Years ago it would have been unthinkable that a petrol engine could match diesel for economy but the company’s admirable 110hp triple is one of the best.
True, it’s not that powerful with 205Nm from 1,500rpm and it can become noisy when excited, but kept within its aural and speed limits it is a mighty fine motor.
It needs to be stirred along through its five gears if you want to get a move on, but adopt a more French laissez faire attitude to a journey and it rewards with very good economy and acceptable ability.
The engine throbs when you start, pulls easily and with a buzz on the move and you have a light clutch and long swing gearchange in the five-speed model we tested this time. Match this ability to keep up with free-flowing traffic in town and its light steering, good brakes and you have a very city-friendly car with good agility for parking in tight spaces.
I liked the way it all came together without any fuss in heavy traffic, could be slotted into spaces or turned around in a car busy car park.
The secondary controls were also simple and clear, well placed and worked well with some basic instruments not well marked but also easy to read directly infront of the driver.
The straightforward heating and ventilation win over users very easily and for those with the tech the infotainment is adaptable to mobiles and quickly linked up. The central display is reasonably sized and very clear.
Oddments space is where the C4 Cactus really comes into its own with fascia, door bins, console trays and seat back pockets. It’s an ideal family car. If you want to use the boot behind offset split back seats you have a reasonably good capacity that triples with seats folded down infront of a modest rear sill.
Access for driver and passengers is good and the seats are very comfortable for a small car with adequate adjustment settings possible.
I liked the driving position and the visibility through glass, wipers and over lights not being restricted by blindspots.
Noises are constant from the suspension and tyres, only added to with a busy engine when extended, but wind and transmission sounds were muted.
Delightful as it is around town and on secondary country roads, the C4 Cactus can hold its own on a motorway but struggles on busy main roads if you want to overtake. It demands more of a driver to observe, anticipate and execute an overtake with plenty of time to spare.
If you’re never rushing, the C4 Cactus is rewarding, mostly at the fuel pump where its showed we had averaged a little over 50mpg on test.
Those country roads can make the C4 Cactus sway and roll in the style, if not to the extent, of a 2CV of old but on today’s potholed passages which are often referred to as highways, it is a very comfortable car soaking up the surfaces beneath.
It is a very practical and useful car for a family and it does not have the ungainly bulk of many small or compact MPVs but it can carry a lot without complaint and in comfort. That surely makes it a winner for many.
|FAST FACTS||Citroen C4 Cactus Flair PureTech 110 £19,990, as tested £22,390|
|Insurance Group: 16||Mechanical:110hp 3cyl 1199cc turbo-petrol, 5sp man|
|Max Speed: 122mph||0-62mph: 9.2 sec|
|Combined MPG: 50.3 on test||C02 emissions:104gkm, £145FY £140SR|
|Bik rating: 21%||Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles|
|Sizes:L4.17m, W1.98m, H1.48m Bootspace:358 – 1170 litres Kerb:1045kg|
|For: Highly economical, acceptable performance, very comfortable, roomy, easy handling, very good oddments space
Against: Engine struggled with load and noisy when pressed, needed 6thgear, with constant road noise.