Citroen’s bubble-wrapped Cactus dares to be different, and doesn't lose touch.
WHAT IS IT?
Citroen’s oh-so-Frenchy and chic compact SUV that’s big on X-factor. Its colourful and characterful concept car looks wrap a practical package that urban dwellers should find easy to live with.
WHY WE’RE TESTING IT
It’s a brand new car and a bold entry into the baby high-rider segment for Citroen. The French carmaker says its unconventional appearance isn’t different just for the sake of it. We find out whether it’s a step too far, and whether Citroen remembered to build a car that’s good to drive once the quirks are set aside.
THE WHEELS VERDICT
Its styling will polarise, but if you fall in love with the charisma of the Cactus, you won’t be let down by the way it drives, or its usefulness. A utilitarian nature is part of the Cactus charm, and a result of Citroen’s traditionally French approach, valuing practicality, comfort and fun. There’s polish to its ride and handling, and the 1.2-litre petrol is a triumph of engineering. Sadly, the semi-auto gearbox does spoil the diesel engine option.
PLUS: Cheap to run, fun to look at, genuinely practical, supple ride
MINUS: no proper auto gearbox, driving position not good for taller folk
Model: 2016 Citroen C4 Cactus
Engine: 1199cc 3cyl, dohc, 12v, turbo
Max power: 81kW@5500 rpm
Max torque: 205Nm@1500rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual
0-100km/h: 9.3sec (claimed)
Fuel economy: 4.7L/100km
On sale: Now
Who do you think deserves to win the 2017 COTY title? Cast your vote for a chance to win $1,000.
Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.