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New Cactus bumps into comfort zone 

CITROEN decided to spike things up big time when it introduced its C4 Cactus to the UK four years ago.

The model certainly stood out from the crowd – especially with those huge airbumps.

If you thought these were a bit over the top the good news is they have almost disappeared.

I say almost because this year’s new model does have smaller bumps lower down on the doors to offer protection from those car park dents.

The new C4 Cactus has a more dynamic look to it – much more stylish than the quirky-looking original model.

It now shares a similar front to other Citroen models, giving it a broader look face-on.

Citroen aimed to provide maximum ride comfort for driver and passengers in its new compact hatchback.

And I reckon it has achieved this to perfection after my first drive.

My test model was a top-of-the-range Flair, powered by Citroen’s Pure Tech 110bhp three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine.

The interior has a familiar Citroen look and it is nice and bright and airy thanks to a huge sunroof.

It’s an uncluttered cabin with controls grouped around a seven-inch touchscreen that was easy to use.

The low-set dashboard features a stylish studded glove box.

Citroen says its improved seating will make passengers feel as comfortable as sitting in their living room armchair.

Featuring a new high-density foam, the seats are very comfortable.

The driver’s seat is height and lumbar adjustable for back support, and with a height and reach adjustable steering wheel it allows you to get the ideal seating position.

I found the perfect fit and reckon this comfy seat would be ideal for long journeys.

The ride comfort is also greatly enhanced with a new suspension innovation.

The Progressive Hydraulic Cushion system is said to provide a ‘magic carpet ride’ by Citroen.

I must admit, the C4 Cactus did go pretty smoothly over some major potholes, and overall ride comfort was excellent.

The test car proved to be a smart performer with its punchy 1.2-litre engine.

It picks away smartly enough with a standstill to 62mph time of 9.4 seconds.

The five-speed manual gearbox worked well in town driving with smooth changes.

There was good mid-range acceleration and with its top speed of 117mph this three-cylinder unit was never too noisy at motorway speeds.

It was agile enough during some driving on country roads, displaying good grip when cornering.

And you also get excellent fuel economy – 51.4mpg urban, 72.4mpg extra urban and 62.8mph combined.

There’s a good-sized boot space of 358 litres that rises to 1,170 litres with rear seats down.

Citroen doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the spec items on the C4 Cactus.

Safety features on the test model included active safety brake, speed limit recognition, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring.

And for drivers on long journeys there’s a coffee break alert – telling you when it is time to take a break after driving for two hours at speeds over just over 43mph.

The Flair in-car entertainment includes DAB radio, MirrorScreen with Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth handsfree and media streaming, and satnav.

Citroen has upped the style and comfort levels on its C4 Cactus and with on-the-road prices starting at £17,270 (test model £19,990) this should prove to be highly attractive in the compact hatchback sector.