What is it?
The Citroën C4 Cactus is the French manufacturer’s idea of a crossover. It features ‘UFO’ front styling reminiscent of the latest C4 Picasso but has the proportions of a conventional C-segment hatchback, apart from slightly higher suspension.
Trademark Airbumps are the main visual feature. Their mission is to protect the side panels from bumps from supermarket trolleys or other car’s doors. They are made from two plastic cushions, with air encapsulated between them.
We went to a supermarket car park to try this and can report that it works, as long as the stray trolley hits the Airbumps spot-on. There are still some exposed areas of the side panels where this protection doesn’t reach.
The C4 Cactus is not based on the same platform as regular C4s, nor the new EMP2 used by its cousin, the Peugeot 308. It is based on Platform 1, which underpins the Citroën C3. No wonder Citroën claims that the C4 Cactus is 200kg lighter than C4 – 175kg of those come from using a stretched smaller platform. At 4157mm long, it sits between C3’s 3941mm and C4’s 4329mm.
There is no four-wheel drive system available as an option, just the regular front-wheel drive, but there is a choice of manual or robotised manual gearboxes.
You cannot make any Citroën company representative use the words ‘low cost’ when talking about C4 Cactus. But there are a number of features that make the production cost less, which we’ll come to later. Citroën prefers to talk about things like “design to value” or “bring customers more of what really matters.”
We tried a left-hand-drive C4 Cactus, the e-HDI 92 Airdream ETG6 version, in a top-of-the-range equipment level called Shine. The other two trims are the entry-level Live and the intermediate Feel.
This variant uses the latest version of the well-known 1.6-litre four cylinder, common rail diesel, with injection pressure of 1600 bar, 7-hole injectors and a fixed geometry turbocharger.