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Citroen dials back the bubbles with revised C4 Cactus

Written by: Neil

Citroen’s C4 Cactus caused a stir three years ago when it hit the market with what was essentially heavy-duty bubblewrap glued to its side doors.

Priced from under £13,000, the jacked-up hatchback was a sales hit and it has now been refreshed to maintain its appeal amongst motorists who want a visually distinctive car but don’t want to pay through the nose for it.

First time around, that heavy-duty bubblewrap we mentioned at the start (officially called AirBumps) took up a hefty amount of real estate on the front and rear doors.

However, they’ve been dialled back considerably for the facelifted model, reduced to little more than the kind of SUV-lite cladding you find on some compact soft-roaders.

As a result, it’s tough to agree with Citroen when it says that the refreshed car’s styling “is as bold and modern as ever”; to us, it now looks as ordinary as the new C3.

Very often, mid-life facelifts involve little more than some new headlights and a few more exterior colour options, so it’s cool that Citroen has applied broader brushstrokes when refreshing the C4 Cactus, but we can’t lie that the near-demise of the divisive AirBumps makes us kind of sad.

Instead, the C4 Cactus’ unique selling point has switched from aesthetic to technical, with the brand’s new suspension system and Progressive Hydraulic Cushions (PHC), creating what it describes as a ‘magic carpet ride’ effect. It is also the first car to feature Citroen’s Advance Comfort seats.

Thankfully, the interior looks largely unchanged, with the basic and minimal design maintaining the free and airy atmosphere of the original. The most noticeable change is the more defined airbag cover on the steering wheel, which actually lends it a more premium feel than before.

The revised engine line-up won’t do much to win over petrolheads, but its range of turbocharged yet efficient petrol and diesel units seem ample performance for the target buyers.

Prices haven’t been confirmed yet, but the revised C4 Cactus will go on sale in the first quarter of 2018.

Stephen Hasley, brand manager at Petrol News, comments: “The AirBumps that made the C4 Cactus instantly recognisable may have been reduced significantly, but not everyone was a fan anyway.

“Citroen seems confident that the car’s other innovations will keep it in the minds of carbuyers.”

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