This week sees the launch of the all new Citroën C4 Cactus in Irish showrooms. The car will replace two models in the Citroën range – the original Cactus and the C4 hatchback.
The original Cactus raised eyebrows when it first arrived with its quirky ‘Airbump’ technology and marked the beginning of a bold new era of design for the brand.
While not gone altogether, the new C4 Cactus employs a much more subtle take on the Airbumps which will no doubt help to widen its appeal as it enters the competitive C-segment. Although some will mourn their demise, there’s no denying that the new design is a lot less divisive than the original.
With less going on around the edges, it appears somewhat bigger now, despite being almost identical in size to the original. The slitty-eyed headlights have been integrated into the new wraparound chevron grille, again giving it a more sophisticated feel. A choice of nine exterior colours and four different colour packs will still allow customers to show a bit of personality.
Aside from the redesign, the focus is very much on comfort and the new C4 Cactus benefits from Citroën’s new advanced comfort programme. It marks a European premiere for the brand’s new suspension system which features Progressive Hydraulic Cushions and a world first for its new advanced comfort seats.
The combination of the two make for an impressively smooth ride that made short work of Kildare’s bumpy byroads on our test drive last week, and alongside the improvements to sound insulation, gave the ride a surprisingly premium feel.
There’s a choice of two three-cylinder 1.2l petrol engines to choose from in the 5 speed Puretech 110 (also available in automatic) or the 6 speed Puretech 130. Both pack a lot of punch, particularly when you take fuel economy into account with a claimed figure of 4.8l per 100km from the latter and a 0-100kmph time of just 8.2 seconds.
For the heavier road users there’s the well-trusted 1.6l HDi diesel which will do an incredible 76 miles to the gallon (3.7l/100km). Citroën expect this to outsell the petrol models by about five per cent. The innovative weight-saving technology that has long been a feature of Cactus prevails and helps to keep CO2 emissions low across the board. No model in the range costs more than €200 to tax.
Changes inside have been less dramatic and the interior retains much of the original Cactus’s charm with the luggage strap door handles and ‘top box’ glovebox. It’s also equally as spacious, with plenty of room to carry four adults in comfort and a generous boot capacity of 358 litres.
The main update to the cabin has been the addition of the advanced comfort seats which offer extra bolstering and support. The low set dash design houses a fully digital instrument cluster and seven inch touchscreen infotainment system.
These are standard features on the mid-spec Feel model which also adds Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Google maps and a reversing camera. 17 inch wheels and privacy glass complete what is a very attractive package and this trim is expected to make up the majority of sales here.
For the safety-conscious, the top-spec Flair trim adds a host of driver assisting features including emergency braking, lane departure warning, and traffic sign recognition. It also gets Satellite Navigation, push button start and a colour pack that allows you to add pops of colour on the body (available as an option on Feel).
On first impressions, Citroën look to have hit a sweet spot here between the charm and space of the Cactus and the comfort of the C4. The extra ground clearance and eye-catching design is sure to give it a competitive advantage against the Golfs and Focuses it will now compete with in the C-segment, as no doubt, will the entry price of just €19,995.
The C4 Cactus goes on sale on 10 May at Citroën dealers nationwide. Stay tuned for a full video review and test drive coming soon.