Citroen C4 Cactus (2014 - present)

Citroen hopes that its eccentric but comfortable C4 Cactus appeals to more people than it puts off

Strengths & Weaknesses


Individuality: it looks like nothing else on the road
Comfortable uspension copes well with Britain's rutted Tarmac
Efficient engine line-up


Some materials inside the car feel cheap
Jerky automatic gearbox
Touchscreen an be awkward to use when driving

The C4 Cactus marks the return of Citroen to its golden era of the 1960s and 70s when it pioneered quirky design that worked better than anything else on the market.

The lumpy-looking C4 Cactus is unlike any other car on the road. It’s higher than family hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus and VW Golf, but not as tall as crossovers like the Vauxhall Mokka X. Inside, the interior is sparse, creating a unique airiness.

The most distinctive feature are the car’s plastic airbumps on the doors and bumpers, which are designed to reduce the dents and scratches caused by runaway supermarket trolleys and erratic car park door openings.

The deformable plastic panels are available in a variety of colours and can be specified to blend in with the paintwork for a slick overall appearance or dramatically contrast with eye-popping results.

There are plenty of clever elements inside too. The top-opening glovebox, for example, has been fashioned to look like expensive luggage, while the doors feature leather pulls rather than conventional metal handles.

Most dashboard buttons have been left out, as a touchscreen is used to control ventilation, music and sat-nav. It makes the cabin look far more expensive than the £12,990 starting price suggests but can be fussy and unwieldy to use on the move.

On the road, the C4 Cactus favours comfort over hair-raising performance and the noticeable amount that it leans in corners highlights this. The suspension has been set up to iron out imperfections in the road surface, rather than scythe round corners.

The C4 Cactus is 200kg lighter than the C4 hatchback upon which it is based, which means customers have to put up with 'pop-out' rear windows, no reach adjustment on the steering wheel and slightly cheap-feeling plastics on the inside, but it does make the car more fuel efficient.

The light steering makes parking the car in tight spaces much easier, but cornering feel less precise and agile. Citroen knows that there are a large number of buyers simply uninterested in performance and high cornering speeds.

The sense of calm isn’t helped, though, by the five-speed automatic gearbox. The engines demand frequent gearchanges to provide adequate power, and this can result in lots of noisy engine revs, particularly from diesels.

The five or six-speed automatic gearboxes don't fare much better, either because they are often slow to react when you push the accelerator, and clunky when changing gears.

Last Updated 

Friday, September 16, 2016 - 15:00

Key facts 

3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
358 litres
1946mm (including mirrors)
From A (free) to B (free in first year and £20 thereafter)

Best Citroen C4 Cactus for... 

Citroën C4 Cactus Feel BlueHDi 100 S&S manual
The larger capacity diesel engine is by far the most economical out of the range, returning an impressive 91.1mpg on the combined cycle and emitting a tax-friendly 82g/km of CO2.
itroen C4 Cactus Feel PureTech 110 S&S manual
This nippy petrol engine offers a great blend of fuel economy and performance. It's also quieter under acceleration and the Feel trim level keeps overall cost down.
Citroen C4 Cactus Flair Edition PureTech 82 S&S ETG
A relatively weedy petrol engine and erratic automatic gearbox don't make the best pairing and the Flair Edition trim level is expensive.

Citroen C4 Cactus History 

  • 2014 The C4 Cactus goes into production and receives praise from across the board for its bold styling and comfortable drive. 
  • 2016 Three new trim levels are added to the range: Flair Edition, Rip Curl and W. The majority feature mild upgrades on interior and exterior styling but the Rip Curl edition adds all-weather tyres and a Grip Control traction system that helps the car tackle snow, mud and ice.

Understanding Citroen C4 Cactus car names 

  • C4 Cactus
  • Trim level
  • Engine
    Blue HDI 100
  • Gearbox
    5-Speed manual
  • Trim level
    There are six trims in total (Touch, Feel, Flair, Rip Curl, W and Flair Edition). Each higher level typically means more equipment and a larger price
  • Engine
    Both diesel and petrol engines are offered. The one diesel engine is labelled BlueHDi and the petrol counterparts are referred to as PureTech. The number is the engine's horsepower, which is also known as PS.
  • Gearbox
    5-speed shows that the car has five gears. Automatic gearboxes are known by the letters ETG.

Citroen C4 Cactus Engines 

PureTech 75, PureTech 82, PureTech 110, BlueHDi 100

Thanks to its lightweight frame, the C4 Cactus gets away with using numerous low-capacity petrol and diesel engines, which manage to offer acceptable performance and excellent running costs.

The most powerful unit is a 1.6-litre diesel, which is the one to plump for if you're looking for pulling power, but it definitely isn't the quietest in the range. In fact, it can make a bit of a racket under hard acceleration.

A surprisingly tiny 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine would be our choice, as this 110hp unit is powerful enough to propel the light frame of the C4 Cactus to 62mph from a standstill in 9.3 seconds (the speediest in the range), yet has an official fuel economy of 65.7mpg (expect this to drop closer to 50mpg in real-world driving).

For those wanting a cut-price inner-city run-around, the petrol engine is offered in less powerful versions (75hp and 82hp), which are cheaper to buy. Only the PureTech 75 with a manual five-speed gearbox is available in the cheapest Touch trim level. 




0 - 62mph

Top speed

PureTech 75






PureTech 82






PureTech 110






Blue HDi 100






Citroen C4 Cactus Trims 

Touch, Feel Flair, Rip Curl, W and Flair Edition

Kicking off the line-up is the most basic Touch trim level, which is only available with the entry-level PureTech 75 petrol engine. It features LED daytimes running lights, the Airbump technology and the seven-inch touchscreen display inside but it comes fitted with basic 15-inch alloy wheels and it lacks many of the technological driver aids of more expensive models.

In fact, you don't even get a rear parcel shelf, Bluetooth mobile phone pairing isn't part of the infotainment package and the driver doesn't get the handy front armrest that runs along the centre of the vehicle.

Those wanting slightly more luxurious surrounds must step up to Feel, which opens up the entire range of engines, as well as adding fog lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, body coloured door handles, gloss mirrors, air conditioning and mobile phone connectivity for hands-free calls and music streaming.

Better still, all current Feel models also receive split folding rear seats, which are particularly handy for carting around awkward cargo.

Flair cranks the stylistic elements up a notch and adds eye-catching 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, heated door mirrors, a front armrest, auto lights and wipers, sat-nav and a colour reversing camera with rear parking sensors.

Rip Curl sees bespoke details from the famous surf brand added, as well as aluminium effect front and rear bumper protectors, orange interior highlights and the aforementioned Grip Control traction technology.

Flair Edition adds the same thermally insulated panoramic sunroof as the one found on the Rip Curl edition but takes a slightly more chic approach to the interior, with black leather and grey cloth inside.

Finally, a new W edition model has recently hit the market, which is based on the range-topping Flair models but adds white door mirrors, white roof bars, unique 17-inch white ‘Cross’ alloy wheels and a Pearl White body colour, as well as Dune coloured Airbumps.

Citroen C4 Cactus Reliability and warranty 

Citroën's three-year/60,000-mile warranty is fairly standard in the automotive industry. The company has been working hard to shake off its reputation for sub-standard reliability and the simpler features of the C4 Cactus - such as pop-out rear windows should mena that there's less to go wrong.

Also, a by-product of cutting 200kg from its weight compared to the Citroen C4 hatchback - with which it shares mechanical parts - is that consumables, such as the brake pads and tyres, should function better for longer.

Used Citroen C4 Cactus 

Citroen's tend to lose a lot of value quickly and the C4 Cactus continues this trend. It's expected to be worth just a third of its list price after three years.

It's good news for those looking to secure a used car bargain, as mid-range low-mileage examples can be found for less than £9,000. 

List price

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