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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Dave Humphreys

Review: The Citroen C4 Cactus is one of the most comfortable cars I've ever driven

We test drive the French hatchback on Irish roads.

THIS IS THE SECOND-GENERATION Citroen C4 Cactus which has a starting price of €19,995. It is positioned to go against the big hatchback players like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

Its revamped styling sees almost every panel on the car altered and those quirky Airbumps have disappeared from the sides.

Among the changes to the look is a new interior that places a more significant emphasis on comfort. Citroen calls it the Advanced Comfort programme and it features plush seats up front that are more like an armchair than a car seat. In fact, this car is one of the most comfortable cars that I have ever driven.

It’s not just the seats, of course, but the whole layout of the cabin and switchgear that makes driving a leisurely affair. Everything it where it should be and just the right distance too. Dials are big with crisp, clear and bright displays. Storage is great up front and in the rear and leg and head room is also great all round. 

Dave Humphreys Dave Humphreys

The interior feels fresh, young and funky and although there are some hard plastics around the cabin, the vibrant styling prevents it from feeling cheap. 

The infotainment system is a lovely size and easy to use. The only thing that is slightly annoying is that there are no buttons for the air-con, you have to use the touchscreen. Now, this is no big deal, within a week or two of driving the car you eventually stop looking for the air-con knobs and automatically hit the fan button on the screen, but it does take some getting used to.

Dave Humphreys Dave Humphreys

The bench-style seat in the rear means that three teens should fit across there comfortably. Those seats do split 60/40 and when folded the boot expands from 358 litres to 1,170 litres. The boot is a tad on the small size compared to its rivals but it will still hold plenty of shopping, a buggy, golf clubs, two large and two small suitcases – and, with the seats folded, you’ll fit a bike in there with both wheels on.

Dave Humphreys Dave Humphreys

Also adding to the comfort factor is the relatively quiet cabin with decent levels of insulation from road, engine and wind noise. Wind noise does pick up though when hitting speeds of 90km/h and above.

Another factor is a new suspension setup called Progressive Hydraulic Cushions. In some ways, it’s a modern-day version of the old hydropneumatic suspension that those of a particular vintage will recall gracing Citroens of the past. The result is a more plush ride that does really well on some of our most poorly kept roads.

Dave Humphreys Dave Humphreys

The softer springs do mean the car rolls in the corners when you push it, but the grip is great so it pulls on through no problem. This can make for some great fun along the back roads, if that’s what you are into. 

The steering is light, as is the car, making manoeuvring and parking a breeze, and whilst I usually like my steering to have a bit more weight to it, the light setup really suits the C4 Cactus. 

Dave Humphreys Dave Humphreys

I was test driving the 110hp 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol model mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine really suits the car and offers decent levels of performance (0-100km/h in 9.9 seconds) and fuel economy (combined 5.3 litres/100km). My only grip is that I found the automatic gearbox to be a bit jerky, but the manual has had better reviews. So take both versions out for a test drive if you are thinking of going for this engine.

There is also a 100hp 1.0-litre diesel option and a 130hp 1.2-litre petrol option.

Dave Humphreys Dave Humphreys

Overall, the Citroen C4 Cactus is a likeable car that majors on style and comfort. It is perfect for city driving but due to its quiet cabin and diesel option, is well-suited for those who do a lot of motorway driving too. It is also spacious and practical enough for small or young families. It drives well with decent road manners, but you can also have some fun behind the wheel if you so choose. I think for what you get it offers good value for money. 

Dave Humphreys Dave Humphreys

READ: 4 autumn road hazards and how to avoid them >

READ: Review: The all-new Audi Q3 is a smart, sophisticated SUV that drives better than most rivals >

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