I knew it. When I previously grumbled about the C4 Cactus’ modest hot weather cabin ventilation performance, I didn’t think I’d experience the reality so soon after closing the lid on my laptop. However, with the cabin temperature reading a balmy 24 degrees, it required more than a few deft prods of the C4’s touchscreen to crank up the fan. And then I had to crank up the volume by a similar margin if I wanted to hear the radio. Do I stay chilled or entertained? Decisions, decisions. It’s 2019 now, and it would be great if car companies could make cabin ventilation fans that don’t sound like industrial wind tunnels at any setting above a gentle tickle. It’s not just the C4 Cactus, but I suspect an additional vent or two would help reduce the need to turn the fan up to 11 on a warm day.
Still, this was not a concern of the elderly relative I collected from the airport recently. No, she was more impressed by the C4’s front seats. You know, the fancy ones designed to be extra comfortable. It’s very easy to become blasé about cars when your job demands that you swap them more frequently than your mobile phone, yet I’m always interested to see what regular people who keep their cars for years think of the latest models.
The C4 does roll a bit in the corners and, with the front seats being flat and wide, lateral support is a little lacking, but my travel weary aunt didn’t seem to mind and was more impressed by the overall impression of comfort. Confirmation that Citroën’s efforts were more than just marketing hype and high praise indeed from the owner of an ancient Nissan Micra. I did have to haul her large and heavy suitcase over the C4’s high boot lip, though. Whether it’s shopping bags, suitcases, wheelchairs or flatpack furniture, this design ‘feature’ niggles me more than Citroën’s decision to ration the number of cabin air vents.
Thank goodness the C4 has the pace to help you forget about such niggles. I’m constantly impressed that a family-size car with ‘only’ 101 French horses can feel so sprightly. Of course, torque plays a big role here, but the well-judged gear ratios make accelerating easy around town and continue to result in 60-plus mpg on individual cross-country jaunts. Factor in those clever front seats and a ride that’s clearly been honed on French back roads in the same way that German cars shine on autobahns, and it’s this collection of attributes that give the car its incredibly pleasing character.
It’s almost enough to make a person forgive the car’s ergonomic quirks, although for something designed to appeal to families, the lack of a USB or even a basic 12-volt power socket for rear seat passengers is puzzling. Or maybe Citroën is trying encourage the revival of non-digital ways of passing the time on long journeys? Anyone for a game of I Spy?
Date arrived 21st October 2018
Fuel economy 70.6mpg (combined) 58.1mpg (on test)
The car’s super-comfortable front seats continue to win people over. Who knew that getting the basics right mattered to people?
Not content with rationing cabin air vents, Citroën’s taken a similar approach with cabin power sockets.