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In-depth reviews

Citroën C4 Cactus hatchback (2014-2021) - Engines, drive & performance

The Citroen C4 Cactus is designed to be comfortable – something it does with aplomb

Carbuyer Rating

3.4 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.1 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Old Citroens such as the BX and the iconic 2CV and DS were set up to be comfortable first and foremost and Citroen has fitted the latest Cactus with special suspension designed to recreate those halcyon days. Called Progressive Hydraulic Cushion (PHC), it adds extra dampening at the top and bottom of the suspension travel for each wheel, so you’re less likely to feel a sharp thump if when you drive over a pothole or speed bump.

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There’s an impressive sensation of floating from one corner to the next, yet the C4 Cactus still feels composed in sharp bends, despite plenty of body lean should you drive too vigorously. Even on the standard 17-inch alloy wheels, you get big tyres that have plenty of give and the large sofa seats are unique in the class.

It’s a welcome return to the relaxing, wafting cruisers that Citroen built its reputation on. We don’t mind too much that the Cactus leans a bit in corners because it’s still good fun to drive on a winding country lane. The steering is light, making round-town driving easy.

The ‘110’ petrol and ‘100’ diesel engines are paired to six-speed gearboxes, which are good to use. The unimpressive five-speed manual gearbox was withdrawn in the 2019 update due to RDE2-compliant emissions legislation, but it wasn’t particularly satisfying to use in any case. The six-speed automatic gearbox, available with 130-badged petrol and 120-badged diesel engines, is excellent – it changes gear quickly and doesn’t lurch when doing so. The only disappointment is the rather old-fashioned nature of the gear selector, although it does introduce a proper manually operated handbrake.

Citroen C4 Cactus petrol engines

All the engines are now RDE2-complaint and feel more than up to the job of moving the Cactus. The PureTech 110 has enough power to get the Cactus from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds. Its performance also makes the Citroen more relaxing to drive. If you choose the EAT6 automatic gearbox, the 0-62mph time goes down to a brisk 8.6 seconds.

Diesel engines

The BlueHDi 100 diesel does 0-62mph in 10 seconds exactly and makes the car competent at overtaking on A-roads. Performance increases if you choose a diesel with the six-speed automatic gearbox, completing 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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