With Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension, this mid-life overhaul is one of the biggest Citroën has ever undertaken
Julian Rendell
26 October 2017

Citroën is re-engineering its C4 Cactus hatchback for launch in early 2018 with a new comfort-oriented suspension, revamped Airbump styling and a flagship 128bhp petrol engine.

The overhaul is one of the most significant mid-life changes Citroën has ever wrought on a model and will significantly change the appearance and dynamic appeal of the £16,000 hatchback.

Grabbing the headlines is the first European introduction of Progressive Hydraulic Cushion (PHC) suspension, billed as adding a "magic carpet ride" to the C4 Cactus, and a new design subject to 20 patent filings.

Citroën C4 axed to make way for C4 Cactus

PHC adds a pair of secondary hydraulic dampers into each coil-sprung suspension corner, where they replace the traditional rubber bumpstops at the top and bottom of the wheel travel.

Because the damper progressively cushions the wheel travel at the two extremes of movement, engineers have specified more comfort-oriented springs and dampers for the main job of isolating the car body from the road.

“With its unique personality, the new C4 Cactus is the last word in ultra-comfortable hatchbacks, giving the impression of gliding over uneven ground,” claims Citroën.

Autocar tested PHC last year in a C4 Cactus and praised its compliant ride and tidy steering, but cautioned that the prototype’s dive under braking needed to be brought better under control.

Comfort is a word that Citroën proudly attaches to the new Cactus, so drivers who never got on with the seats in the current car will be ecstatic to discover new chairs designed with high-density foam to maintain their shape on longer drives.

A more visually obvious change to the revamped Cactus is its subtly applied Airbumps, which have moved from their prominent bodyside positions to the side sills. “The slimline Airbumps fully encircle the body and make it the best-protected compact hatchback," says Citroën.

The reduced Airbumps, less fussy front and rear bumper mouldings and new LED headlamps largely shed the ‘tough urban car’ image that the C4 Cactus was launched with and move it into a more sophisticated-looking styling theme.

Citroën describes the new look as “flowing and well-balanced, with no aggression or one-upmanship”.

A sign that Citroën might be eyeing a slightly more rarified market position for the C4 Cactus is reinforced by the sole new engine to the range – a 128bhp petrol version of the 1.2-litre three-cyinder PureTech and available at launch only with a six-speed manual transmission.

An 80bhp 1.2 PureTech petrol is the entry engine, with a 108bhp 1.2 petrol and 98bhp 1.6 diesel the other options. A 118bhp diesel with automatic transmission arrives next summer.

Also on the equipment list are 12 driver assistance systems, such as lane departure, blindspot warning, road sign recognition and automatic emergency braking.

Related stories: 

Citroen C3 review

Citroen C4 Cactus review

Citroen C1 review

Our Verdict

Citroën C4 Cactus

Gallic quirkiness meets pragmatism in the new crossover hatchback

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Comments
23

26 October 2017
It was an interesting car when launched but with far too many flaws . Hopefully they will have added retractable rear windows which was a cost saving too far on a family car.

26 October 2017

If new suspension works - it could really become an interesting alternative.

26 October 2017

Judging by the pictures they don't appear to have added retractable rear windows. It appears they have removed all the reasons why people originally bought the Cactus - the quirky looks / differing appearance to other cars, made it look just like a C3 and so many other generic cars and likely have retained all of it's flaws. People didn't buy the Cactus for the ride, they bought it for its looks. It will go from a marmite car where a lot of people hated it, but people who loved it actually bought it, to a car where nobody hates it, but nobody is particularly enthused to actually buy it.

26 October 2017

ditto the ds4.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

26 October 2017
Gumster wrote:

Judging by the pictures they don't appear to have added retractable rear windows. It appears they have removed all the reasons why people originally bought the Cactus - the quirky looks / differing appearance to other cars, made it look just like a C3 and so many other generic cars and likely have retained all of it's flaws. People didn't buy the Cactus for the ride, they bought it for its looks. It will go from a marmite car where a lot of people hated it, but people who loved it actually bought it, to a car where nobody hates it, but nobody is particularly enthused to actually buy it.

Obviously designed and hopefully not yet signed off without fully drop down rear windows... if you have kids with car / motion sickness or ever had to clear kid sick out of your car because they could get their head out the window in time you will know what I am on about... so no sales to families, sole mothers or grandparents... also you rarely ever remove the smell so hard luck at resale time too... to quote Donald Duck... "big mistake... yes folks... big mistake"!!! 

26 October 2017

Dyane

Ami

GS

2CV

CX Family

BX

Then they got boring and stopped being fun and comfy anymore...

I think Citroen is half on the right track with this but they need to go whole heartedly in search of Citroen character and comfort again

Steam cars are due a revival.

26 October 2017

It may be a better car, but it also lost a lot of its character. Hopefully the new suspensions do what they say they do.

 

 

26 October 2017

They ar egreat second hand half price or less for one year old on most French cars although most are made in Spain.They do not last very long either re cost of mot's etc all the national service  chains say avoid .But a good deal for say £7 to 8K for a year old car is good

26 October 2017

If this delivers what it promises to, it will certainly be in the mix for me as the second car. As always, there's a Marmite reaction to it, with many Citroënistes claiming it's a retrograde step but for me, two of the major drawbacks of the current Cactus (seating and ride) appear to have been addressed. As for looks, well it's not bad; I'd call it quite handsome, even if it's not as distinctive as the current model - for me, that's no bad thing.

Still waiting patiently for a nice big new C5 estate for the 1st car though.

26 October 2017
And hello to ones that may well fully encircle the car but will not stop a trolley or rear car door (as most dings are caused by trolleys and kids opening doors) causing a dent. There is now very little to no point getting one of these. A shame.

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