It’s not that it looks bad – it doesn’t – it’s just that it's lost a bit of the charm that made its predecessor unique and likeable.
But we’re not just here to discuss looks: we’re here to find out how the C4 Cactus deals with the UK’s notoriously battered roads - especially now it has Citroën’s ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushions’ suspension and Advanced Comfort seats.
We’re driving the top-of-the range Puretech 130 Flair edition here, which pairs a turbocharged, 128bhp three-cylinder petrol engine with a six-speed manual transmission to send its power to the front wheels.
What's it like?
That engine is one of the C4 Cactus’ most likeable features. Its 170lb ft of torque is available from just 1750rpm courtesy of its turbocharger, meaning there’s a good deal of low-down shove to get you up to speed in a timely manner.
There’s an endearing three-cylinder soundtrack that accompanies any bursts of acceleration, too, which doesn’t become aurally unpleasant as you reach the upper climbs of the rev-band. Overall, it’s a refined and characterful powerplant that’s barely audible once you’ve settled down to a cruise.
This is a good thing, because cruising is where the C4 Cactus is most in its element. Citroën wasted no time in conveying the idea that this is a car developed with comfort in mind, and the driving experience is largely in line with that goal. The Advanced Comfort seats are akin to a well-cushioned armchair in that they’re large, flat and very soft. Then there’s the trick new suspension.
It works by adding a pair of hydraulic stops on each suspension unit, replacing the mechanical bump stops that are usually found alongside the standard springs and shock absorbers. Where the mechanical stops normally absorb and then return energy created during a large impact as rebound, the hydraulic stops instead absorb and then dissipate this energy as heat, theoretically making for a less jarring ride.
It sounds impressive, and for the most part it works well. Around town and on the motorway, the Citroën soaks most imperfections in the road up without breaking a sweat, while its ride remains composed.
Fast, bumpier country roads can undo this a touch, though, with that softer, more forgiving set-up giving way to vertical body travel over undulations and lean through corners. Added to overly light, vague steering and a woolly, imprecise manual gearchange, the C4 Cactus isn’t a car that wows with its dynamic abilities, but then that was never really part of its remit.