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Citroen C4 Cactus E-HDI Exclusive

by Barry Green,reviewed August 2016

In an increasingly regulated and sometimes vanilla world, a point of difference can be refreshing. Cue the Cactus, as unlikely a car name as you are ever likely to hear.

Brought to you by Citroen, the French brand synonymous with innovation, the Cactus is a compact, two-wheel-drive SUV based on the C4 small car platform.

It introduces Citroen’s patented Airbump protection – replacement plastic panelling fitted to the vehicle’s sides to protect against the likes of errant shopping trolleys – along with a roof-mounted airbag and windscreen washers that squirt from the ends of the wipers.

In keeping with the funkiness, buyers have a myriad of personalisation choices. Our test car came with optional two-tone leather/cloth trim ($1600), premium paint ($800), and splashes of white to the purple and black exterior ($500).

Standard equipment includes a 7˝ multi-function touchscreen, sat nav, auto climate control, auto rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights, rear park sensors, rear view camera, cruise control, DAB+ radio and 17˝ alloys.

However, notable omissions include auto down function on the driver’s window, rear window wind down function (push out only), second row air-con vents, tachometer, and steering reach adjustment.

The seats are accommodating and boot capacity is 358 litres.

However, compared with the other choice in the Cactus range – a 1.2-litre, 81kW/205Nm turbo-petrol three-cylinder with five-speed manual transmission – the combination of 1.6-litre, 68kW/230Nm turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine and push-button, six-speed semi-auto makes for a disappointing and disjointed drive.

Upshifts are slow and slurred, to the point where the car bogs down as if the hand brake is being slowly applied. In stop/start driving around town,

this is extremely frustrating.

Shown a twisty back road, there’s an absence of dynamic ability, too, with plenty of body roll and shortage of front end grip. Get-up-and-go is also lacking, with the diesel being about two seconds slower accelerating from 0-100km/h.

No complaint about the Cactus’ ride quality, though. It glides over road surface imperfections and handles the bomb craters well, too.

Highway cruising – when the transmission is not toing and froing – is where the diesel/semi-auto is most comfortable and most effective. On such a 320km run, fuel consumption worked out at 4.6 litres/100km, just 1.0 higher than the ADR combined figure.

If substance matters, then it’s likely this is not the car for you. However, if style brings a smile, then best check the quirky Citroen out.


Point of difference, six year/unlimited kilometre warranty, fuel economy.


Dysfunctional semi-auto, short on handling dynamics and some equipment.

Car Details

Vehicle make Citroen
Vehicle model C4 Cactus E-HDI Exclusive
Year 2016
Price when new 29,990
Current price range $ - $
ANCAP crash rating
5 out of 5 stars

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Approved Repairers

Our expert team of approved repairers can perform general and specialist repairs, including auto-electrical, air-conditioning, radiator repairs and automatic transmissions.

Warranty 6yr/unlimited km
Engine 1.6-litre,turbo-diesel four-cyl

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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.