30 October 2017

Cactus loses its spikes

Citroën have lost the pair they grew with the revised C4 Cactus.

CITROËN has enjoyed a renaissance under the leadership of Linda Jackson. Re-learning how to make cars with bold designs and quirky innovations. The things that people know and love about the French firm.

The C4 Cactus is one example. A car that has divided opinion. Like Marmite which you’ll either love or hate. It’s rather like – dare I say – a modern-day 2CV. Though, it wouldn’t surprise me if Citroën used the deux cheu veux for inspiration in the making of the Cactus.

A car with a less is more ethos, that’s economical, practical, unpretentious, and comfortable. All in a weird yet wonderful. It’s Citroën with Gallic flamboyancy at its finest and thinking outside the box. The Cactus is a car with a friendly and relaxed nature that really makes it a very likeable one.

Citroën have pretty much nailed it making idiosyncratic cars when it comes to design. As with the C4 Cactus, it is the airbumps. The rubber cladding on the doors, the tailgate, bumpers, and surrounding the headlights. An ingenious solution to tackling the issue of dents and scratches from car park dings. That itself is a great idea. Something that people bought into – as well as customisable colour configurations – were talking and selling points for the C4 Cactus.

The C4 Cactus is to be given a mild revision. It will be riding on a hydraulic set up. Which in no doubt, was inspired from the Hydropneumatic system that Citroën are famous for. Replacing the conventional coil springs and torsion beams that the outgoing car rides on. Furthermore, Citroën has redesigned the seats filled with high density foam. Which in turn, will already enhance the comfortable ride that the Cactus has had glowing reviews about.

Engines are largely unchanged, though there will be a 1.2 litre, 128bhp, turbo-charged, three-cylinder PureTech unit added to the range. Elsewhere, I do hope that Citroën move the fuse box when they make the revised C4 Cactus in right-hand-drive. Which will free up space in the glove compartment. Make the dashboard more user-friendly. Some switches would make it quicker and easier to operate the fans or the air conditioning for example. Not through an infotainment touch screen.

While these are useful updates. To signify the changes, Citroën has also toned down the C4 Cactus’ looks. Shock! Horror! Sure they’ve tidied up and smartened up the front and rear design. But they’ve pretty much scrapped those airbumps – apart from those now on the bottom of the doors albeit a lot smaller. A feature itself being a Cactus hallmark.

It's unmistakably a Citroën. But the biggest shame is that the C4 Cactus has lost some of the character and individuality that I grew to like about it. Something it had in spades. The outgoing C4 was a demonstration of Citroën being proud and daring to be different.

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