Citroen Cactus near Cockermouth.. PHOTO © M.BOBBITT

Quirky with its door-mounted air bumps and typically idiosyncratic to match its Double Chevron insignia, the Cactus quickly gained a reputation for being desirably different in a world of new car sameness.

Citroen Cactus.. PHOTO © M.BOBBITT

In restyling and redesigning the Cactus, Citroën has smoothed away some of the rather likeable rugged features which gave this practical mid-size car its stand-out-from- the-crowd identity. It’s still agreeably distinctive though, and with making a bold statement will attract those customers wanting to dodge those mainstream lookalikes.

Like them or not, the air bumps have shrunk to become narrow protection pods at the door bottoms. The frontal shape now mirrors Citroën’s corporate styling in line with the Picasso MPV which, incidentally, has been rebranded as the SpaceTourer. Inside, the Cactus benefits from probably the most comfortable seating of any car on


the market, thus recalling the marque’s reputation for plushness. It’s definitely a case of sitting in rather than sitting on the plumply cushioned and padded Advanced Comfort seats which stand up wonderfully to long-distance driving. The dashboard has retained its characteristically eccentric layout with its absence of dials, all the information that’s needed being relayed digitally upon a rectangular screen the size of a smart phone in line with the driver’s vision. Infotainment is right up to speed gracing a small tablet- size panel in the centre of the dashboard and carries a top class audio unit along with a sat nav of impressive clarity. In Flair trim, the Cactus is especially well-equipped and comes with a full-length panoramic glass roof as well as a reversing camera.

Out of sight and only noticeable when you’re least expecting it, is Citroën’s latest suspension technology. The Cactus is the first model to receive the new type of springing which is to be rolled out across the entire range of cars. Under normal conditions, the softly sprung Cactus doesn’t feel much different than before, and it’s only when traversing rough surfaces with their peaks and troughs that you notice it doesn’t noisily and roughly jolt and bump as do other vehicles. It’s all down to the hydraulic cushions which are built into the dampers to save the shock absorbers reaching their limits of travel with unnerving results. The Cactus, therefore, has a particularly relaxed ride without losing out to any road feel.

Citroen Cactus interior.. PHOTO © CITROËN UK PRESS

The steering hasn’t got the planted stance as you might expect, but it’s something you quickly get used to and which is precise nevertheless. The gear change is slick, and the brakes require only the lightest pressure for confident pulling up.

The test car’s 1.5 litre diesel engine is exceptionally smooth and quiet as well as being economical. Though the manual transmission is a six-speed affair, top gear acceleration is noticeably lacking, thus it’s more an overdrive along with a need to drop a ratio when overtaking or tackling anything more but the most modest incline. For general family motoring the 1.2 litre three-cylinder petrol engine suits the car and is more fun to drive.

Malcolm Bobbitt

*Cactus in Flair trim supplied by Citroën UK. Prices start at £17,970; model as tested, £21,535. Economy, 70.6mpg (60mpg on test), top speed 118mph.

ISSUE 428 | 23 AUGUST 2018 | 17

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60