Citroen C4 Cactus gets hatchback facelift

The Citroen C4 Cactus gets mid-life refresh, morphing into a conventional hatch with fresh design, suspension and two new engine options.

The Citroen C4 Cactus has been given a mid-life facelift, three years after the French firm’s funky compact crossover first landed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

Gone is the car’s distinctive, Airbump-plastered look, replaced by more conventional hatchback styling. A new look, new cabin comforts and more powerful engines are also on the menu, plus Citroen’s latest suspension technology.

The refreshed design marks a departure from the original’s chunky crossover appearance. The new C4 Cactus steps more towards a standard family hatchback in terms of how it looks, as the firm intends to place more distance between its established cars and its new Aircross range of crossovers and SUVs.

The front end of the new C4 Cactus takes heavy inspiration from its smaller C3 sibling. At the front you’ll notice the new chrome strip and badge arrangement, connecting to tweaked headlamps with new LED daytime running lights. The nose appears cleaner too, with less in the way of black plastic cladding and more body-coloured surfaces.

Noticeably, Citroen has pared back the Cactus’s Airbump panels. On the new car, the soft plastic elements are much more discreet, lining the bottom edges of the car rather than being placed high up on the doors and hatchback lid. The new tailgate is much cleaner in appearance than before, with a restyled rear bumper and new horizontal taillights.

The fresh design results in slightly shorter front and rear overhangs, for a more compact look than before. It’s just as customisable though, with buyers offered a total of 31 different exterior colour combinations and a choice of five alloy wheel designs.

In contrast to the large-scale exterior shake up, the car’s cabin is virtually unchanged, retaining its spacious dimensions and horizontal design. However, Citroen claims it’s a more comfortable place to sit, thanks to the usage of a new, thicker high-density foam in the Advanced Comfort seats.

Visually, the seats are plusher looking than before, and are supposedly inspired by the iconic soft looking padded seats found in many of the brand’s older family cars. It should be quieter in the cabin too, thanks to additional sound insulation and thicker windows.

The facelifted C4 Cactus will be the first car the firm sells in Europe to make use of the new Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension technology. The new system adds two hydraulic stops in place of the traditional single mechanical setup. Citroen claims that the new hydraulic stops are better at dissipating energy when the car hits potholes and bumps in the road, keeping the car flat and improving the ride quality. The firm says it should improve comfort at lower speeds – as well as on smoother roads, too.

Headline tech on the refreshed C4 Cactus includes autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, and a driver attention warning system paired with a coffee break alert, which signals after two hours of highway driving. Blind spot monitoring, park assist and a reversing camera linked to the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system will also be available, alongside Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a MirrorLink app for smartphones.

Under the bonnet, the C4 Cactus will continue with the same selection of three-cylinder petrol and four-cylinder diesel engines, as well as two new top-of-the-range units. The first is a turbocharged PureTech 130 unit mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, delivering 128bhp. It’ll sit above the PureTech 110 and entry-level PureTech 82 options. The BlueHDi 100 diesel will be joined in autumn 2018 by a more powerful auto-only BlueHDi 120 diesel option.

With the new car only just revealed, final UK specifications including the powertrain line-up and trim levels are still to be finalised. Cars will arrive in showrooms early next year.

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