Citroen C4 Cactus 1.6 HDI 100 Flair
IT always seems to happen as soon as you get a shiny new car –somebody dings it. And the minor scrapes in time add up to spoil the memories with end-of-lease charges on a company car or lost pounds on your own.
However careful and protective you are, the gremlins are out to get you.
You don’t park close to an SUV with bolster seats which are a magnet for helpful little ones racing back with a trolley that they can’t see over, nor at the lower end of a sloping supermarket car park where wayward escaped trolleys do their own thing.
Beware the hatchback with mascot on the bonnet, walking stick in the back and a full palette of other cars’ colours on each bumper corner – evidence of park-by-touch.
Paranoid? No! Been there? Too often!
But Citroen came up with a solution with its funky C4 Cactus which became part of the family.
How many times did I have to explain what “those black plastic bumpy things” on the doors were – the Air Bumps.
But I didn’t have to explain any dents or scrapes, which is what you want when returning a vehicle after hire or lease.
Other people aside, it helps that the car has both parking radar and brilliant rear view camera, displaying the view on the large central infotainment screen.
The one thing I missed on that screen was the claimed economy first given as 80.7mpg and later changed to 78mpg for the 95g/km 1.6-litre Euro 6 turbo diesel producing 100PS.
Try as I might, the average seemed lased-etched at 52.2mpg.
Even zeroing the trip after a couple of thousand miles and starting again, it was soon back to 52.2 – although to be honest it’s rare to get a straight run on an open road!
But the day came when I cracked it, on the usually bad-dream combination of M25 and M1 to Milton Keynes.
For once I kept moving at a reasonable pace – although with 100PS from the 95g/km turbo diesel it’s no racer – and got the average up to 61.3mpg and just over 60mph. Magic!
All in all the Cactus proved a good all-rounder, with the boot readily taking my wife’s wheelchair or, on another occasion, five boxes each containing 20 litres of cleaning fluid – a fair load but it handled superbly.
In terms of travelling accommodation, it was both roomy and comfortable with those wide and supportive front seats – of a good height for transferring to a wheelchair – and the rustic ‘suitcase strap’ effect door and dash trim with a gleam of piano black highlights.
The Cactus looked good too, with the red mirrors specced by our Martyn Collins to complement the Cactus name dash on the rear pillars, and contrasting black alloys and privacy glass.
Yes, as a business car costing just over a tenner a week, or in this financial year more like £14, on BIK and reasonably frugal on fuel, if short of the official calculation, the Cactus is a neat package more likely to stay that way in the hustle and bustle of city life than some other all-shiny showroom rivals.
Citroen C4 Cactus 1.6 HDI 100 Flair – the figures
|Doors and body style||Five-door hatchback|
|P11D:||Was £18,140; now £19,035|
|Engine/gearbox:||1.6-litre 4-cylinder Euro 6 turbo diesel/5-speed manual gearbox|
|Economy (combined) – official/our best:||78.5mpg/ 61.3mpg|
|0-62mph/top speed:||10.7secs/ 114mph|
|Company Car Tax band:||2015/16 -17%; now 19% 2016/17|
|Company car tax at 20% yearly/monthly:||2015/16 – £617/£51; now £723/£60 2016/17|
|Company car tax at 40% yearly/monthly:||2015/16 – £1,234/£103; now £1,447/ £121 2016/17|