Citroen strike blow for individuality

Where to begin is the thing with the snazzy Citroen C4 Cactus, a car that gives a lot visually and then some in terms of the drive and a top heavy specification sheet.

Where to begin is the thing with the snazzy Citroen C4 Cactus, a car that gives a lot visually and then some in terms of the drive and a top heavy specification sheet.

Citroen could never be accused of being bland, or lacking in adventure. With the C4 Cactus they are as true to the innovative Citroen style and spirit as they have ever been. You won’t drive this car without being noticed.

Much of the reason for that is the unique Airbump technology fitted to the front and rear doors. They are tough, air filled thermoplastic polyurethane capsules that protect the doors from minor bumps. You know the sort; people slapping their door against your car when they park too close in the supermarket car park or whatever.

Anyway, depending on the body colour of the car, the Airbumps can be stand out or reserved in appearance, but you won’t miss them. The thing is, they are a practical application. The other thing is, how many people would really want them?

In a city like Paris where some drivers bump into your parked car as a sort of guiding mechanism, Airbump technology would get the thumbs up. Hereabouts, the thing would be whether or not you view them as stylish.

The C4 Cactus besides? Prices start at €17, 795 for one of the three petrol options. There is the choice of two diesel engines and three trim levels, Touch, Feel and Flair. My drive was in the economical, strong kicking the Blue HDi 100 (73kw). Quoted returns of over 83mpg on the combined cycle weren’t too over stated.

Good drive. Very good returns!

The body shape is all smooth curves, with what appear higher than usual wheel arches and it is topped by what appear to be inverted snow skies as roof rails. Nice, different actually! The test car, the top end Flair version, came with red wing mirrors (€50 extra) that stood out against a grey body. Different too!

You could go through virtually the entire list of features and use the word - different. That is the C4 Cactus. Nothing mundane. The obliging.

The interior lay-out is different, with a 7” Touch Drive interface used to control all primary vehicle functions, dominating the centre of the dash. Square shaped front seats are very comfortable and the C4 Cactus comes with a generous, deep boot.

It if is something different you want, check it out, and know that here is a car working to bring down driving costs. Remember the mpg figure quoted. Annual road tax on the top end mod is €180. Think smart here!

Standard specification - ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and emergency brake assistance, electronic stability control, Hill Start Assist, cruise control with speed limiter, driver, front passenger and curtain airbags, two real Isofix mounting points, remote central locking, Airbump technology, LED daytime running lights, front electric windows, 7” Touch Drive interface (to control all primary vehicle functions), steering wheel controls, RDS radio/MP3 player. Additions to Flair version - 17” diamond cut Cross alloy wheels, frtong fog lights with cornering function, dark tinted rear windows, heated door mirrors, front arm rest, Auto Pack (automatic air con, lights and windscreen wipers, additional USB socket), navigation and hi-fi pack.

Citroen C4 Cactus Blue HDi 100 Flair, 5-speed manual, €23,845; 1,560cc, 4-cylinders, 73kw at 3,750rpm, 254Nm at 1,750rpm; maximum speed 114mph, 0 to 62mph in 10.7 seconds; consumption (with 17” wheels on Flair version) 3.8l/100klm (74.3mpg urban), 3.2 (88.3mpg extra urban), 3.4 (83.1mpg combined); C02 emissions 89g/km; annual road tax €180.