27 April 2018

New C4 Cactus arrives, and shifts positioning

The new Citroen C4 Cactus has arrived in Ireland at a starting price of €19,999, writes Brian Byrne.

The car has been moved from the B-SUV segment to the mainstream C-segment in a shift which gives the model access to 19pc more of the market.

In the move it replaces the long-serving C4 hatchback with a car arguably more in tune to the preferences of today's motorists.

Retaining the essential shape of the first generation Cactus, the car's sheetmetal is 80pc new. It is also the first of Citroen's cars to get an innovative suspension which the company calls 'hydraulic cushion', originally developed for the company's World Rally Car vehicles. Over coming years it will be added to every Citroen model, both new and those coming for refresh.

Citroen Ireland's Product Manager Ed Kelleher says the target for the C4 Cactus is to be 'the most comfortable compact hatch on the Irish market', in line with the overall thrust of the brand's 'Advanced Comfort' strategic policy.

The new car retains key elements of its small SUV ethos, including the ground clearance which is now the highest in the C-segment category. In addition to providing occupants with a high-level view of their surroundings, this is also useful for easily getting in and out of the car, and for moving children in and out of car seats.

Chunkier seats with memory foam, a markedly quieter cabin, and a high level of technological and connectivity specification are key to the model's move from niche interest to mass appeal.

Engines are 1.2 petrol with outputs from 110hp-130hp, and a 100hp diesel. An automatic is available.

Marketing manager of Citroen Ireland Louise Murphy says while there has been a marked shift in preference for petrol in Dublin, the diesel option in Citroen cars is still a popular one in rural areas.

There are three grades on offer with the new C4 Cactus, but the expectation is that the main sellers will be the 110hp petrol and the 100hp diesel both in the middle Feel grade. A stronger than segment average of 12pc in automatics is forecast.

MD of Citroen Ireland Pat Ryan says the new car and its repositioning provides the company with 'a great opportunity' to grow sales and market penetration here. Expanding the dealer network is a strong current focus, and he said three or four more dealers will be added in coming months.

Noting the 'challenging market' for 2018, he said the brand is looking forward to a very strong 182 campaign, and a further boost later in the year when the new C5 Aircross arrives.

He expressed satisfaction with Citroen Ireland's progress in the LCV market, helped by a strong order book towards the end of last year.