Citroen C4 Cactus

Flair PureTech 110

Citroen C4 Cactus, yellow, front
Citroen C4 Cactus
Citroen C4 Cactus, front, action
Citroen C4 Cactus, overhead
Citroen C4 Cactus, side
Citroen C4 Cactus, yellow, side
Citroen C4 Cactus, yellow, rear
Citroen C4 Cactus, yellow, interior
Citroen C4 Cactus, yellow, boot

LIKE its spiky, water-hoarding namesake the Citroen C4 Cactus makes a bold statement in what can often be a motoring desert when it comes to originality.

From the in-your-face exterior to the innovative interior it constantly grabs your attention.

In my opinion though, this C4 should have been called the Citroen Iron Man as its face is the spitting image of the Marvel Comics superhero immortalised by Robert Downey Jr who played industrialist and master engineer Tony Stark on the big screen.

Stark builds a colourful suit of armour to fly into battle with the bad guys so he would more than appreciate the efforts of Citroen's engineers who have given the car its own version of armour to protect it from enemy attacks while trimming 200kg off a standard C4.

The weight reduction helps the Cactus powered by the PureTech 110 three-cylinder petrol engine to fly into battle, or rather from 0-62mph, in a shade under ten seconds while boasting low emissions and an average fuel consumption figure of around 60 miles per gallon.

The armour is provided by Citroen's Airbumps - basically plastic panels filled with air bubbles - which defend the side of the car from those ignorant oiks intent on bashing the doors of their old bangers into the side of your pride and joy.

They are available in four colours allowing the Cactus to be customised to your taste with the plastic cladding on the bodywork matching the Airbump panels.

Much like Iron Man's first appearance, zooming around the Californian night sky, the Cactus is impossible to ignore.

The thick gloss black roof bars are a prime example as they look like they've come off a sled. Take the Cactus to the Arctic, turn it upside down and fit a team of huskies to the front and mush - you could be on your way to the North Pole.

Step inside and this C4 is choc full of good ideas including a top-opening glovebox that removes the need for the front-seat passenger to be equipped with shin pads.

This is due to the fact that the lid pops up rather than down towards the legs of the hapless soul next to the driver revealing a roomy, secure storage area.

Other unusual features are luggage handle-inspired door pulls and an oblong shape for the binnacle housing the digital speedometer and gear efficiency indicator which basically tells you when it's best to change up or down.

The cup holder and key tray up front are a hoot as any drink or assorted odds and sods placed in their shallow confines sail across the cabin the moment you take a corner faster than a tortoise.

The dashboard though features an excellent easy-to-use seven-inch tablet which accesses the climate control, satellite navigation and audio systems fitted to the £17,290 Flair model I was let loose on. All mod cons are provided to link with smartphones, iPods and MP3 players.

Other goodies include cruise control, 17-inch alloys, automatic lights and wipers, LED interior illumination, a driver's footrest, a reversing camera, hill start assist and a tyre pressure monitor. Safety is handled by six airbags and a raft of clever electronics.

There is plenty of room for five adults and the boot is more than adequate for a family's needs.

There are a number of optional extras you can add to this Cactus with one I particularly like being the thermally insulated panoramic sunroof which, if you can stretch to the £425 it will cost you, allows a tremendous amount of light into the cabin.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C4 Cactus Flair PureTech 110

Price:£17,290

Mechanical:108bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:117mph

0-62mph:9.3 seconds

Combined MPG:60.1

Insurance Group:16

C02 emissions:107g/km

Bik rating:15%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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