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New Citroen C4 Cactus: petrol power for company car drivers

  • Most powerful three-cylinder petrol engine now available
  • Weirdness dialled down; smaller Airbumps on latest version
  • Read our full new Citroen C4 Cactus review

Somewhat sanitised styling is not the only change to the Citroen C4 Cactus range that’s likely to make it more appealing to fleet buyers in 2018 – the introduction of a 131hp 1.2-litre turbo petrol could be the engine to persuade user choosers away from the popular BlueHDi diesel.

Less daring styling for the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus

Despite the removal of many of the industrial-strength bubble wrap Airbumps from the old model, this latest Citroen is still recognisably a C4 Cactus. Rather than being all-new, it’s in fact a very clever facelift, with the front and rear wings, plus the roof, carried over from its predecessor.

Citroen C4 Cactus front dynamic

Citroen’s marketing department has also repositioned the Cactus within the French brand’s range – it’s now firmly a hatchback rather than an SUV/crossover/jacked-up-hatch (call it what you will and delete as applicable).

This helps distinguish it from the more overtly SUV models – the C3 Aircross and forthcoming C5 Aircross – as well as filling the void left by the outgoing C4 hatchback.

Citroen C4 Cactus PureTech 130 BIK advantage

Complementing the revised Citroen C4 Cactus’s styling is the introduction of a 131hp turbocharged petrol engine known as PureTech 130.

It’s a punchy little motor and one that already sees service in a suite of other models including the DS 3, Peugeot 308 and Vauxhall Grandland X. It’s the first time it’s been available in the Cactus, though, with a six-speed manual gearbox also making its debut in this model.

Given the Cactus’s lightness – it weighs just 1,045kg – the PureTech 130 unit gives the Citroen pace that borders on hot hatch territory. Top speed is 120mph, while the 0-62mph sprint takes 8.7 seconds.

Compare that with the 99hp BlueHDi 100 alternative for a more sedate 114mph top speed and a 10.7-second requirement for the 0-62mph dash.

Citroen C4 Cactus rear dynamic

More importantly for user choosers, with CO2 emissions of 110g/km in range topping Flair specification the PureTech 130 has the same 21% Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) tax rate as the diesel-fuelled BlueHDi 100 version at 2017/18 rates.

With a P11D value of £20,470 for the PureTech 130 and £20,720 for the BlueHDi 100, a 20% tax payer will face monthly bills of £72 and £73, respectively.

Factor in realigned rates for 2018/19 and the petrol Cactus has a BIK of 23%, the diesel 24%. Assuming P11D values remain constant, the petrol Cactus will have a monthly figure of £78 compared with the diesel’s £83.

Not a huge difference, certainly, but it’s £60 over the year that’s in your pocket rather than HMRC’s coffers, plus the PureTech’s a quicker, more refined car to drive.

But isn’t the Citroen C4 Cactus BlueHDi 100 more economical?

On paper the BlueHDi 100-engined C4 Cactus kicks the PureTech 130 version into shape with its far superior economy.

Citroen’s official figures put the diesel on an average of 80.7mpg, the petrol on 58.9mpg, making the latter the least efficient in the range.

Citroen C4 Cactus dashboard

However, our experience of running the original C4 Cactus with the BlueHDi engine suggests a real-world figure around 52mpg is more likely, while the petrol’s expected to be closer to 42mpg based on our tests of it in other models.

If you’re regularly going to drive your C4 Cactus on long motorway slogs then the diesel may still have the edge, but if your annual mileage isn’t especially high, or if you predominantly cover shorter, urban journeys, then the PureTech 130 is the wiser company car choice.

Find out what we make of the quirky new hatch with Parkers’ full Citroen C4 Cactus review