BLOW ME DOWN: IT’S A GREAT IDEA
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