Citroen C4 Cactus Hatchback Special Edition Leasing
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It’s stylish, relatively comfortable and remarkably cheap to run. The 109bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine is strong and smooth.
The ride can be crashy on poorly surfaced roads and Citroen has loaded too many features on to the touch-screen system.
The Citroen C4 Cactus isn’t perfect, but if you want SUV styling in an affordable package, it’s one of your best bets.
Our favourite engine is the 109bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrol; it picks up eagerly from low revs and doesn’t mind being worked hard, although there’s a bit of a surge of power in the middle of the rev range. The 80bhp version of this engine is worth considering if you do mostly town journeys, although it feels a bit gutless on the motorway. The Blue HDi diesel is strong enough at low revs, but feels a bit wheezy at medium revs and isn’t as sweet-revving as the petrols.
Ride & Handling
The steering is light around town, and while it never provides much feedback, it weights up to provide enough reassurance when you turn in to bends. The suspension is relatively soft, so there’s plenty of body sway through tight twists and turns, although this does mean the ride is comfortable the majority of the time. That said, the Cactus can struggle over sharp-edged bumps and potholes, which tend to send jolts through the cabin.
The 109bhp 1.2 petrol engine is relatively smooth and hushed, whereas the Blue HDi diesel is coarse and gruff, so is best avoided. The manual gearshift is also disappointing, with a long and rubbery action. It’s preferable to the ETG automatic ’box, though, which causes the car to lurch between gearchanges. Some drivers may also struggle to get used to the sharp initial response when you hit the brakes. At least wind and road noise aren’t too bad compared with those of other small SUVs.
Buying & Owning
This is one of the C4 Cactus’s biggest strengths. It’s relatively cheap to buy, and even more affordable to run thanks to its impressive fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. Strong desirability should help keep resale values high, and you can still expect to get a reasonable amount off the price by haggling with your dealer. Also, those Airbump side panels don’t only look cool, they help protect the bodywork from expensive scuffs and dents.
Quality & Reliability
The C4 Cactus’s cabin is welcoming. Its dashboard is trimmed with a squidgy material, while thick padding on the door armrests also adds a touch of class. This model didn’t feature in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, although Citroen as a brand managed an average score for reliability.
Safety & Security
All versions come with plenty of standard safety kit, including six airbags, stability control and a tyre-pressure-monitoring system. Insurance body Thatcham awarded the Citroen four stars (out of five) for guarding against being stolen, with a slightly disappointing three stars for resisting being broken in to.
Behind The Wheel
Slide into the Citroen’s armchair-like driver’s seat and you immediately feel comfortable. The trouble is, you won’t stay this way for long, because the spongy material isn’t good for your posture, and adjustable lumbar support isn’t available – even as an option. Otherwise, the driving position is generally good, although the fact that the steering wheel adjusts only for height (not reach) means some drivers may struggle to get completely settled.
Space & Practicality
There’s plenty of space up front for two six-footers, and two adults will fit comfortably enough in the back. However, the optional panoramic glass roof cuts some headroom, so it’s best not to specify this if you plan to ferry around lanky teenagers. The boot is large and well shaped, although it’s a pity there’s no false floor to iron out the big lip at the entrance. The rear seats also fold as one long bench rather than the usual 60/40 split, which isn’t very convenient.
The trim levels are called Touch, Feel and Flair. Every model gets a seven-inch touch-screen system, digital radio, USB socket and cruise control. Electric front windows are also standard, but the rear ones simply pop out manually. We prefer mid-spec Feel trim, which adds air-con, Bluetooth and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, plus gloss black exterior trim and body-coloured door handles. Range-topping Flair versions have plenty of luxury kit, but they’re pretty pricey.