THERE is good news for those Citroen enthusiasts who remember the glory days with models like the 2CV and DS which gave the French firm a top reputation for producing cars that were funky and fun before they seemed to lose their way and then went through a phase of producing lacklustre models writes Bryan Longworth.
In recent years Citroen has emerged from the doldrums with some very good models but I reckon they could have hit the jackpot with the C4 Cactus that could be a successor to the aforementioned and much loved 2CV in particular which is one of my all time favourite cars.
For the aptly named Cactus with its stylish exterior plastic door pads is a quirky car with French flair that makes it so loveable and in line with those models of yesteryear that were so enjoyable to drive and admire.
The large soft “Airbump” thermoplastic door pads are extremely useful for preventing damage from careless car park door openers and supermarket trolleys but they also give Cactus a tough image and it is a pity that four wheel drive is not offered because it looks like a mini off roader and the body side styling at the rear is similar to that on a Land Rover Evoque.
My test car the C4 Cactus Feel Blue HDi 100 costing £16,690 with bright yellow paintwork attracted a lot of attention wherever it was parked and one admirer knocked on the door window as I was having my lunch in the car to ask about it especially the combined fuel consumption of over 83mpg.
One reason why Cactus is so economical is due to the extensive use of weight saving materials with the bonnet made of aluminium and as a result the car at 965kg is 200kg lighter than the equivalent Citroen C4.
The test car was powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine with a five speed manual gearbox had a top speed of 114mph and a zero to 62mph time of 10.7 seconds with CO2 emissions of 90g/km which means the owner does not have to pay road tax and that is another cost bonus.
On the road I found that Cactus lived up to its fun image with pleasing handling and steering and it was also quite nippy with a rear load area that easily swallowed up a large supermarket shop and other bulky shopping.
I liked the digital speedometer which was very easy to see at all times and the world’s first roof mounted passenger airbag allowed for more dashboard storage space.
The seven inch touch screen digital interface incorporates the controls including radio and heater but I would have preferred manual controls for the heater in particular as it was a tad tedious and distracting having to get them back on screen after looking at other functions.
However, the youngish guy who knocked on the window for more information about Cactus liked the touch screen centre which should have more appeal to younger owners in particular as they are more likely to buy such a car.
But as I said earlier Citroen has managed to design a car that combines the qualities and appeal of legends like the funky 2CV and heralds a new era for the French firm which is good news for those motorists who want something different that will provide plenty of fun and attract many admirers.
Model: Citroen C4 Cactus Feel Blue HDI 100.
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel.
Output 100hp @ 3750rpm.
Transmission: Five speed manual.
Top speed: 114mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 10.7 seconds.
CO2 emissions: 90g/km.