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Future models - Citroen - C4 Cactus

Citroen C4 Cactus goes auto

Self serve: The Cactus went on sale in March 2016, but the petrol variant was only offered with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Automatic transmission finally coming for petrol-powered Citroen C4 Cactus crossover

Citroen logo31 Jan 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

UPDATED: 6.15pmCITROEN has finally added an automatic transmission to its petrol-powered C4 Cactus crossover, and the much-needed auto is set to hit Australian shores in the second half of 2017.

Since the quirky high-riding hatch was launched in Australia in early 2016, the 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol variant has only been available with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel variant is only offered with a much maligned six-speed single-clutch automated manual gearbox.

The new six-speed “fully automatic” transmission will be offered in UK-spec models from February on, but more specific timing beyond the second half of 2017 for Australia is unclear.

The transmission is paired with PSA’s PureTech 110 S&S petrol engine,which the company points out has won its category in the International Engine of the Year awards in 2015 and 2016.

The transmission features a ‘creep’ function for use in congested traffic and the French car-maker says it delivers “smooth power delivery, ultra-fast gear changes and dynamic efficiency”.

Fuel economy for the UK-spec auto petrol Cactus converts to 5.1 litres per 100km, which is slightly thirstier than the 4.7L/100km of the five-speed manual.

While pricing is yet to be confirmed for Australia, it will likely come with a premium over the manual version which is sold from $26,990 plus on-road costs.

The diesel costs $29,990.

Sales of the C4 Cactus have been slow since its March 2016 launch, but with 226 registrations last year, it is the best selling passenger vehicle in Citroen’s Australian line-up.

The car-maker’s overall best seller remains the Berlingo light commercial van, which found 315 homes last year – a 5.7 per cent improvement over last year – while the Grand C4 Picasso rounds out the top three with 126 sales.

In its segment, however, the C4 Cactus remains something of a niche offering, with its competition coming from PSA sister brand Peugoet’s 2008 (359 sales) and 3008 (108), as well as the Fiat 500X (599) and Skoda Yeti (489).

Other quirky offerings in the sub-$40,000 small SUV segment are well ahead in terms of sales. The Nissan Juke found 2382 homes last year, while Jeep’s Renegade hit 1051 sales.

Citroen launched a limited edition Rip Curl C4 Cactus in September, which is still being advertised on the company’s website for $27,990 driveaway.

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