Living with the Citroen Cactus SUV: road test and review – Central Queensland news

PASSION. It’s defined as “any type of powerful or compelling feeling or feeling, as enjoy or hate.”

Well, Citroen’s brand-new C4 Cactus should be the metallic four-wheeled form of passion, as I can easily believe of no others vehicle attracting such an outpouring of polarised opinions. Throughout my near month-long tenure along with two Cactus (Cacti?) variants, co-workers, family, friends and strangers bestowed joy, love, confusion and vitriolic hatred on the small SUV. Good. That’s means it’s a appropriate Citroen.
2016 Citroen Cactus. Photo: Contributed2016 Citroen Cactus. Photo: Contributed

The vehicle maker has actually been at the forefront of quirky design and innovation for decades, tramping its own course on just what a vehicle ought to look like, exactly how it functions and behaves. Historically there have actually been winners – see the 2CV, DS and CX as prime examples – however in recent years, much more conservative buyers and products not actually hitting the mark have actually seen Citroen fall from favour.

But along with the small SUV class snowballing, Citroen has actually strike this red hot segment (popular along with the young, families and style-conscious empty nesters alike) along with its standout Cactus, coated in distinctive Airbumps, of striking shape and design, and available in a host of vibrant colours: it holds two French fingers up to the proliferation of “safe” vehicle designs.
2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.

Two models are available, the cheaper at $26,990 a three-cylinder petrol along with manual gearbox, or for $29,990 there’s a four-cylinder diesel along with semi-automatic gearbox. You’re stuck along with that format too. No full automatic version is available, nor can easily you option both available cars along with an alternate cog swapper. We Aussies enjoy an auto gearbox much more compared to most, so the funky Cactus is already at a disadvantage to its much more mainstream “option just what you like” rivals.

I’d imagine Cactus shoppers are in it to be various though, or are so smitten by the styling they’ll think about no others model. I love these people. They’re the kind that expect see and being seen in their choice of striking car, and will certainly established enthusiast owners’ clubs in the future. You can’t actually say that of Toyota Camry drivers.
2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Iain Curry2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Iain Curry Iain Curry

My Cactus test began along with the pricier diesel model along with semi-auto gearbox. This version offers 68kW and 230Nm, meaning progression is hardly swift along with 100kmh reached in 11.4 seconds. however you won’t be buying one for performance. The headline figure here is a fuel economy figure of simply 3.6L/100km, and unlike some hybrid cars that quote even thriftier figures from lab examinations which can’t be repeated on the road, my 800km Cactus diesel test returned a pretty fantastic 4.4L/100km. I don’t believe I’ve ever returned a auto along with such a reasonable number.

The frugal figures are helped by the Cactus’ reasonable kerb weight (1020kg petrol and 1055kg diesel), aided by the semi-automatic gearbox as opposed to a heavier full auto. It comes at a cost however. The semi-auto does away along with a clutch pedal and it will certainly self-shift, however the diesel Cactus only actually modifications gear in a smooth means if you lift off the throttle momentarily (as you would certainly in a manual) and up-shift using the steering wheel paddles.
2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Iain Curry2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Iain Curry Iain Curry

Left to its own devices the Cactus kills revs for a pretty long time between gear shifts, after that lurches uncomfortably as it finds the next gear. It’s at its worst as soon as attempting to grab a quick getaway or between very first and second gears, however you do learn to adjust your driving style to suit. It undoubtedly benefits gentle throttle input, which can easily only recommendations your fuel usage.

The rest of the drive is far much more agreeable. There’s ample torque from the turbo diesel as soon as it’s up to speed, and it cruises blissfully for a small SUV on the highway. The drive itself isn’t thrilling, however enjoyment comes from taking it to town, parking it outside your favorite hipster coffee bar and watching as people grab the smartphones out, peer in for a closer look, and even risk a cheeky squeeze of the body’s Airbumps.
2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.

Ah, the Airbumps. These are the moulded panels of plastic air bubbles seen along the Cactus’ bumpers and flanks, which are available in a range of colours to contrast along with the metal physique panels. Primarily there to stay away from vehicle parks dings, they unashamedly include the unconventional however smart suggestion that defines true Citroenness.

They likewise offer ammunition to the haters. I had a hard time to leave my job vehicle park for 15 minutes one night, as armchair experts vented their opinions on the Cactus’ design. Stupid, ugly, brilliant, beautiful; I heard it all. however above all, people were fascinated. They wanted to prod it, feel it, climb in it, already know every one of regarding it; and that’s such a rare thing these days.

It’s undoubtedly not every one of style-focused either. As standard you grab a seven-inch touchscreen, sat nav, digital radio, rear view camera, “Magic Wash” wiper system which is incredibly good, cruise control, auto climate manage and 17-inch alloy wheels.
2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.

It’s likewise wonderfully comfortable along with its couch-love front seat. No auto ‘box shifter means there are buttons at the dash base rather – Drive, Reverse and Neutral – which is fantastic at saving space, unlike the giant aircraft-style handbrake which appears finest suited to oversized French farmer hands as opposed to dainty Parisienne fashionista paws.

Cabin space is decent for a small SUV, along with acceptable room for two adults in the back, however seats are firm. The Cactus works finest as a small family hauler, along with wide opening rear doors and several of the deepest storage bins you’ll ever find, while 356-litres boot space is helpful for the segment. It’s a tad plasticky in places, however cool touches love door take care of pull straps, giant dash-top bin and a straightforward retro digital speedo readout are compensation.
2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.

The cabin’s the exact same in the petrol Cactus, albeit you shed the front couch seating as the gear stick and conventional handbrake reason their place. Not a fan of manuals? Guaranteed you’d never ever buy one? If you want a Cactus it’s actually worth the effort to try.
2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.

The 1.2-litre turbo three-cylinder petrol engine is a gem, it makes a lovely little note and its zippy, revvy nature fulfills the town and city life where the Cactus is in its element. much more powerful compared to the diesel, its 81kW and 205 Nm helps the SUV strike 100kmh in 9.3 seconds, while the 5 speed manual is a doddle to use: the throw is on the long side, however the two clutch and gear shift are light and easy.

I returned a still fantastic 5.4L/100km on my test, and created a far happier partnership along with the petrol variant. For a begin it’s $3000 cheaper compared to the diesel, and if you aren’t terrified of a clutch pedal there’s much more joy to be had along with the manual petrol Cactus – this drivetrain merely fulfills the enjoyable and playful Cactus nature better.

It’s a vehicle that’s supposed to be regarding enjoyment: simply check out the uniqueness of the thing. The small SUV class is full of quality content, however there’s nothing else in there to trump the Cactus for sheer visual impact. Some will certainly enjoy it, some will certainly hate it, however that simply makes it so wonderfully Citroen.
2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.

What matters most

What we liked: Looks love nothing else out there, enjoyable and swift enough three-cylinder petrol along with manual gearbox, pretty comfortable and pretty family friendly, superb fuel economy, warranty.

What we’d love to see: Ditch the semi-automatic for a appropriate auto, heater/fan controls are a pain through the touchscreen, diesel model’s massive handbrake is strong to use.

Warranty and servicing: 6-year unlimited kilometre warranty and servicing program.
2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Iain Curry2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Iain Curry Iain Curry

Vital statistics

Model: Citroen C4 Cactus.

Details: Five-door front-wheel-drive small SUV.

Engines: 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol generating 81kW @ 5500rpm and 205Nm @ 1500rpm; 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel along with 68kW @4000rpm and 230Nm @ 1750rpm.

Transmissions: 5 speed manual (petrol car); six-speed semi-automatic (diesel car).

Consumption: 4.7-litres/100km (petrol); 3.6-litres/100km (diesel).

Performance 0-100kmh: 9.3 seconds (petrol); 11.4 seconds (diesel).

Bottom line plus on-roads: $26,990 (petrol); $29,990 (diesel).
2016 Citroen Cactus. Photo: Contributed2016 Citroen Cactus. Photo: Contributed

The verdict

Driving experience 14/20

Features and equipment 15/20

Functionality and comfort 15/20

Value for cash 16/20

Style and design 18/20

Total 78/100

2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.2016 Citroen C4 Cactus. Photo: Contributed.