Citroen C4 Cactus: retains AirBumps, weighs under 1 tonne, uncertain for Oz

The new Citroen C4 Cactus is one of the most radical production cars to see the light of day in recent years, but it’s availability in Australia depends on whether Citroen decides to produce the car in right-hand drive.

Unlike Subaru, which produces lovely concept cars and underwhelming production versions, the Citroen C4 Cactus stays pretty true to the template laid out by the Cactus Concept. Major changes have been limited to framed side windows, visible door handles, larger wing mirrors, and working headlights.

Oh, and the concept car’s HybridAir drivetrain that utilises a petrol engine and a compressed air tank to store recovered energy. That’s been replaced with a selection of Peugeot/Citroen petrol and diesel motors paired with automatic engine stop/start.

The most noticeable part of the C4 Cactus’ exterior design are the prominent AirBumps, which carry over practically unchanged from the concept car. Filled with air and made from thermoplastic polyurethane, present on the front and rear bumpers, and doors, the AirBumps are designed to provide protection from common inner city scrapes, such as bump parking. There’s also a two-part headlight design, similar to the one used on the Jeep Cherokee, where LED driving lights sit high and stand out, while the low and high beams are dark, recessed and hiding in plain view.

Inside, the concept car’s impressively decluttered interior is kept pretty much intact. A simple rectangular LCD instrument panel replaces the oversized set of dials and screens seen on most vehicles, while most of a dashboard’s buttons are relocated to prominently located 7-inch touchscreen. To keep the space taken up by the dashboard to a minimum, as well as improve storage ahead of the passenger, the front passenger’s airbag has been relocated from the dash to the ceiling.

Despite being based on the rather anonymous C4 hatch, the C4 Cactus is an impressive 200kg lighter. Part of this comes down to Cactus’ reduced length — it’s 20cm shorter at the rear compared to the C4 hatch. But Citroen has also paired practical design, good looks and aggressive minimalism to the car’s impressively styled interior: the door pulls are leather straps and the rear windows don’t wind down, rather they’re cheaper and lighter pop-out models.

Although the focus is on reduction, the C4 Cactus isn’t without features. There’s sat nav, a panoramic glass roof, interactive on-board manual, reversing camera, automated parking assistance, and online connectivity.

The C4 Cactus is available with either a manual or automated clutchless transmission; the latter features a paired down control system featuring a simple P/D/R selector on the lower dashboard and paddles behind the steering wheel for changing gears.


Length: 4,160mm (-170mm compared to the Citroen C4 hatch)
Width: 1,730mm (-60mm)
Height: 1,480mm (-10mm)
Wheelbase: 2,600mm (unchanged)
Boot space: 358L

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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]