Motors: Citroen Cactus bristles with vivacity
If price and economical motoring are your priorities -and you can stand a rash of 'prickly' comments - then the Citroen Cactus should be on your shopping list.
Its unique cross-over style design with bright mix-'n'-match exterior plastic door panels, wing mirrors and roof rails make it stand out on the road. Younger drivers who love to personalise their cars will love it, but more conservative drivers will avoid it on looks alone.
Citroen has always brought controversial styling to the fore to attract attention to new models, but developments in the Cactus are more substantial than the plastic air bubbles on the doors and in the bumpers to prevent minor bumps and scratches.
This version of the Cactus is based on the DS3 platform and is 200kg lighter than the C4, so Citroen says running costs are 20pc lower. They claim a 3.1L/100km (76mpg) consumption figure for a diesel version with C02 emissions down to 83g/km, attracting the lowest possible road tax. And this c-segment car, which will compete with the likes of the Ford Focus, has an equally attractive sticker price - €17,795 for the entry-level petrol version.
Citroen believes the Cactus will attract 400 sales next year and there is a good choice of body colours (10) and engines - three petrol and two diesel engines options. At least 70pc of sales will go to the HDi and Blue HDi diesel power plants but the Pure Tech petrol engines, like VW's TSI engine range, are now attracting more attention because of the lower initial purchase price and their diesel-rivalling economy. Urban low-mileage drivers should choose petrol, even if residuals may be slightly lower. A light steering with good visibility make for easy driving.
A roof-mounted passenger airbag helps create more storage space up front and the boot is generous - 385 litres, expanding to 1,170 litres when the rear seat is folded. There are three trim levels with the top-of-the-range Flair with the Blue HDi 100 with 89g/km coming in at €23,845. The level of trim here is generous with automatic air conditioning, lights and wipers, parking camera and navigation packs included.