Being a small crossover, one of the most important and regular tasks our Citroen C4 Cactus long-termer will have to complete is the daily urban commute – and so far, we’re relatively impressed.
While ‘Smurfette’ didn’t pass our recent infotainment and technology review with flying colours, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how comfortable the Cactus is to drive day-to-day, though it still isn’t without its quirks.
Many scoffed at the somewhat mediocre 81kW/205Nm outputs of the C4 Cactus‘ 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, though the little motor does its best work in town where Smurfette will spend most of its time.
With peak torque available from just 1500rpm, the Cactus is enthusiastic off the line and gets up to urban speeds with little fuss, and the characterful thrummy engine note characteristic of three-pot petrol engines is pleasant on the ears.
However, numerous CarAdvice staff have complained about the Aisin-sourced six-speed automatic transmission and start/stop system, which can be a little quirky when setting off.
We’ve found the transmission can be a little slurry between first and second along with second and third, which at times feels lurchy and unrefined.
The idle stop/start system may help to save fuel, but the cutting out and re-starting of the engine can be a little violent at times, making it hard to drive smoothly when getting behind the wheel for the first time.
Another complaint is the fact the changing of gears seems to be speed-based, meaning it can often sound like the Cactus is holding gears for no apparent reason, only for it to shift when you tick over to 61 or 62km/h compared to 60km/h on the dot – the same happens at highway speeds.
I personally have gotten used to it over time, though it could be better nonetheless.
Once moving, though, the Cactus is relatively quiet and rides very well over some of the poorly-surfaced roads around Melbourne. The wafty suspension tune does a great job of ironing out the city’s lumps and bumps – think potholes, tram tracks and the like – and there’s very little road and wind noise entering the cabin.
We’ve come to appreciate just how comfortable the front seats are, too, offering plenty of support all round and insulating your bum from vibrations coming through the chassis from the road.
Parking in busy Richmond is made a little easier thanks to the plentiful glasshouse and rear-view camera system, along with the light steering feel.
Visibility is generally pretty good despite the more style-focused aesthetics, though the lack of blind-spot monitoring can be felt occasionally when trying to merge into gaps during peak-hour traffic.
In terms of fuel consumption, we’re constantly seeing around 8.0L/100km (indicated) in mostly urban driving, which is a bit up on Citroen’s 6.5L/100km urban claim, more so compared to the company’s 5.1L/100km combined figure.
So, a pass for Smurfette in the city driving test – très bon!