That’s right; it has air bubbles on the side! Lets get that out of the way right off the bat. Citroen has stuck big rubber pillows full of air on the sides of its new baby SUV – the Citroen C4 Cactus.
The idea is the Cactus will be resistant to door dings and shopping trolley ‘incidents’ by absorbing any impacts with its bubbly flanks. And since the ‘Airbumps’ are rubber, there’s no paint to chip either.
Right now every manufacturer wants a bigger slice of the huge compact SUV pie. Small SUVs seem to be the more compelling buy for many people these days rather than a hatchback, so it takes innovation like Citroen’s for a latecomer like the Cactus to stand out.
But there’s more to it than a couple of bubble wrap sheets. Citroen says the design approach was all about meeting a specific challenge: to bring customers more of what really matters.
Less expensive fuel bills is certainly one thing that matters, so the car’s highly functional design incorporates a range of lightweight ideas to make the Cactus as fuel efficient as possible.
Two drivetrains are on offer; a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol (81kW/205Nm) with a five-speed manual gearbox, or a 1.6-litre turbo diesel (68kW/230Nm) and six-speed automatic gearbox.
Inside, the Cactus features a wide ‘sofa-style’ bench seat up front with a middle armrest doubling as a storage space. There’s more innovation around the front passenger seat where the airbag has been moved to the roof to open up more room.
The Cactus is highly customisable, which makes sense for a car as individual as it is. Buyers can choose different colours for their inflated door panels and can option matching roof rails and door mirrors. Exterior paint choices are bright and eye-catching, and there’s a choice of wheel designs, interior options and coloured body highlights.
All up, Citroen reckons there are 23,184 Cactii combinations and all of them are available to local customers who pre-order before the end of the year. Pricing starts at $26,990 for the manual turbo petrol, and $29,990 for the auto turbo diesel.