My week in Citroën C4 Cactus
Here is the first episode of my week in Citroën C4 Cactus. The weather conditions do not allow to make a video presentation. However, here is my report after 250 kilometers at the wheel.
Citroën therefore entrusted me with testing the new C4 Cactus sedan in version 1.2 PureTech 130 hp and 6-speed manual gearbox in Shine finish.
Very eager to get on board and finally tested these famous new suspensions, it is another element that gives me the first effect Wow: the seats! What softness! How sweet ! Citroën is clearly the brand of automotive well-being. After this first effect, engine and action ;-)
First remark: the engine does not tremble, does not vibrate. While on the C3 Aircross and the C3, the engine vibrated a lot (characteristics of the 3 cylinders), in this new C4 Cactus, the vibrations are completely attenuated, it's really very pleasant. It is therefore gently that the Cactus takes off and where we can see the first effects of the new suspension. It is located between the C4 (already very comfortable but which sometimes lifts the bloodletting brutally) and the C5 which erases the small bloodletting and undulates with fluff on the large bumps. The new suspension filters out the small grooves much better than the C4 without erasing them and reproduces the classic Citroën wadding on large bumps. We are totally transported into a universe of comfort, well-being and all this makes driving very pleasant.
In town, the light Cactus has no trouble weaving through traffic. The engine, powerful and smooth, allows it to start well and the compactness of the car would make it almost a queen of the city. Only small flat: the box hangs a little when passing the 2nd report.
Having driven little in town, it is especially on the highway that I can give you a good report. And there: what a pleasure ... The C4 Cactus has no trouble reaching 130 km / h maintaining them regardless of the elevation of the road. The ribs are absorbed without any slowdown. It is on the highway that the second Wow effect occurs. Indeed, the suspension, without being as efficient, as the hydraulics allows a simply remarkable ride comfort. The small grooves are very well filtered, the waves are gently erased, it's just impressive to offer such comfort with simple unmanned suspensions. Traveling by Cactus gives the impression of being transported into a bubble of well-being where all the vagaries of circulation are, if not erased, in any case very attenuated.
After 250 kilometers swallowed at good speed and almost 3 hours of driving, I left this C4 Cactus as if I had just settled there. No fatigue. No back pain. Really, this C4 Cactus amazes me.
However, not everything is perfect in this Cactus. Several two things bothered me:
- The windshield is small. It particularly struck me after getting out of my C4. I was afraid that it would interfere with visibility but, in the end, it was good even if a windshield rising higher would have been more significant. Definitely a consequence of installing the passenger airbag on the roof.
- I'm going to pester on the start and stop button which I find implanted too low and too far. It is certainly a habit to take.
Finally, the point of consumption: 5.9l on average over these 250 kilometers compared to the 5l of my C4 HDi 90, I find that it is a very good result.
Tomorrow, episode 2, the new C4 Cactus faces the city.
After a long highway journey yesterday, the city is the favorite terrain of today. So on the way to the small streets of Old Lille ...
So it was in the narrow streets of the Capital of Flanders that I took this new C4 Cactus, just to check its handling, its behavior in town, the Start and Stop, etc.
If the compactness of the C4 Cactus can be a handicap in terms of livability, it is undeniably a great strength in the city. The new C4 Cactus is nimble, precise, playing with narrow passages without having the fear of catching the front or rear bumpers.
Well protected by the plastic elements surrounding the bodywork, the city is not a trap for the new C4 Cactus. Especially since on this shine finish equipped with front and rear parking aids, the Cactus is ready to get out of the city without the slightest harm.
In the narrow streets of Old Lille, the C4 Cactus makes every effort to make your stay pleasant. Its very flexible steering at low speed allows maneuvering without any effort. Its short overhangs allow passage through very narrow passages with disconcerting ease.
Even if the city is not the ideal ground to test the behavior of a car, the Old Lille offers the advantage of cobblestone streets undermining the suspensions and making it possible to measure the behavior of the car.
Equipped with new suspensions with hydraulic stops, the new C4 Cactus perfectly absorbs shocks, bumps or various bleedings. It is an excellent score that the new suspension plays, which makes the trip extremely comfortable and allows you to stay zen.
The welcoming and very comfortable seats contribute to this wonderful feeling of well-being. They allow, while being soft, excellent support. I found the lateral support at the height allowing to become one with the car. Comfortable, flexible but dynamic, the Cactus delivers a really nice service in town.
C. A Technophile C4 Cactus
Evolving in the city also allows you to gauge the various technologies with which the Cactus is equipped. The most used of all in town will necessarily be the Start and stop. I found it very reactive when restarting, but stopping is a source of vibration and is not immediate, a small second is necessary before stopping the engine, the second during which the vibrations emerge.
The rear view camera is effective. It allows to take into account the rear environment of the car and to appropriate the distances across the guide lines. Everything is accompanied by traditional beeps, providing everything you need for perfect, trouble-free slots. A small flat anyway: in wet weather (long live the North ....), the image may be slightly blurred with not fully optimal visibility.
GPS is fast, efficient and precise. The instructions are clear and understandable with no possibility of making mistakes. In addition, during bifurcations, an image appears on the screen of the central console very precisely showing the path to take. Only small regret: in the C4, the reminder of the GPS is integrated in the instrument cluster which avoids taking your eyes off the road. A reminder in the screen of the Cactus would have been appreciated.
The new Citroën C4 Cactus is very comfortable in the city where it plays with all possible traps. Its technological arsenal watches over the grain and provides all its help so as not to be caught in the various possible traps, all in a cozy cocoon where the excellent seats and the wonderful suspension are accompanied by soundproofing at the top which completely isolates us from various noises . For a bit, the C4 Cactus would make city traffic pleasant.
Kilometers traveled: 52
Average consumption of the test: 6.3 (6.2l after yesterday's highway), which is very reasonable consumption.
My week in Cactus: The comparison with my C4
After 3 days of testing on motorways, cities and on country roads, it's time to make a comparison between the new 4 Cactus and the C4 it replaces, the car I own.
I will not judge design here since it is subjective.
The seats :
On roads that I take regularly, I was able to compare the Cactus compared to my C4. And if I find my C4 comfortable, cashing in the bloodletting or the speed bumps without flinching, I must admit that the C4 Cactus is still a notch above. The seats contribute greatly to comfort and those of the C4 Cactus, with their specific foams, are really more comfortable than those of my C4. I like the seats of my C4 because they hold well and I had a little fear with those of the Cactus but it is nothing. For me lateral support is equivalent without the sides of the seats hindering entry or exit.
Regarding soundproofing, my C4 has a high quality and a big defect. I can't hear the diesel engine on my car so sometimes I have to look at the rev counter to check that the engine is running and I really appreciate that. Similarly, vibrations due to diesel are non-existent. On the other hand, the road noise is high not to mention the raindrops that we hear very well. Not all of this in the new Cactus: on the contrary! As I was able to point out, the soundproofing of the new Cactus gives the impression of creating a bubble between the passengers and the outside world. The engine, petrol, is naturally discreet and no vibration comes to disturb us.
The driving position:
The driving position of my C4 is very rewarding. Foamed plastic on a large part of the dashboard has a lot to do with it. Everything is very well done, the assemblies are precise and no nightingale is heard. It is a very serious dashboard, very well finished. But also very ... black. Quite the opposite of that of the Cactus. The low, horizontal dashboard is almost forgotten. And if the plastics are harder than those of my C4, the assemblies are also precise, the whole does not suffer criticism and no noise of furniture is present. The whole Cactus is more harmonious because it is simpler, more readable, easier. When I think that on my C4, there are 3 different ways to hang up the phone ...
Cactus advantage: but the C4 defends itself very very well.
If my C4 has of course not the new suspensions, it remains a Citroën and is therefore very comfortable. Only the bloodletting can go back sharply to the back but the rest is swallowed with formidable efficiency. Effective suspensions that offer a road behavior that I find dynamic. And it is certainly on this point that my C4 takes advantage over the new Cactus. This must be due to the superior comfort of the Cactus where everything is more flexible because the Cactus does not move, it remains firmly on its wheels and is very pleasant to drive. But the slightly firmer suspensions of my C4 must contribute to a feeling of increased dynamism for my C4.
The engine - gearbox - consumption:
I own a Citroën C4 Hdi 90 box 5 which many consider to be limited in terms of performance. I must admit that I have nothing to blame him for. The revivals are immediate, the recoveries excellent. Only the engine seems hollow before the Turbo starts up.
The new C4 Cactus I am testing is a PureTech 130hp BVM6.
If, necessarily, the performances are there since the C4 Cactus is very light, I expected more times compared to my C4. Certainly the higher torque of the HDi can compensate for the lack of power.
Consumption level, I run at 5.3L on average on my C4 with a mixture of city, highway and departmental. I find this consumption very reasonable because on a full 60 liters, it allows me to make more than 1000 km. And on the highway, consumption is more than reasonable. For example: after 250 kilometers to get to Paris, the autonomy of my C4 had dropped by ..... 60 kilometers. Rather strong.
For the Cactus, on a petrol engine, I am currently at 6.4l on average, counting the 250 kilometers of motorway. I also did a lot of city and a lot of departmental roads. It is therefore a very reasonable consumption for a petrol engine of this power. The light weight of the new Cactus helps a lot.
Regarding the gearbox, my C4 is in manual 5 and the Cactus in manual. The travel of my C4 is great and can be annoying, especially when shifting from reverse. On the other hand, the Cactus box has shorter deflections but is catchy especially on the 2nd and 3rd gear. The reports are also very long on that of the Cactus while those of my C4 are just perfect. At 130 km / h, in 5th gear, I turn at 2000 rpm.
For the moment, I do not feel any problem in terms of habitability. At the front, we are not tight and the rear, with my seat adjustments, the leg space is completely satisfactory for my size, which is very satisfactory for my children. It is only the width that could challenge but again, nothing really annoying. The advantage is that the Cactus console is narrower than that of my C4 so the few inches lost in width on the car are not necessarily felt inside. Maybe at the back, this is more problematic and the test has not been done. But who still drives 5 by car? As for the trunk, on the week's races, the trunk of the Cactus is sufficient, smaller than that of my C4, of course, but quite appropriate. Stay on a departure on vacation where there actually, it may be too fair.
Cactus advantage: very slight advantage due above all to its compactness. I find that the compactness benefit fills the accuracy of the rear habitability and the boot volume.
In conclusion, I really like my C4. She bluffed me over the 250 kilometers to get to Paris. It is a car that fills me up every day, it is pleasant to drive, comfortable, efficient and economical. It's a great car and I'm very happy with it. However, to choose, my preference would go to Cactus for a simple reason: It is a real Citroën. Not that the C4 is not, but it does not have the extra soul that the Cactus offers by its quirky style (even if it has been very subdued). The new Cactus certainly has the advantage of youth for it, but its freshness, cheerfulness and difference make it more "Citroën" for me than my C4.
After traveling the motorway, facing the city, taking advantage of small country roads, the new C4 Cactus will today challenge roads that are dented to say the least ... paved roads.
After about thirty kilometers alternating between motorway, expressways and departmental roads where the C4 Cactus confirms all the good felt at the wheel since the beginning of the week here we are in front of the Carrefour de l'Arbre, cantor of the cobblestones of Paris Roubaix.
Ideal ground to push the limits of the suspensions, the paved areas also allow you to check the finish and assembly of the interior furniture.
Already conquered by the new suspensions with hydraulic stops since the beginning of the week, trying the new Cactus on this type of sector ends up convincing me of the excellence of this suspension. Beautifully damped, the Cactus absorbs bump, hollow with astonishing ease. The cobblestones are not erased but so well absorbed that I had to be careful not to accelerate too much. Aided by a slightly raised ground clearance, the Cactus demonstrates excellent capabilities in ... any way, ironically.
Inside, nestled in the seats, you benefit from first-class comfort. Passing through these paved areas would become almost pleasant, especially since, despite the shaking, the interior furniture does not move, no noise, no creaking is heard. The assemblies are really excellent and the impeccable finish.
In the end, this little excursion on difficult paths was a real treat. The C4 Cactus absorbs bumps and paving stones with ease and in excellent comfort. So excellent that we start dreaming of adventures and discoveries. The C4 Cactus remains a sedan, limited by its ground clearance and it is not designed for this type of road, but the capabilities it demonstrates there are, if necessary, the excellence of this new suspension and the merits of the Citroën Advanced Comfort program.