Citroën has re-engineered its C4 Cactus hatchback with new, comfort-oriented suspension, revamped Airbump styling and a flagship 128bhp petrol engine. Prices start from £17,265 and first deliveries are due in April.
The range kicks off with the 81bhp 1.2-litre petrol-engined Feel Edition, priced at £700 below the 109bhp Feel. The cheaper, lower-powered car will only be available until the end of May, before the Puretech 110 Feel becomes the range's entry point, priced at just under £18,000.
The range is topped out by the 98bhp BlueHDi Flair diesel, at £20,895, although the most powerful model is the 128bhp Puretech 130 petrol, priced from £20,665.
Standard automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and blindspot monitor should all contribute to a bolstered safety rating from Euro NCAP, while a reversing camera, road sign recognition and keyless entry and start are also among the standard driver assistance systems.
The overhaul to the C4 Cactus 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 hatchback.
Grabbing the headlines is the European introduction of Progressive Hydraulic Cushion (PHC) suspension, which is billed as adding a "magic carpet ride", and a new design subject to 20 patent filings.
PHC adds a pair of secondary hydraulic dampers into each coil-sprung suspension corner, replacing 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.
“The new C4 Cactus is the last word in ultra-comfortable hatchbacks, giving the impression of gliding over uneven ground,” claims Citroën.