CITROEN will release a second small-car series in the unlikely shape of the C4 Cactus hatch/crossover.
The Holden Trax and Nissan Juke rival is due in the latter half of 2015, as the high riding chunky five-door with air bubbles on the side (to help protect against parking dings) has struck a chord with European consumers, prompting the Australian importers to fast-track its arrival.
According to Citroen’s marketing manager for Australia, Dimitri Andreatidis, the Cactus has the X factor to change the way buyers see the brand – particularly if its price stays south of the $20,000 mark as some pundits are predicting.
“We think the Cactus would really appeal to Australian consumers,” he said. “It has the potential to lift the image of the brand significantly.”
The somehow-retro styling is repeated inside with lounge-style front seat cushions, a very low dashboard header (the upshot of moving the airbags from behind the fascia to the roof), quaint door pulls and old-fashioned pop-open rear-door windows. The latter two items – while looking cool – are also money-saving items to help keep that price down.
Yet the digital instrumentation, tablet-like central touchscreen with its ‘MirrorLink’ smartphone mimicking interface, automatic parking system, reverse camera and hill-hold braking feature are all nods to modernity.
Which drivetrain derivatives end up Downunder is uncertain, but in Europe two 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol units (in naturally aspirated and turbo) and a 1.6-litre HDi four-pot turbo-diesel are available.
Part of the Cactus’ initial European success is down to keen pricing – a move afforded by the low-cost 208-based front-drive architecture consisting of MacPherson-type struts up front and a simple torsion beam rear end – even though the hatch is roughly the same size as the regular C4.
Like what you see? Watch this space.