MOST motorists will know that if you want something a bit quirky, out-of-the-ordinary to drive then take a look at a Citroen.
The latest incarnation from the French car maker is the Cactus Rip Curl which is described as a special edition particularly for those younger drivers who are heavily into surfing - hence the tie-up with the well-known Australian beach and surf equipment maker.
The Rip Curl is based on the Cactus Flair model and for about another Â£500 buyers certainly get a stand-out surf-themed car that's eye-catching with its white door mirrors and roof rails to carry surf boards plus 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels along with Goodyear all-weather tyres and plenty of Rip Curl graphics all over it.
Inside there are more cosmetic frills and extras such as bright orange seatbelts, floor matting and the like plus chrome finishes here and there and bi-tone leather steering wheel, all making this special edition even more different and quirky than the normal family-going Cactus with its Airbump protective side panels.
The Rip Curl car has Peugeot's Grip Control - already seen in the 2008 Crossover and no tnormally available on the Cactus - which has its name suggests provides an adaptive traction control system with a simple switch offering extra grip for driving in mud, snow or sand conditions an ideal for those heading for beaches to go surfing.
It's well equipped too with a panoramic sunroof, reverse parking camera, sat nav, cruise control and much more so overall its basic starting on the road price of Â£18,840 is attractive and value for money.
There's a choice of two engines - either an excellent three-cylinder 1.2-litre 110bhp turbocharged petrol unit, again already well received in other small Peugeot cars, or a 1.6-litre diesel power train.
The choice has to be the three-cylinder engine which is a little gem in my book being really responsive and noticeably quiet too with a nice and flexible performance through a five-speed manual gearbox.
It sits ideally too in a car the size of the Cactus and with nice light steering and plenty of grip, on and off road, it's smooth and delivers a decent enough performance.
Take it to the beach, as I did one afternoon, and the Grip Control can cope with sensible amounts of light, soft sand surfaces - at least it didn't become stuck.
This special edition is also quite entertaining to drive on normal road conditions with a pleasant enough ride and it has decent all round vision too for the driver.
Inside it's naturally a bit typically quirky Citroen with no normal dashboard but a wide panel with a seven-inch digital, touch screen housing all the controls you really need, good numerical speedometer but perhaps surprisingly no rev counter. There are just three actual buttons to play with for front and rear demist and hazard warning lights.
For using Grip Control there's a simple rotary control know which is so easy to use changing into whatever mode the driver feels necessary, plus some more dinky touches with look-a-like leather straps for the glove box lid and stainless steel buckles. Only disappointment inside is that I could fine just one cup holder.
In terms of fuel economy the 1.2-litre engine can be quite frugal - it averaged 51mpg overall against the official combined figure of 65.7mpg.
Boot space is decent enough and obviously drop down the 40/60 rear seats and there's more room to accommodate all the extra equipment and clobber needed by surfers when heading for the beaches.
The Cactus is a typical Citroen in that it's different from the rest of the chasing pack with all the orange and other colours in and on it and the white door mirrors are quite distinctive.