we’ve tried, you do get DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The C4 has arguably one of the most

striking interiors in its class, but it is perhaps, not as practical as you might expect. We do have some useful storage compartments including this flip up

glovebox, which I can pop a banana and some healthy snacks in, and a lot more, because it’s a decent size. We’ve got two cupholders, and a fairly decent-sized

door bin, and some more storage here, and in terms of head and legroom. Well, it’s fairly average in class, but let’s check out the back seats.

The rear bench is more narrow than both the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia, so to fit three adults side-by-side in the back is going to prove quite cramped.

In terms of headroom, well it’s quite squishy and I’m only 5ft 4 1/2in, so six-footers will feel really quite squashed in the

back here, and then when you combine that with these very old-fashioned opening windows which I remember on my Citroen AX GT many years ago, rear seat

passengers might feel that they are keen to escape, and not do a long journey. On a plus point though, there is plenty of storage here because the door bins are really good size.

Not only that but the back seats don’t slide backwards and forwards, they just fold on a standard 60/40 split, and when they do, there’s quite a sizeable step. There’s also no

false floor, and if there was it would eradicate this large load lip, which can make loading heavier bulkier items in and out quite laborious. In terms of

overall size it’s reasonable, but the Skoda Octavia is bigger. We managed to squeeze 6 suitcases into the C4 Cactus and a whopping 11 in the Octavia.

The Citroen C4 Cactus is affordable to buy, it’s good value, and Citroen dealers are giving generous discounts. In terms of running costs even the 110 PureTech

petrol model we’re testing today will return 50mpg if driven considerately. All trim levels come with a generous amount of equipment

including air-con and cruise control. You’ll have to stump up the most cash for ‘Flair’ trim, but this does add a built-in sat-nav, and important active

safety systems such as Automatic Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning. However the Cactus interior, trim, and infotainment system, aren’t up there

with alternatives from SEAT, Skoda, and Volkswagen, and it doesn’t match them for handling and driving experience either. That said this car will appeal to thos

whose priorities are: an affordable price, low running costs and, avant-garde styling. Just make sure you can live with its foibles before committing to buy

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