Citroen C4 Cactus facelifted: Airbumps out, comfier ride in

Published: 26 October 2017

► C4 Cactus facelifted
► Airbumps pared back…
► But new magic carpet ride should fill the gap

Is the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus a new car, or simply a heavy facelift? Who knows…

What we do know, however, is that Citroen’s crossover/SUV has been repositioned as a compact hatchback to make room for the recently-launched C3 Aircross, the upcoming C5 Aircross and perhaps even C4 Aircross in the not-too-distant future – all of which sit firmly in SUV territory.

That’s quite a restyle, what exactly is new?

Safe to say the C4 Cactus has undergone more than the light nip-and-tuck we’re so used to seeing when it comes to a model’s mid-life facelift.

There’s a new front end more akin to the C3 hatch, featuring a more prominent Citroen badge, revised headlamps and rear lights plus some subtle-looking gills on the front and rear bumper.

Citroen C4 Cactus interior

All very nice… But where are the Airbumps?

Love them or hate them, the original C4 Cactus’s ding-defending patented Airbumps were a major feature of the car’s quirky design. And while they’ve not been removed entirely from the 2018 model (still featuring at the base of the car’s doors), they are far fewer in number.

Tell us more about the magic carpet ride…

Officially called Progressive Hydraulic Cushions, the C4 Cactus is the first Citroen sold in Europe to feature the technology (it’s already fitted to the C5 Aircross in China). The system works by replacing the regular mechanical stops in the shock absorbers with two hydraulic ones.

Why? Well, when the C4 Cactus runs over a bump the hydraulic stops are capable of absorbing and dissipating the energy created by the compression. Regular shock absorbers are only capable of the former, meaning the vehicle’s occupants will feel an unpleasant jolt running over sharp bumps.

Citroen C4 Cactus white rear quarter

Sounds promising, but magic carpet ride quality is a moot point if the seats aren’t up to scratch. And as it turns out, Citroen agrees, fitting the 2018 C4 Cactus with super-squishy Advanced Comfort seats. The new pews feature high-density foam to keep backs and backsides supported on long journeys, also ensuring that the trick new suspension doesn’t go to waste.

What about the engine options – same as before?

Nope, there are two new additions. So as well as the 81bhp and 109bhp 1.2-litre Puretech three-cylinder petrol engines, customers can now also spec the spritely 128bhp version of the same engine. On the diesel front, the 99bhp 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel returns and is now joined by a higher-powered 119bhp version – arriving a few months after launch.

If you really want the full Citroen luxury experience, Citroen’s EAT6 automatic gearbox is available on the 130hp 1.2-litre petrol and the 120hp 1.6-litre diesel. However, in a crushing disappointment for automated-manual transmission lovers (and nobody else), the six-speed ETG6 gearbox is no longer available.

Any new snazzy bits of kit?

Yes – the 2018 Cactus has had it’s complement of safety technology seriously upgraded. Equipment designed to stop you from having an accident or simply make your life easier includes Active Safety Brake (autonomous emergency braking), speed sign recognition, lane-departure warning, blindspot monitoring, automatic parking and Grip Control (provides greater traction over off-road surfaces). The latter proving that at least some of that SUV DNA has stayed with the C4 Cactus.

Anything else I need to know?

Order books open and first deliveries commence on January 2018, with no major price fluctuations expected over the outgoing model.

Check out our Citroen reviews here

By James Dennison

Head of automotive video for CAR magazine, its sister website and Motorcyle News.