Citroen C4 Cactus
1.6L Flair Edition BlueHDi
From its quirky door trims to its bold design and dual tone interior, the C4 Cactus is different to most other small family cars. The plastic Airbump trims on each side of the Cactus help to prevent chips and scratches when opening doors in tight spaces. They also give the Cactus it's unique look.
Aside from its distinctive character, it’s comfortable to drive, cheap to run and promises plenty of practicality. It also has a good sized interior and boot, as well as an excellent level of basic equipment and fuel-efficient engines. There’s also lots of technology, all of which come as standard.
If you’re after a cool and quirky interior, the C4 Cactus is worth considering. There’s an easy-to-use digital instrument panel and hardly any buttons. Almost everything is in the elegant-looking touchscreen infotainment system.
The glove box is on the top of the dash and in some models it has a leather strap to open it like an old-school packing trunk. Even the door handles are straps. The back features rear push-out windows, a bit like a 1980s car, for added character.
Space is excellent for those up front, particularly in automatic models with the sofa-like layout. It’s decent for those in the back, while boot space is 358 litres which will fit a large suitcase. Not all models have split folding rear seats so look for one that does if you need a flexible space.
The C4 Cactus feels light and nimble whether in town or on the open road. It has a little body lean in corners and occasionally bounces on bumpy roads, but generally it’s impressively smooth on most road surfaces. The drive matches the fun design with a ride that’s surprisingly enjoyable.
It may look like it can go off-road but it can’t really handle more than a gravel track. Some models do have a Grip Control system, which uses traction control to maintain grip rather than all-wheel drive.
Manual models are the best for fun, while the automated manual-auto gearbox can be jerky.
All models have relatively small petrol or diesel engines and apart from the 82 hp (horsepower) petrol, they all deliver decent performance and excellent economy.
With the touchscreen infotainment, great interior space and useful Airbumps, the Cactus is remarkably good value for money. It’s also incredibly efficient. Even the worst consumption is still in the lower 60 mpg range and the best, the BlueHDI, is as high as 83 mpg.
Insurance costs are all low and you’ll pay no road tax on many of the models due to their very low CO2 emissions. Maintenance costs are also good with Citroen providing fixed price servicing.
Reliability is excellent. The only thing to report is the issue with the diesel engine’s particulate filter, which can affect all diesel cars after they've driven long journeys.
Euro NCAP only gave it four stars when it was crash tested in 2014 and it does have quite a bit of safety equipment. This includes traction control and a number of airbags, including one for the front passenger that’s mounted in the roof to free up dash space for the unique glove box.
Best for economy - 1.6 BlueHDi
Best for family - 1.2 Puretech (110 hp) Feel
Best for fun - 1.2 Puretech (110 hp)
While there are some incredible consumption figures being returned by the diesel engines, you really need to drive at least 12,000 miles per year and take regular long journeys to make them work for you.
If you’re planning on mainly making shorter journeys, go for a petrol for a smoother and quieter drive. You could try to find one of the turbo models, which still offer excellent economy.
All models have a great level of specification. If you want air con, look at the Feel trim level or above as it’s fitted as standard. There are also plenty of special edition versions to look out for. Many owners will have added some personalisation touches, so there’s lots of choice on the used market.