2016 Citroën C4 Cactus Diesel Review

2016 Citroën C4 Cactus road test and review

Sometimes you just want to get through life covered in bubble wrap.

Not only is therapeutically satisfying to pop but you’ll be protected from the harshness of the world however impractical.

The Citroën C4 Cactus is, so far, the closest thing you’ll get to that inside a motor vehicle.

I was again handed the keys to one – this time in the auto diesel version (keeping in mind the model only comes in this variant and a manual petrol).

The distinctive Airbumps are the most obvious part of the car protecting the main panels from dents and scratches (although you have to be sure to run into trouble only where they are placed).

For more on them and customisation options click here.

But the Airbumps aren’t the only defining feature of the Citroën Cactus.  

It was noted, even at the launch, that the auto is somewhat tricky to drive and does tend to lurch forward especially on 2nd and 3rd as it slips into gear.

This is brought on by the semi-auto transmission and does take some getting used to.

The trick is to ease off the pedal as you accelerate before stepping down again much like you operate a left foot clutch.

If it tickles your fancy you have the availability of paddle shifters for gear changes but they aren’t really necessary.

The Cactus’ idiosyncrasies don’t stop there which is no surprise in a Citroën.

An aircraft style handbrake in place of the conventional variety which is actually quite ergonomic.

In front of this is the gear selector in the form of buttons on the dash.

It’s different but in fact rather  convenient and logical with the large ‘D’, ‘N’, ‘R’, keeping it simple for us dopey kids.

The fabric front seats are connected in the middle as well as being wide and flat in design give a more bench look.

The auto also comes with a triangular fold down armrest not found in the manual.

Overall, the cabin is open and spacious given the vehicle’s size with more room for the front passenger thanks to a top box replacing the glove box.

This is incorporated into the otherwise flat dashboard that is only highlighted by the protruding touch screen and driver’s HUD.

I would say the steering wheel could do with a little more padding and feels a bit a anorexic for my liking.

Despite this there is a good feel for the road surface with responsive handling and a comfortable ride.

Once you get past the initial acceleration, the drive is competent and changes in speed are more receptive.

The transmission and acceleration may not provide the best experience but the diesel engine affords great fuel economy supporting the manufacturer’s claim of being the most efficient non-hybrid model.

5 and a half litres per 100km during one week of driving gets the thumbs up in my books.

This economy, the colour combination choices and it’s all round uniqueness will appeal to drivers looking for something different.

I still prefer the manual model but the diesel automatic Citroën C4 Cactus is still liveable once you get used to it.

NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Citroën C4 Cactus Diesel

Engine: 1.6L turbo diesel producing 68kW and 230Nm

Transmission: Six-speed semi-auto

Warranty: Six years

Safety: Not tested

Origin: France

Price: from $29,990

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