Cactus looking sharp
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
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