The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Carsguide Confidenti­al -

THE world’s big­gest hand­bag is called a car. A Prada bag might have more style but ca­pac­ity is the key fac­tor here. Even so, mod­ern cars are not as good in the dash­board and glove­box as some­thing from 50 years ago.

What started as a lit­er­ally small box for gloves in the 1920s is mostly the same in 2016 and very few cars pass the age-old Mel­bourne test of car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity. It’s all about the abil­ity to fit a Mel­way, the old-school printed street di­rec­tory, into the glove­box.

But there is hope and it comes from the kings of quirk­i­ness at Citroen. In the Cac­tus, the French brand’s en­gi­neers have re­lo­cated the pas­sen­ger airbag from the dash­board to the roof.

It’s a move that frees up a huge amount of ar­chi­tec­ture and also pro­vides more cush­ion­ing via a big­ger bag that spreads fur­ther across the wind­screen as it ex­plodes down­wards in­stead of fir­ing up and back.

It also means the Cac­tus, the first of Citroen’s new breed of ve­hi­cle, leads the new-gen­er­a­tion space race with a gi­ant glove­box that will be wel­comed by women driv­ers in par­tic­u­lar.

The top-drawer airbag al­lows a lower dash­board for im­proved out­ward vi­sion and greater room for the pas­sen­ger’s knees — the dash can be pushed fur­ther for­ward be­neath the wind­screen — and if the pas­sen­ger can slide for­ward a lit­tle, there’s also more legroom for the rear oc­cu­pant on that side.

Citroen has plans for roof­mounted front airbags in a run of fu­ture mod­els. It would be good to see ri­vals ex­plore the same path, be­cause this is not just another Citroen quirk.

Be­yond quirky: Citroen Cac­tus’s ca­pa­cious glove­box and airy dash setup

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