The suspension 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 car also gets a revised front end with extra chrome and a prominent Citroën double-chevron badge designed to look more upmarket.
What impact does the C4's suspension make on the ride?
The C4 Cactus has always been a tricky car to position against rivals. Despite Citroen’s earlier insistence that the Cactus’ sibling, the C4, had a place alongside it, it has now confirmed that the C4 Cactus will replace the ageing C4, at least in the mid-term, with a new C4 likely due in 2020. So, for now, traditional hatchbacks such as a Peugeot 308 or Volkswagen Golf are its most obvious rivals, though given its very slightly elevated ride height, there’s crossover (see what I did there) with compact SUVs, too.
We’re driving the three-cylinder 1.2-litre 128bhp unit, the Puretech 130, with six-speed manual, which is already used in many PSA Group cars including the C3 Aircross and Peugeot 308, but only makes its debut on the C4 Cactus now. There are two more engine choices: the lesser-powered 108bhp Puretech 110 is likely to be the biggest seller in the UK, and there’s also a 98bhp BlueHDi 100 diesel.
The most notable change are the Progressive Hydraulic Cushions, intended to absorb and dissipate energy from bumps so there’s no rebound. In truth, that claim is a stretch – in bad, speed-bump-ridden urban situations, there was still plenty of impact, particularly on the rear axle. But, broadly speaking, this revised Cactus C4 is definitely more floaty than the last, making it a comfortable, soft ride for the majority of our test road, which harks back to what old Citroens, such as the CX, were known for.
It still doesn’t feel damped as effectively as a VW Golf but it does have a character of its own (and one that will appeal to plenty of people) which is commendably rare in the family hatchback class. That swafty sensation also means more body rolls than other hatchbacks around corners.
Another floaty element: the steering. Citroens aren’t known for their direct, accurate steering, and this one’s no different. The C4 Cactus has vague though pleasantly light steering, but does need plenty of input on anything other than dead straight road, something you don’t find in a Golf and, to a lesser extent, in a Peugeot 308.
Tallied with glitchy gear changes, particularly lower down the range, it’s not awfully intuitive for tricky urban driving, but higher up the gears, there’s a pleasant sweep from fourth to fifth to sixth.
Performance is more than sufficient with this new 128bhp addition to the range, which achieves 0-62mph in 8.7sec. There was less torque from go than expected for a punchy 128bhp three-cylinder, but it held its own on a varied route and was never left wanting. That said, we also tried the 108bhp Puretech 110 and there was little discernable difference between the two - given the latter's almost a grand cheaper, it's worth trying.
Noise from that 128bhp engine and elsewhere was also minimal: another desired effect from Citroen as it attempts to make a person’s time in a Citroen as calm and relaxing as possible under its Advanced Comfort badge.