> 
 > 

2014 Citroen C4 Cactus

Citroen has made its reputation building innovative and forward-thinking cars. Since the post WWII days with the Citroen DS , the French automaker has always thought outside the box, and this C4 Cactus is no exception.

The two defining outward features are unmistakably its unique yet familiar shape and the colored, bumpy panels affixed to its sides. While they are major components in making the C4 Cactus what it is, they aren’t its only innovative or interesting qualities. Other endearing qualities can be found within as well.

The C4 Cactus’ interior looks like a cross between an IKEA and a classy men’s wardrobe boutique, with Android software running the infotainment system and gauge cluster. Materials and their overall design are high quality with a certain vogue, yet timeless attribute.

While certain things inside and out might seem expensive, Citroen’s goal was to significantly reduce the cost of ownership – and they’ve done it by a good 20 percent. Fuel savings goes a long way in saving owners money, namely its 91 mpg rating in diesel form measured on the European cycle. Weight savings also plays a huge role here. Weighing in at a mere 2,127 pounds, the Cactus is said to be much easier on its running gear, lessening the need to replace parts as often.

Citroen seems most proud of saving customers money in the area of body damage. The Cactus’ Airbump system reduces the chance of parking lot dings and minor finder bender damage with its thermoplastic polyurethane construction and air-filled pockets. Even with their purposeful nature, the Airbump panels sure make a bold statement while living up to its Cactus name.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Citroen C4 Cactus.

2013 Citroen Cactus Concept

Citroen Cactus Concept

The Citroen Cactus Concept ] has the dimensions of an SUV, but the shape isn’t what makes this concept so unique from a lot of concept SUVs we’ve seen in recent years.

One of the biggest features of the Cactus Concepts are the Lama Grey ’Airbumps’ located on the SUV’s sides and bumpers. Apparently, those things are more than just aesthetic enhancers; they also serve the purpose of absorbing courtesy of those air capsules while also resisting scratches, protecting the SUV’s panels from damage.

On the performance front, Citroen didn’t jump into the details of the Cactus Concept’s powertrain and the corresponding performance figures. What the company did say was that the concept will come with a new version of its Hybrid Air system that includes a PureTech engine.

Exterior

Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus

Besides the unmistakable Airbump system, the Cactus’ shape is the first noticeable feature about this crossover. The look seems to be as much a mash-up as the interior, but that is not a bad thing. The Mini Cooper Countryman , Range Rover Evoque , and Jeep Cherokee all appear to have had a helping hand in the Cactus’ design.

The Cherokee’s stern eyebrow headlights are more at home here, while the roofline’s angle seems borrowed from the Evoque. The roof’s rear ending point on the C-Pillar recalls the Countryman, but the Cactus appears to pull it off better. The rear three-quarter view, while nowhere near a perfect match, just seems to say “Mini.” Again, these aren’t bad qualities.

The Airbump system is very likeable – both its idea and physical execution. The different colors available on the soft plastic panels helps owner personalize their Cactus with some very unique looks. Its usefulness is undeniable, to say the least. No more worries about shopping cart or door dings – as least if they hit within the Airbump area. That, perhaps, is the system’s pitfall. For the design’s sake, the air pocket panels don’t appear to cover quite enough area to be completely useful. This is especially true on the front and rear ends of the Cactus – areas that seems rather vulnerable during tight city driving and parking.

2014 Citroen C4 Cactus - Exterior Dimensions:

Wheelbase2,600 mm (102.36 inches)
Length4160 mm (163.77 inches)
Width1739 mm (68.46 inches)
Height1480 mm (58.26 inches)

Interior

Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus

We’ve got to give a slow clap for Citroen’s execution of an interesting interior. It looks so modern, but not in a way that will ungracefully age. The materials appear to be made of high-quality products with chrome brightwork scattered strategically throughout, but doesn’t come across as overstated or gaudy.

Citroen says the front bench (a rarity these days) feels more like a couch and adds versatility to the first row layout. The second row bench adds even more versatility with its three-person capacity and folding trick. Unlike many modern crossovers and SUVs, the seatback doesn’t include a split fold. It’s either folded or upright. This is one of many weight-saving cuts Citroen included, along with the rear pop-out windows verses a full-glass power window unit.

Up front, the dashboard is an exercise in minimalism. The instrument panel is completely digital and the seven-inch infotainment screen looks like an Android tablet molded into the dash. Further right, the passenger stares at what looks like a nice piece of luggage. Interestingly, Citroen as moved the passenger’s airbag location to the roof just aft of the windshield in order to free up the dashboard for an airier feel.

Adding to the spaciousness is a panoramic sunroof that really opens up the cabin.

Drivetrain

Citroen C4 Cactus

Citroen is planning several engine options for the Cactus. Two hybrid models complement the two internal combustion engines: a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder making roughly 82 horsepower and a diesel unit making around 100 horsepower. Not much else is know about them, but Citroen has said the diesel is expected to get 91.1 mpg on the European cycle.

Two transmissions will be offered: a six-speed manual and Citroen’s Efficient Tronic automatic gearbox with push-button gear selection and paddle-shifting capabilities.

Prices

Citroen C4 Cactus

No official word has been spoken about pricing numbers, but it’s likely the Cactus will start around £14,000, or roughly $23,300 in U.S. dollars at the present exchanged rates.

Competitors

2014 Nissan Juke

Nissan Juke Nismo RS

The Nissan Juke is another odd-ball crossover that has a unique look all its own. The front grille and headlights are unmistakable from anything else that’s on the road. Base power comes way of a direct-injected 1.6-liter I-4 turbo that kicks out a respectable 188 horsepower and177 pound-feet of torque. That, combined with a sub-3,000-pound curb weight, and the Juke is the performer of the bunch.

Fuel efficiency isn’t nearly as good as the projected numbers of the Cactus, but its performance gains will likely win over a few buyers. Pricing for the Juke starts at $18,900 inside the U.S.

Fiat 500L

Fiat 500L

The Fiat 500L is more car-like in its appearance while it still plays in the crossover segment. It’s interior volume is generous, however, and so is its abundant amount of cartoonish styling. That styling though does help it compete with the Cactus.

Power comes from turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 making 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch sends power to the front wheels. Pricing for the 500L starts at $21,195 in the States and rises with any of the many options.

Conclusion

Citroen C4 Cactus

Overall the Cactus is a really loveable little car. Its combination of lightweight function, fuel efficient powertrains, and innovated designs make it a smart new choice for Europeans looking to save money at the dealership, at the gas pump, and at the repair shop if bad stuff happens. The Cactus’ happy looks and plethora of color choices make it highly customizable and a fun car to drive, while its Airbump system keeps road rage in check and parking lot dings to a minimum. All in all, it appears to be a home run for Citroen.

LOVE IT
  • Very unique styling
  • Cost-saving steps keep money in owners’ pockets
  • Airbump system make parking lots less worrisome
LEAVE IT
  • Very unique styling
  • NHV levels may be high
  • Not sold in the U.S.


What is your take?

Back to top