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Citroen C4 Cactus
The Top Gear car review:Citroen C4 Cactus
What is it like on the road?
The C4 Cactus was hardly a harsh-riding car before, so the addition of the new suspension tech hardly brings a night-and-day improvement. In fact, without the two cars back-to-back, you might not know there was anything new here. It’s a very comfy car, though, with a tangibly French floatiness on a flowing road that some will love. It goes hand in hand with an impressively hushed interior at speed. It’s all very smooth.
If you’re reminiscing about old hydropneumatically suspended Citroens, though, this isn’t in the same ballpark. Speed bumps and tougher sections of road will still be telegraphed to the driver, especially on the fancier 17in wheels. It’s one of the comfier hatchbacks on sale - perhaps the comfiest - but it doesn’t quite have the “magic carpet ride” that Citroen’s non-cliché-averse marketing material refers to.
If you wish to ramp things up a bit, the Cactus accepts bit of keener driving, too. While no GTI in disguise, it doesn’t fall to pieces if you want to corner quickly. There’s agility here thanks to the Cactus’s kerb weight, which is around 200kg lighter than that Focus or Golf. The steering never has much (if anything) in the way of weight or feel, but you could level that at most cars these days. Get one of these as a hire car and you could have a lot of fun.
The automatic transmission is so-so. It’s smooth enough when you just want to potter around, but slow-reacting if you want an urgent overtake or to carry some useful speed out of a roundabout. There’s a Sport button, in which it hangs onto gears for longer (perhaps too long), and a manual mode too. But unless you have to drive an auto – or you spend your whole life in town – the standard manual gearbox is better.