We’re a couple of months into our stint with the Citroen C4 Cactus Exclusive – or ‘Smurfette’, if you tuned in last episode – so let’s cover one of the key features any owner will be using day to day: infotainment and technology.
Standard fit in the C4 Cactus includes a 7.0-inch central touchscreen with satellite navigation and DAB+ digital radio along with your requisite inputs like AUX and USB, along with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.
Notably absent from the spec sheet, however, are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Features that will likely be added if, and when, the facelifted model arrives Down Under, likely sometime during 2019 – despite being initially scheduled for a late-2018 release.
The floating tablet-style display also houses other vehicle functions, like the air-conditioning, making it an all-in-one unit – for better or for worse.
Let’s be frank, it’s a little dated compared to other infotainment units on the market. The menus are a generation behind Peugeot Citroen’s latest models – think the 308, 3008 and C3 – and it just lacks the snappy response and smooth menu transitions we’ve come to expect from new cars.
It’s also not as intuitive as we’d like on the move, largely due to the capacitive buttons stacked on each side of the display, which can be hard to press accurately when driving.
This is particularly annoying when trying to adjust the air-con on the move, or turn on the recycle air function, which is only accessible through this menu.
We also noticed some glitches with the Bluetooth audio, occasionally not recognising a device being connected despite being connected as a phone, and at times not playing any sound despite showing the song as playing.
The inbuilt navigation system works fine, though the slower response times make address input a pain.
As for other technologies, the C4 Cactus is relatively lacking compared to similarly priced rivals. There’s no autonomous emergency braking, no lane-keep assistance, no adaptive cruise control, no blind-spot monitoring, no rear cross-traffic alert, and no speed sign recognition function.
Considering this is a $30,000 European car in 2018, we have to knock it for being a little behind the times. You do, however, get day-to-day convenience features like automatic headlights and wipers, and a rear-view camera with guidelines.
Another highlight is the retro-cool LCD driver instrument display (below), which looks cool and works well. It’s worth noting, though, that there’s no tachometer, regardless of whether you’ve bought the manual or automatic.
We’d argue technology isn’t Smurfette’s strong point, and even though you can excuse the fact the Cactus in its current form is getting on a bit, the facelifted version is still a while off and it’s priced at the more premium end of the small-SUV segment.
Stay tuned for our next instalment, where we’ll report on how the C4 Cactus fares with day-to-day urban driving.