As you know (or not), I received my Citroën C4 Cactus in july. Well, the end of july, to be exact. And now that I have done over 10k kilometers in it, it’s about time for some words.
After having driven all kinds of vehicles for the pas 10 years, I have now come to understand what it is that certain (very) french cars possess, that I probably best describe as character. The cactus definitely has it. Between the excellent front seats, the sticky tyres, the small but quick engine and the excellent steering (well, precise and vague at the same time), I certainly love this car. After 10k with me at the wheel, it still feels, looks and smells new. Now that temperatures are dropping, I have been introduced to the heater, which smelled a little (newish) but heats up the car fast, which I appreciate, as I do not enjoy being cold, especially in the morning. The ETG5 is adequate, pretty smooth, but, as I have said before, the computer makes the car shift gears at odd times sometimes, driven by the desire to be as economical as possible. The engine is great, the tiny 1.2 3cil runs fine, is great at highway speeds, and roars when you push it a little.
The gps is very good. I am still impressed. I have used three different phones in the car and they all work well with the built in bluetooth. Speakers are pretty good for a car of this size and price, more than adequate.
If you want to get rolling fast from a full stop, you’re in for a surprise. The cactus will do it, but it’s not very smooth or otherwise sophisticated. Then again, it is not a full automatic, and this is where it shows. At a red light, when driving off, and a car in front of you decelerates, you let go of the gas, and the transmission clearly doesn’t like you. I suspect that at that point the transmission is getting ready to upshift, and needs time to change that plan. As a result, the robot quickly clutches, and it feels like the first time you drive a manual, the car shakes as if you made a mistake. It’s pretty annoying, but you get used to it. When you pick up speed, all is fine and the car does its job as usual.
When you come to a red light, and you start braking, the car starts to downshift, resulting sometimes in slight stutters as each time it downshifts, it slows the engine just a little faster than you are braking. It is probably me, I like a smooth and calm driving style, I probably wouldn’t notice this if I drove around like a dutch man (always go full speed and hard brake everywhere for some reason).
Sometimes the car turns the engine off at the moment you want to pick up speed, and it takes a moment for the car to realise you just lifted your foot of the break and you would like to engine to start.
A few weeks back, I got rear ended at a light. Fortunately, it was minor damage but I was still pretty upset, and I was with my whole family on the way to school. Everybody is fine though, and we have mostly forgotten the whole thing. I got the chance to drive a Toyota Auris Hybrid Station while the cactus was being fixed up, and that wasn’t a bad experience either.
The kids love it. I really enjoy it. I just took the kids to stay with their grandparents in Belgium for the weekend, and the drive is just great. I don’t race, I usually keep it around 111km/h (which looks great on that funky dashboard), and it is nice and comfortable, not too loud, just fine.
The car is humble. It has a nice presence from the outside, but it still is the gentle little Citroën, inside and out. I really like that aspect. As it is small, it parks easily anywhere.