Citroën has unveiled the new C4 Cactus, the first model in Europe to feature the brand’s new suspension system with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions™ (PHC), creating what they call a ‘magic carpet ride’ effect.
It is also the first vehicle in the world to boast Advanced Comfort seats.
Following the successful launch of New C3 in 2016, this new compact model blends the personality of the C4 Cactus with the class-leading comfort of the C4 hatchback and includes the addition of segment essentials, such as 12 driver assistance systems, three connectivity technologies and a revised engine line-up, with power units now developing up to 130hp.
The new model has a broad and ‘expressive’ front end, restyled wings and doors, as well as a new rear end design. Its 2.60m wheelbase and short overhangs “ensure compact dimensions for excellent agility and handling, while providing all the spaciousness expected in this segment”.
It features classic Citroën graphic elements underscoring the body shape, including Airbump® panels on the lower parts of the doors, a floating roof, Citroën’s signature two-tier front end and a broad 3D-effect LED light signature at the rear. There is also a multitude of exterior customisation possibilities, with nine body colours and four Colour Packs giving customers the chance to express their own individual personality.
Citroën says the car boasts extraordinary ride comfort thanks to the implementation of the new suspension system with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions™ (PHC), which filters out road imperfections and “gives passengers the feeling of travelling on a magic carpet”.
PHC is a Citroën innovation that will be rolled out on future models: Citroën’s expertise in the field of suspension is undisputed. For 98 years, suspension comfort has been embedded in the brand’s genes and drawing on the know-how of its engineers, Citroën has developed the new suspension system to further improve the ride quality that is so typical of the brand.
Some 20 patents were filed in the development of the new suspension system. The way it works is quite simple. Whilst conventional suspension systems use a shock absorber, a spring and mechanical bump stops at each corner of the car, the Progressive Hydraulic Cushions™ (PHC) system adds two hydraulic stops on each suspension unit to replace the mechanical stops. There is one hydraulic stop for compression and one for decompression. The suspension therefore works in two stages to match how the car is being used.
For light compression and decompression, the springs and shock absorbers control the vertical movements, with no assistance required from the hydraulic stops. However, the presence of these new hydraulic stops means the engineers have greater freedom in the car’s set-up, allowing them to offer a ‘magic carpet ride’ with the impression that the car is gliding over uneven ground.
During major impacts, the springs and shock absorbers work together with the hydraulic compression or decompression stops that gradually slow the movement to avoid sudden jolts at the end of the range. Unlike a traditional mechanical stop, which absorbs energy and then returns part of it as a rebound, the hydraulic stop absorbs and dissipates this energy.
“Citroën’s objective is to be the benchmark in terms of comfort. And, as a mainstream brand, to bring this all-new comfort to the greatest number of people. With New C4 Cactus and the introduction of the new suspension with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions™, we are bringing motorists an original compact hatchback fully in tune with its times,” says Linda Jackson, Citroën CEO.
With its ‘ideal’ proportions – one-third glass and two-thirds bodywork – and a height of 1.48m (the segment average), the new model is strong on aerodynamics. It is topped by a floating roof supported by gloss black pillars set around the car. The glazed area extends around the entire body, which serves to highlight the rear quarter-lights that are fast becoming a classic Citroën design feature.
It is equipped with wheel-arch and sill protection, together with new slimmer Airbump® panels on the lower parts of the doors. This combines to make the new model the most resistant to minor damage in the compact hatchback segment, which keeps vehicle repair costs down to a minimum.
The interior features a low-set dashboard that houses a central console and a fully digital instrument panel displaying all essential driving information grouped around the 7-inch touchscreen.
All passengers benefit from a feeling of space thanks to the panoramic glass sunroof that features a high level of thermal protection. The sunroof is designed to let the light in, whilst guarding against glare. In fact, it blocks out heat and UV rays to the same degree as Category-4 sunglasses.
Acoustic insulation is essential for driving comfort and extensive tests were carried out, resulting in the use of thicker glass, modifications to the rear windows, updates to the sealing joints around all the opening panels, the use of an acoustic windscreen and the specification of more sound-deadening material throughout the car.
It also offers intuitive systems to ensure continuity between the driver’s digital world and their car, ensuring they can stay connected, navigate to a destination or enjoy the multimedia content and apps on their smartphone by replicating and controlling them via the 7-inch touchscreen.
Power comes from PureTech 3-cylinder petrol engines (International Engine of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017 for the PureTech 110 and PureTech 130) and BlueHDi diesel engines.
The highest-performance version is available with the turbocharged PureTech 130 S&S mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The PureTech 110, also turbocharged, is available with a 5-speed manual gearbox (PureTech 110 S&S manual) or the EAT6 6-speed automatic gearbox. The entry-level model is powered by the PureTech 82 with a manual gearbox.
Also available is the BlueHDi 100 manual and the BlueHDi 100 S&S manual. In the autumn of 2018, it will be available with a diesel engine combined with an automatic gearbox.
The local agents couldn’t tell me when the new Cactus will arrive in Cyprus, but I will hazard a guess that it will be early next year.