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Citroen C4 Cactus Review

Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus

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  • Launched in 2014
  • Family hatch
  • Petrol, Diesel
  • Launch year
    2014
  • Body type
    Family hatch
  • Fuel type
    Petrol, Diesel

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heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Funky but flawed family hatch

Best bits

  • Funky design gives scope for personalisation
  • Frugal diesel models
  • Competitively priced

Not so great

  • Not the biggest or cleverest boot 
  • Fiddly touchscreen display
  • Pop-out rear windows not great for kids

Read by

Citroen C4 Cactus Exterior

Overall verdict

Citroen C4 Cactus Interior

On the inside

Citroen C4 Cactus Front

Driving

Citroen C4 Cactus Back

How much does it cost to run

Citroen C4 Cactus Boot

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Citroën C4 Cactus is an unconventional family hatchback that has a lot of character and style, but not enough substance to make it a proper all-rounder. The iffy cabin quality, coupled with overly soft suspension and so-so driving dynamics, make it hard to recommend over a diverse range of more talented rivals."

Citroen C4 Cactus Exterior

"The Citroen C4 Cactus was the French brand's attempt to cash-in on the surging popularity of crossovers, but unlike many cookie-cutter small SUVs, this was a car that defied narrow definitions. It was stylish but cheap, a roomy family car that was very light, and put its focus on interior comfort and fresh design above all else.


It was also - despite plenty of media attention - a bit of a sales flop. The outlandish looks and vivid colour schemes proved too polarising, and it didn't have the high driving position that buyers in this segment loved.


Fast-forward to 2018, and Citroen took another stab at the Cactus, this time as a distinctive family hatchback. Firstly, the brand toned down the looks. The latest Cactus has less garish paint hues, no roof rails, and no rubber 'Airbump' protective panels in the doors. It still looks unusual, just not like a lime-coloured spaceship. 


Citroen also doubled down on comfort, with a trick new suspension setup and super padded sofa-like seats. As long as you get on with its unusual driving position, this is one of the most cosseting seats on the market. It feels like an armchair, with your legs propped up, and the memory foam-like cushions giving loads of support.


Passenger space is decent, and the cabin has some smartly finished details, and a minimal, modern look. However it's also built down to a price, with cheap materials in places, and quirks like pop-out rear windows.


Originally it was offered in three different trims: Touch, Feel, and Flair but customers wanted more standard equipment than the basic cars had, so now the Cactus is only available as the fully-loaded Flair. That gives it a higher starting price, but this trim comes with very generous standard specification and lots of safety tech.


Despite the impressive equipment haul, the C4 Cactus is very light for a five-seat family car, giving it superb fuel economy. The most efficient diesel version will achieve well over 60mpg, and even the quickest 1.2-litre turbo petrol claims an official 46.3mpg, and that's with its standard power-sapping automatic transmission.


For us though, the entry-level 1.2 petrol with a six-speed manual is the best fit with the C4 Cactus. It may be small in size, but it feels usefully quicker than its 110PS, with decent oomph in-gear, and solid refinement. It feels easier to drive smoothly than the previous five-speed manual, but the handling trails most of its rivals.


Its super-soft suspension gives the Cactus a calm, low speed ride, and it can glide over speed bumps without disturbing its passengers, but the trade-off is roly-poly cornering and poor body control. The steering is light, but too remote, and the grabby brakes and vague gearshift mean driving smoothly demands concentration.


When you combine these dynamic shortcomings with its below average boot capacity, a fiddly touchscreen infotainment system, and a four-star safety rating, the negatives start to outweigh its positives. Citroen made a stylish attempt to step outside the mainstream with the C4 Cactus, but it's destined to remain a niche car.

Ready to get your top quality Citroen C4 Cactus?

  • All cars come with a warranty
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  • All quality checked
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus

Citroen C4 Cactus

1.2 PureTech 130 Flair EAT6 5dr

  • 2020
  • 2,580 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Robins And Day Citroen Birmingham Central
  • Warwickshire, B100BT
Price:£18,950
PCP: £383.37/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £383.37, Customer Deposit: £2,842.00, Total Deposit: £2,842.50, Optional Final Payment: £6,615.00, Total Charge For Credit: £3,925.45, Total Amount Payable: £22,875.45, Representative APR: 11.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 11.9%, Excess Mileage Charge: 12.5ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus

Citroen C4 Cactus

1.6 BlueHDi Feel 5dr [non Start Stop]

  • 2016
  • 52,601 miles
  • Pentagon Peugeot Vauxhall Burton-on-Trent
  • Staffordshire, DE130DF
Price:£7,295
HP: £195.86/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £195.86, Customer Deposit: £1,094.00, Total Deposit: £1,094.25, Total Charge For Credit: £851.21, Total Amount Payable: £8,146.21, Representative APR: 8.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 4.57%

Is the Citroen C4 Cactus right for you?

The Citroen C4 Cactus is an unusual car for unusual people. The first version was a bold style statement that came in outlandish colours and turned heads wherever it went, mostly competing with compact crossovers.

 

The current model (with its toned down design) is pitched as a rival to sensible family hatchbacks that look as conservative as a stiff white collared shirt, so the Citroen is still an interesting and quirky alternative buy.


If you want your family car to have low running costs, a comfortable ride, and an affordable price (without feeling like a soulless budget option) the C4 Cactus is tailor made to fit your needs, but there are caveats.


Mainly, these are to do with the way it drives. It has light steering with an artificial, disconnected feel, grabby brakes and a notchy gearbox that isn’t very precise. The very soft suspension will also not be for everyone.

What’s the best C4 Cactus model/engine to choose?

If you want a truly distinctive design that looks like nothing else on the road, then the original Cactus will be hard to beat. It's peculiar - but never dull - although it's strange 'airbumps' are not known for their durability.


However, once you look past the aesthetics, the revised post-2018 model is a much better car, with many of its predecessors irritating kinks ironed out. The seats are more comfortable, it's quieter, with a nicer gearbox.


We like the comprehensive amount of kit in the Flair trim, but you'll save yourself a chunk of change by buying a used Feel version, and it still has all the important everyday stuff like air-con, cruise and DAB.


As for the engines, we'd avoid the entry-level PureTech 82PS petrol unless you're desperate for cheap insurance. It’s too slow to keep up with traffic outside city limits, and the turbocharged versions of the same unit are a lot more flexible and fun to drive, while still returning decent fuel economy. We'd get the 110PS car.

What other cars are similar to the Citroen C4 Cactus?

We could be flippant and say there's nothing quite like it, but that's no longer as true as it once was. It has the style and personalisation options to attract crossover buyers, but rides lower than most compact SUVs, and won't be as good for carrying luggage as cars such as the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 or SEAT Arona.


The latest model was toned down a lot (we miss you, curvy roof rails) to compete with conventional family hatchbacks, but will still stand out in a car park chock-full of Vauxhalls Astras, Volkswagen Golfs and Skoda Octavias.

While they are less interesting, all of those models have fewer compromises than the Citroen is saddled with.


As a used buy, the Kia Soul checks a lot of the same boxes as the Cactus, with interesting looks, a spacious cabin and loads of standard kit. It's not as softly-sprung as the Citroen, but the cabin feels more robust, and it comes with a seven-year warranty from new that's transferable to multiple owners, for total peace of mind.

Learn more

Citroen C4 Cactus Interior

On the inside

Citroen C4 Cactus Front

Driving

Citroen C4 Cactus Back

How much does it cost to run

Citroen C4 Cactus Boot

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Is Citroen C4 Cactus a good car?

The Cactus is deliberately different from most cars in its class. It’s designed to look good, but also be simple and light, making it cheap to run and affordable to buy. How you feel about its looks will be a big factor in your wanting to buy one, but it does demand a few sacrifices too.

Russell Campbell

Answered by

Russell Campbell

Is the Citroen C4 Cactus a reliable car?

Citroen as a brand doesn’t enjoy the best reputation for reliability, and the C4 Cactus seems to follow that trend, with owners reporting a glitchy infotainment system. Some cars have had issues with the automatic gearbox too, and even pieces of bumper trim coming unstuck.

heycar editorial team

Answered by

heycar editorial team

Is the Citroen C4 Cactus an SUV?

The C4 Cactus is a crossover rather than an SUV so it competes with the likes of the Peugeot 2008 and Nissan Juke, although it looks more hatchback than SUV compared to its main rivals.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

Is the Citroen C4 Cactus a 4x4?

Despite the funky off-road styling and tall ride height, the Cactus is only available with front-wheel drive. It can be specified with ‘Grip Control’ however, a five stage traction control system paired with all season tyres that will help when tackling tricky weather conditions.

heycar editorial team

Answered by

heycar editorial team

What is the difference between a C4, C4 Cactus and C4 Picasso?

So this is obviously confusing, but let us try and explain. At first there was just the C4, which was a family hatchback to rival the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, and even had sporty versions called the VTS and VTR. Then Citroen added the C4 badge to its roomy Picasso, a people carrier that came with either five or seven seats (now called SpaceTourer). Finally, the brand took advantage of the compact SUV craze, and launched the new C4 Cactus, a bespoke model.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

Reviews of similar cars

Quality checked, all cars less than 8 years old and warranty included

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