It’s been a long time since we have seen something truly different on the roads, something which makes an instant impression. Manufacturers have been playing safe with designs for many years. They seem to have been concentrating more on developing technology for engine efficiency. On the face of it, then, the arrival of the Citroen Cactus is a welcome relief to all that monotony.
The trouble is that there is more than looks to considering a car. And, while the design has an element of Marmite to it, the performance is subject to differing opinions, too. We thought we would take a closer look at the Citroen Cactus and see what all the fuss is about. Let’s get started with a closer look at that design.
Design and build
To say the Cactus is striking to look at would be a slight understatement. It’s an impressive size, of course, but there is one thing that draws the eye in an instant: the padded doors. The family hatchback’s protective plates are on the front and rear doors of both sides. According to Citroen, they make it the world’s first car-parking proof vehicle. Whether that claim is true or not, there is something reassuring about the chunky panels. The bumpy panels are bold, tough, and scream for attention – although whether that is a positive thing or not, depends wholly on the driver.
It’s a good idea in principle, although it’s not something you want to test out. The UK’s parking bays seem to have been built for much smaller cars than we all drive these days. And, there is no doubt that car parks are one of the biggest hazards for scratches, dinks, and dents. It will be interesting to see how effective these new panels are – perhaps the tank-like look will be here to stay? Certainly, Citroen has no qualms about it. They recently announced they intend to continue with their quirky builds long into the future.
While the external look of the Cactus provokes a difference of opinion, there’s no doubt the interior is another story. It’s a rather minimal affair, but with plenty of gadgets to keep you going – a common feature with new Citroen cars. A central touchscreen display works as the hub of your entertainment and GPS, and has plenty of other features, too. It has a tyre pressure monitor and a gear efficiency tracker. Both will help you drive with more efficiency – a core benefit for almost all new cars these days.
The seats are comfortable – but practical rather than luxurious. There is a good-sized glove box, which also has tiny little indents that allow you to place objects on it should you need to. Looking up, there is a panoramic glass sunroof that lets in lots of natural light. It’s another striking piece of design and comes equipped with a UV light filter and heat deflector.
Now we get to the nitty-gritty of the Citroen Cactus – and where it starts to divide opinion even more. It’s unfussy, to say the least, and again, there is an emphasis on practicality rather than power. That said, it speeds along at a decent rate, and is responsive enough to cater for most modern drivers.
It’s a smooth drive, with that there is no doubt. But, as pointed out by Management Today, it doesn’t really excite. But, while it won’t be an attractive option for either boy racer or business professional, that’s not the market Citroen are trying to go for. It’s a family car – and it’s full of family values. Safety, good for long distances, and excellent for efficiency.
In fact, there is no denying the fuel efficiency of the Cactus. In comparison to other compact hatchbacks of its class, it uses more than a third less fuel. So, it’s an ideal option for those that place efficiency as a priority. It’s also better for the environment, with Co2 emissions an impressive 82g/km.
There are petrol and diesel versions available, and it’s with the latter that you will find the most efficiency. It runs at 91.1 miles per gallon – which is exceptional, even in these energy-conscious times. Of course, the adage that diesel is better for long distances rings true here.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the key stats you need to know about the Citroen Cactus. It’s just over four metres long, and almost two metres wide, which puts it into one of the larger classes of hatchbacks. Regarding height, the different versions of the car size up to around 1.5 metres. There is a lot of boot space – up to 1170 litres with the back seats down.
Regarding money, the latest Citroen starts from under £13,000, which isn’t a bad price for what you get. Additions, however, will take that price up to over £18,000, and you can expect a three-year warranty or up to 60,000 miles.
The like-it-or-hate-it look of the Citroen Cactus is a refreshing break from the norm. There are so many similar-looking cars on the roads these days that it is nice to see a manufacturer go with something brave and different. And, for a family car, it certainly gives you a lot of reassurances – especially when you take it into the car park scenario. If you are looking for something quirky and eye-catching, there is a lot here for you.
It’s certainly a good package if you are looking for value, too. Citroen’s unfussy approach to features might leave the number of gadgets lacking somewhat, but it keeps those costs down. You might even save some insurance money, too, thanks to the sturdy Airbump doors.
Overall, it’s a unique looking car; that is comfortable and safe to drive. Other than the design, it’s a no-frills driving experience that might not appeal to the lovers of sports cars, but it’s a safe bet for everyone else.