CITROEN will launch its first B-segment compact crossover in January, targeting the just-released Mazda CX-3, Renault Captur, Honda HR-V and Peugeot 2008.
Dubbed C4 Cactus (despite using the ‘PF1’ underpinnings of the smaller C3 rather than the larger C4 small car), the high-riding five-seat five-door hatchback is likely to land offering a pair of downsized turbo powerplants.
The base model is expected to offer a development of the 1.2-litre turbo three-cylinder Pure Tech petrol engine in five-speed manual guise, while automatic buyers will be catered for by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder HDi turbo-diesel.
However, the auto will be a clutchless automated gearbox, dubbed ETG in Citroen-speak, rather than a regular torque-converter, CVT or dual-clutch transmission as offered in rival products.
The Aisin-supplied six-speed auto is expected to be fitted to the 1.2 Pure Tech from a later date.
There will be no all-wheel-drive offering.
While exact pricing is unknown this far out from the launch, the range should mirror most competitors by sitting in the $25-35K bracket.
Citroen Australia general manager John Startari said the Cactus has the potential to be his company’s best-selling model.
“It’s going to depend on final pricing and specification, but the C4 Cactus has the potential to be our most popular model,” he told Wheels.
“In fact, we are already holding a number of pre-orders for the vehicle ahead of its local introduction.”
As we reported last October, the C4 Cactus was initially to be offered only in a left-hand drive, until the company cottoned on to its potential wider appeal
Among the Citroen’s more distinctive elements are its ‘Airbump’ technology (pockets of bubbles imbedded in the plastic side cladding to help stop minor impact damage), roof-mounted front passenger airbag (liberating dashboard space for more storage), liquid rather than spray for the windscreen washer jets, door pulls and pop-open rear-door windows.
Some of these features help reduce the cost of manufacture.
Additionally, there are almost 100 different variant combinations thanks to a wide colour, trim and option palette, further boosting the newcomer’s youth-baiting brief.
As with all of the Peugeot-Citroen group’s B-segment hatchbacks, the front suspension employs MacPherson struts while the rear end uses a simple torsion beam.