Man­ual labourer

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Short Cut -

YEAH, it has a funny name and its “air­bumps” are for fend­ing off shop­ping trol­leys. Look be­neath the pan­els and Citroen’s com­pact Cactus is quite a sharp prospect. The petrol vari­ant we drove — 1.2-litre, three-cylin­der turbo with five-speed man­ual — goes for $26,990, which seems a lot. Com­pare it with sim­i­larly spec­i­fied com­peti­tors, add the made-in-France ca­chet, and the Cactus makes an ap­peal­ing case.

There are no hi-tech driver as­sis­tance items but Citroen sweet­ens the deal with a gen­er­ous fea­tures list: re­v­erse cam­era and rear park­ing sonar, de­cent dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity with sat­nav, seven-inch touch­screen, hill start as­sist, cor­ner­ing lights and auto head­lights and wipers, Blue­tooth phone and au­dio, cli­mate con­trol air­con, cruise con­trol, 17-inch al­loys and tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor. Com­fort rates highly, start­ing with gen­er­ously sized front seats and a sup­ple but con­trolled ride from strut front and rudi­men­tary tor­sion beam rear sus­pen­sion. Some engine war­ble is au­di­ble when you work the Cactus hard but other­wise it’s smooth and quiet. Min­i­mal road noise in­trudes de­spite Citroen go­ing to great lengths to cut weight (1020kg). The hinged rear win­dows are a bit iffy. Five stars so it’s top-flight in terms of half a dozen airbags, elec­tronic nan­nies and strong body struc­ture. But front discs and old school rear drum brakes belong in an­other era. Not sporty at all, Cactus is still pro­fi­cient at its in­tended pur­pose as a small, prac­ti­cal, fam­ily wagon that’s eco­nom­i­cal and fun to own and drive. The three-pot engine has a sur­pris­ing turn of speed and is stronger than you’d ex­pect off the line and on the high­way. Out­puts of 81kW/205Nm are what you’d get in reg­u­lar 2.0-litre petrol four but the claim is for 4.7L/100km on premium un­leaded. It causes passers-by to take a good look, which makes you feel bet­ter about your choice of wheels. Plenty of ri­vals, many of them fairly av­er­age. is a good thing and costs in the same range as Cactus. is a front run­ner and looks a mil­lion bucks on the road and can be had for un­der $20K. …. yawn. — nice face shame about the name. pos­si­bly the most di­rect com­peti­tor, is from the same com­pany. is a hand­some al­ter­na­tive. The boxy

comes into the pic­ture, as do the

and We’d hap­pily have the petrol Cactus man­ual. It has sin­gu­lar looks, goes well, has plenty of kit and is easy on fuel.

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