Citroën’s latest model to arrive in the country is the C4 Cactus – a funky combination of practicality, spaciousness, high ride height, and unique take durability for the urban environment in a crossover SUV package. But despite the name, the C4 Cactus is anything but harsh and thorny – focusing instead on being versatile, and genuinely soft.
Airbump technology is Citroën’s unique way of endowing their newest model with a soft body where it counts to protect the car from parking lots, trolleys, prams, and other cars. It’s the biggest selling point of the Cactus; essentially giant panels of bubble wrap placed strategically along the body and around the headlamps to absorb impacts from trolleys, other cars, car doors, etc. Available as standard in black, the Airbump panels can be opted for in Grey, Dune, and Chocolate.
The Airbump technology also ensures the rather intriguing looks of the C4 Cactus is gifted with. A raised ride height and SUV-like profile are combined with a short rear overhang, Airbump panels all round, and roof racks for a quirky, crossover SUV appeal. Despite this, the C4 Cactus remains compact, measuring 1.48 metres tall, 4.16 metres long, and 1.73 metres wide.
Inside the Cactus, Citroën have focused on weight reduction and comfort as a means of improving efficiency. The light cabin makes use of lightweight materials, with spacious seats that include a rear bench seat. Digital instrument clusters feature ahead of the driver, whilst central to the dash is a large seven inch touch screen infotainment system – the only blemish on an otherwise minimalistic dash design. Aiding this is the relocation of the front passenger airbag from the dash to the roof, allowing for reduced clutter.
Citroën have, as we’ve come to expect, equipped the Cactus rather generously. Two levels of specification are available – Feel and Shine – the Feel being the more affordable of the two. The entry spec Feel equipped models includes air conditioning, a 4-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, cruise control with speed limiter, electrically operated front windows and side mirrors, and steering mounted controls, whilst the Shine models feature climate control, satellite navigation, a reverse camera, enhanced audio system, auto-headlamps, auto-windscreen wipers, front fog lamps, rear privacy glass and interior mood lighting.
Citroën’s focus on efficiency has seen them shave off 200Kg from the overall weight of the Cactus by means of platform sharing, selective use of materials, and use of lightweight engines. As a result the Cactus weighs a mere 965Kg in its lightest incarnation. Light weight means Citroën can make do with low capacity engines that don’t need extravagant outputs.
As such, Citroën make do with a range of 1.2-litre naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines. The entry level 1.2-litre 3 cylinder PureTech engine, also found in the Citroën C1 and available only on the entry-spec Feel model, outputs 60kW and 118Nm, with Citroën claiming consumption figures of 4.6l/100km. The alternative engine variant is the 1.2-litre turbocharged 3 cylinder, boasting outputs of 81kW and 205Nm. This engine benefits from swifter performance and fuel consumption of a claimed 4.7l/100km. This engine can be equipped with both the Feel and Shine models. Both engine drive the front wheels of the Cactus via a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The new Citroën C4 Cactus comes standard with a host of safety features, including 6 airbags, ABS brakes with EBD and EBA, and electronic stability control. All models also feature a full size spare wheel, tyre pressure monitoring, Isofix child seat tethers, and remote central locking.
The C4 Cactus is now available at Citroën dealers nationwide, with prices starting at R224 900 for the 1.2l PureTech Feel model, whilst the turbocharged Feel variant sells for R259 900, and the range topping 1.2l Turbo Shine model sells for R284 900. All models come standard with a 3 year/100 000km warranty, a 5 year/100 000km service plan and roadside assistance.