Cac­tus look­ing sharp

Rutherglen Reformer - - Motors -

The strik­ing Citroen Cac­tus is funky, quirky and clever.

It looks like a tough com­pact SUV but is ac­tu­ally a smart fam­ily hatch­back that is gen­uinely in­no­va­tive.

It of­fers a real al­ter­na­tive in the su­per­mini hatch sec­tor and re­ally stands out from the crowd.

The Cac­tus puts the fo­cus on re­duc­ing run­ning costs and weight, and more em­pha­sis on com­fort than sharp han­dling. It is based on C3 un­der­pin­nings, fea­tures bold styling cues and a high- tech in­te­rior with two screens in­stead of the usual but­tons and switches.

The Cac­tus has a unique look. The front end fea­tures high-set LED run­ning lights, while the main lights are part of large plas­tic hous­ings, and the air in­takes are po­si­tioned low on the nose. The whee­larches fea­ture plas­tic ex­ten­sions and the sides of the car are cov­ered in Air­bump pan­els.

The Air­bumps are rub­berised plas­tic cladding with air pock­ets that help to avoid car park dings and scratches. They come in four colours, depend­ing on body colour, while the plas­tic cladding front and rear matches the Air­bump pan­els. Roof bars and nice al­loys com­plete the pic­ture.

In­side, the cabin is smart, mod­ern and orig­i­nal. A slim fas­cia houses the screens and but­tons which are sim­ple and easy to use. There is a sev­eninch touch­screen and an ob­long shaped read­out in front of the driver. The seats are com­fort­able and the driv­ing po­si­tion is fine. There is plenty room for stor­age in­clud­ing a top- open­ing glove­box, while boot space is more than gen­er­ous.

The rear bench folds to free up even more space but it does not of­fer a split fea­ture and the rear win­dows are of the pushout va­ri­ety to help keep weight down.

Equip­ment lev­els are gen­er­ous through­out the range and safety is another strong point. The Cac­tus comes with six airbags, hill start as­sist, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tors and elec­tronic child locks for the rear doors.

The Cac­tus of­fers a choice of petrol and diesel en­gines and the test car fea­tured the 1560cc diesel which is good for 100bhp linked to a five-speed man­ual gear­box. It al­ways felt smooth and will­ing and is good for a top speed of 114mph and takes 10.7 sec­onds to sprint to 62mph.

The com­bined claimed fuel econ­omy fig­ure is a stag­ger­ing 80.7mpg but I did not get £18,090

100bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel en­gine driv­ing front wheels via 5-speed man­ual gear­box

miles

114mph 10.6 sec­onds 80.7

18 92g/km 14% 3yrs/60,000 any­where near that. I still av­er­aged over 60mpg with­out try­ing - so no com­plaints.

The Cac­tus pro­vides a com­fort­able rather than a sport­ing drive but it does han­dle well and deals with our chal­leng­ing roads with­out fuss.

Prices start from £13,000 for petrol en­gined ver­sions and with low emis­sions the range is ex­empt from road tax.

Citroen claim that the Cac­tus will be up to 20 per cent cheaper to run than other fam­ily hatch­backs and com­bined with its strik­ing looks and gen­er­ous equip­ment lev­els it is cer­tainly a tempt­ing pack­age.

Quirky Front light set-up is one of the Cac­tus’ unique fea­tures

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