What is it?
The turbocharged petrol version of the new Citroën C4 Cactus crossover. It’s without question the engine to plump for if, like us, you’ve been won over by the pragmatic charm of the new Citroën Cactus, but you’re concerned about the underlying substance.
Most of the Cactus’ failings, documented well in our full road test on the BlueHDi diesel variant, are also present in Citroën’s Puretech 110 version – but not all of them. And the ones that are present don’t seem so severe.
What's it like?
Even with 108bhp, the Cactus’ performance is only adequate – but it’s much less vulnerable to criticism than the diesel on response and flexibility. Like the BlueHDI, the Puretech feels long-geared; it splutters and threatens to stall at much below 15mph in 2nd gear, for example.
But it also pulls cleanly, evenly and fairly smoothly from around 1500rpm all way up to beyond 5000rpm, making the car easy to drive despite its long legs. Additionally, those long legs also easily deliver 45mpg in the real world, and better than 50mpg if you’re feeling thrifty.
That the engine is so much smaller and lighter than its diesel counterpart (1.2 litres, three cylinders, aluminium block versus 1.6 litres, four cylinders and an iron block) also manifests in the Cactus ride and handling, which is not only a touch more settled but also more precise.
The car’s steering is still oddly paced, and lacking in feedback and centre feel – but initial ride control is slightly better than in the diesel, and high-speed directional stability likewise.
You don’t need to correct this car as much as the diesel during a motorway cruise, and don’t find its ride so often disturbed by innocuous-looking lumps and bumps. Somehow, it’s just better sorted.
Should I buy one?
Instead of the diesel, absolutely. In the grander scheme, there are still plenty of better-driving compact crossovers than this – but with this engine, the Citroën is certainly better-mannered than our road test car.
Considering its innovative, characterful cabin and its ebullient alternative appeal, an acceptable driving experience may be all the Cactus needs to seal the deal – and acceptable, in this guise, would certainly be the way to describe it.
Citroën C4 Cactus Puretech 110 Flair
Price £17,190; 0-62mph 9.3sec; Top speed 117mph; Economy 60.1mpg; CO2 107g/km; Kerbweight 1190kg; Engine 3 cyls in line, 1199cc, turbocharged petrol; Power 108bhp at 5500rpm; Torque 151lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox 5-speed manual