The Citroen C4 Cactus is very comfortable and has a stylish interior, but you may miss the wackier looks of the old model
The Citroen C4 Cactus is a stylish small family car that’s more comfortable than the likes of the Renault Captur and Nissan Juke, but it looks more mainstream than the previous model and isn’t as spacious and practical as some of the alternatives.
When Citroen launched the original C4 Cactus back in 2014, it was genuinely unique, a model that didn’t look like any other Citroen, let alone anything from another car maker. Its flat face, novel light layout and door-mounted Airbumps (plastic cladding that warded off chips and scrapes) made it stand out in any car park, but when this revised version of the car appeared in 2018, many of those stand-out features were toned down and, in some cases, gone completely.
However, it’s still a distinctive car that allows plenty of personalisation. Not only is there a wide range of body colours to choose from, you can also add various combinations of coloured highlights, alloy wheels and roof bars to make your Cactus very much your car.
Inside, though, the 2018 update brought in far less change, and the slick, minimalist dashboard, free-standing touchscreen infotainment system and upwards-opening glovebox make it feel more special than most small family cars. You even get seats with a special foam filling that Citroen claims makes then more comfortable than ever.
As a result, you’ll have no trouble getting comfy, and the Cactus’ relatively high roof means you get plenty of headroom – even if you’re very tall. The rear seat is wide enough for three adults to sit side-by-side without fighting over elbow room, but anyone over six feet tall will find the headroom tight, especially if you fit the optional panoramic sunroof.
The Cactus can carry a reasonable amount of luggage, too, but its high boot lip does make loading very heavy items more difficult than in other family cars. Thankfully, there’s still space in the boot for a baby buggy and you can fit in a bike once you’ve folded the back seats down, although they don’t sit completely flat.
The C4 Cactus’ name might suggest it’s some kind of prickly desert-bound off-roader but in fact it’s a comfortable and economical two-wheel-drive family car
If you plan on regularly filling the rear seats and boot – or doing plenty of long journeys – you should consider a diesel engine. The BlueHDi model will have no trouble pulling you and four friends up a steep hill and it’s fast enough to keep up with motorway traffic.
Spend more time driving in town? Then, pick a petrol engine instead. The mid-range 110hp unit gives the best balance of performance and running costs, but you should avoid the cheaper 82hp version, which simply isn’t quick enough.
Whichever engine you pick, the C4 Cactus will be comfortable to drive. Other than the most basic Feel Edition, every model comes with a clever suspension system that helps it iron out potholes better than almost any other small car. You also get thick glass in the windows and windscreen to help keep down wind noise at speed.
The car is also pretty relaxing to drive around town. Its raised ride height gives you a good view out and the fairly light controls help you fight your way through traffic and squeeze into tight parking spaces without breaking into a sweat.
Despite what you may think, though, no Cactus comes with the option of four-wheel drive. If you do need to take your Cactus away from Tarmac, consider the optional Grip Control system – an advanced traction control system that comes with all-season tyres and gives the car some degree of ability off-road.
Pick a top-spec Flair model and you’ll also get all the latest high-tech equipment to keep you safe, including automatic emergency city braking that’ll help stop the car quickly if it senses an obstacle ahead.
All in all, this makes the C4 Cactus a well-rounded family car that’s certainly worth a look if you want to stand out from the crowd without sacrificing everyday practicality.
For a more detailed look at the car, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. Or, to see what sort of offers are available on the C4 Cactus, look at our deals page.