This time, a hatchback crowned with a really big price arrived for the test. The Citroën C4 Cactus won first place as hatchback of the year according to Top Gear magazine. Well, we all like this group because they are new, but we know that sometimes they like and exaggerate quite a bit. Such an accolade, if it's serious, can show us all that the overlooked scumbag in the corner is actually a great car. But if Jeremy, James and Richard were having one of their recessional moments and Cactus isn't good, it could end up breaking his neck in my eyes. So we'll see, but right from the start I'll say that he's not a slob from the corner, but on the contrary, he's now riding the wave of popularity, which will make it all the more difficult for him to start.
Perhaps you can't even start with something other than the Airbump rubber elements. For a specific piece, their beige color bothers me, black would go well with white, but if we leave that aside, it is a very smart solution that is practical in the urban jungle. Standing close to cars or street lamps will stop stressing you out completely. The rubber surfaces are much softer than I expected and absorb shocks well. I'm slowly getting used to the unconventional shape of the front lights, the small slits above the larger parabola. While I didn't particularly like the C1 , the Cactus looks much better in my eyes. I like its overall tightness in terms of appearance, for example the line of the windows or the shape of the roof racks. And actually, at the end of the week, I like the whole Cactus, he just gets used to the bubble look very quickly.
The unconventional shape of the dashboard has a very pleasant effect and visually increases the already spacious interior. The material used is perfect, and it would look good even in DS models. The main attention is drawn to the touchscreen tablet with a slightly awkward control , which is used to set practically all additional functions of the car. At least if the passenger controls it, he can rest his hand on it. In the middle is a perfect compartment for a smartphone , which also has a USB connector, someone really thought here when designing the placement of these elements. But in order not to constantly praise and brag, it would like to find something that I criticize – for example, an absolutely unsightly gear lever that does not fit in with the rest of the interior and is quite unpleasant in shape . But the gearing is quite accurate . I also don't like the steering wheel, for which the mandatory and unnecessary flattening in the lower part is no longer enough, so it has it in the upper part as well. And the air conditioning vents also annoy me, they are stiff, so when I try to adjust them to a straight line, otherwise I adjust them so that they blow into the completely opposite half of the car. You are more likely to succeed in closing them completely during such a maneuver. But that will definitely wear out over time. Oh, and lest I forget, don't even try to look for ceiling grab bars . They are not there at all, you will only find clothes hooks at the back.
There is enough space for the head in the front, but only the driver's seat is height adjustable in this car. At least both front seats are heated , and the material looks easy to wash. Ideal for transporting children. However, the view to the rear is not one of the most generous, the window is quite small and the view in the mirror is further reduced by the rear armrests. And speaking of those back seats, let's take a closer look at them. I'm satisfied in the back , I didn't expect space like in a limousine, but the main thing is that, unlike a regular C4 , I can fit in here. So mainly that I have somewhere to put my head. Legroom is quite limited, but that corresponds to the given class. But be careful, in the hot summer, passengers will not be very happy here, because they can not open the windows in order, because there are only tippers here. This might be fine if you have a small three-door city butt, but it has no business in a more grown-up hatchback. There are also two pockets in the lining of the back door, one large in the lower part and one smaller in the upper part, which look like holes somewhere in the bowels of the car. Of course, the biggest storage space is in the trunk, and there's plenty of room for it. Only the loading edge could have been a little lower. Overall, though, the interior, and actually a bit of the exterior, looks to me as if Cactus wants to play on the derided Fiat Multipla . But he's not that brilliant on the inside, but at least he's prettier on the outside.
The Cactus is one of those cars that you have to get used to. For example, the posture , it certainly cannot be described as ideal. But when you drive half the country with it, you will realize that this position is actually quite nice . After all, this is not a super sports car with mega performance, where you need to feel every little nuance in its behavior. Here you just sit down, start it and drive and it's all kind of a breeze. The excellent noise reduction of the engine also contributes to this. Unless you're driving one of our hideous panel highways, your ears will be pretty much free from any annoyances. And not even the back of your body, because the Cactus is tuned quite soft . It tolerates most of the bumps on a typical Czech tank track very well, perhaps only the persistent feeling that the car is undulating will creep into your mind. Pleasant, sometimes I think the French can't do it anymore, but luckily they still make some very comfortable cars.
In fact, when I read that there is a turbocharged three-cylinder 1200 under the hood, it excites me about as much as the Věstonická Venus. Future generations will most likely label people like me as retards who didn't understand the benefits of downsizing . Fortunately, I'm not going to condemn the engine completely without trying it, which is good, because I would be poor without its extraordinary thrust. Considering the weight of the car, I expected much worse dynamics, but the opposite is true. It's a damn shame that you won't find a tachometer on the small display behind the steering wheel, it really smells like a return to the 50s. Sure, a simple up and down shift indicator should be enough for me, but for that I'm mostly cheated of a surprisingly pleasant sound and very good springy acceleration. Despite the fact that the Cactus with its small engine does not drive at the pace of a breathing snail, it is quite economical . I averaged 5.1 liters per 100 kilometers after a week, when this thorny plant wanted a watering with 5.3 in the city, a tenth less on the highway and even just 3.8 liters on the normal road. Why the name Cactus? After all, you also only water it a little and occasionally.
I approached Cactus with a lot of distrust at first, because everyone was praising it, and at the same time, you won't read anything in the promotional materials that would put you on your ass. But the Cactus simply has to be experienced in order to understand how comfortable today's smaller petrol car can be. Cactus, for example, stands out with such successful ergonomics and readability in behavior that any phase of getting to know and getting used to it is omitted. After a week's test, I felt like I had known him for a quarter. So if your current car is already pulling it inexorably into the press and you still can't choose what to start transporting yourself with now and you find some illogicality in every interior, try this French, it might be the right solution for you. And when you buy a turbocharged 1200, you don't have to worry about being a drag on traffic. Just don't expect much driving pleasure, this is simply a comfortable car to transport the driver to the destination and it excels at that.
Basic price (1.2 PureTech Live) CZK 329,900
The price of the tested model is CZK 474,400
Compare the parameters of the Citroën C4 Cactus with the competition
Photo: David Rajdl ( http://rajdlstudio.com )