Citroen grows a

Cactus with style

Citroen C4 Cactus, side
Citroen C4 Catcus, 2018, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, 2018, front, action
Citroen C4 Cactus, 2018, rear, action
Citroen C4 Cactus, 2018, front, static
Citroen C4 Cactus, 2018, side, static
Citroen C4 Cactus, 2018, rear, static
Citroen C4 Cactus, 2018, seats, front
Citroen C4 Cactus, 2018, seats, rear

AN easy mistake to make but I was sure my neighbour shouted "why are you driving around in a padded bra?"

Now this can be a precursor to either laughter and merriment or hospital food depending on your relationship with the neighbour.

Oh how we laughed when it turned out he had shouted padded car. And not without reason.

The last version of the Citroen C4 Cactus did indeed come with padded walls. On the outside.

It is the sort of thing Citroen designers have a penchant for, like drawing up an attractively shaped C3 Aircross then sticking faux Venetian blind transfers on the rear quarter windows.

What were those shoulder pads saying? "Steer clear I have such bad spatial awareness I need protecting from myself?"

If it was a not towards style it didn't work. Essentially this was a cycle helmet on a car.

The latest version comes with a still distinctive shape but no rubber life ring.

It is a car for a normal family which does normal things like excellent mpg and very average 10.7 seconds to 62mph performance.

This would be the top of the class Flair trim 100hp 1.6 HDi manual costing a shade under £21,000, not the sort of car I would climb over the bloke in front to get at but eminently good sense for everyday use.

Not least of all because this is a hatchback which does not pretend to be a beast of burden but retains plenty of space within a normal body line.

So far as equipment is concerned it comes well kitted out considering the driver looks out onto a relatively unexciting fascia.

There is a seven-inch touch screen displaying essential car status information and housing a navigator, reversing camera, radio and phone connections.

Safety features are also extensive with driver attention alert, active braking and road sign recognition.

You get cruise control, air conditioning and a sunroof - quite a good package for a family orientated car.

Bringing us to practicality.

The rear seats split and fold opening up a useful load area.seats up and there is ample space in a deep boot.

Storage space and holders are dotted about wherever you need them.

Cloth upholstery is to be expected and the interior finish is up to standard.

One thing. Some years ago I attempted to drive a car on its roof which left me with a barometric back, as in it soon lets me know if it is heading for heavy weather. I couldn't get fully comfortable in this despite the advanced Citroen seat system.

Soft suspension helps iron out lumps and bumps and while this is hardly the choice for out and out excitement the car is aimed squarely at providing a comfortable everyday ride. And it does.

The are some attractive style features like tinted rear windows and colour coding.

Yes, strictly speaking those air bumps are still present but they have been massively reduced and brought down to sill level which is simple good sense and not a point of ridicule as indicated by my neighbour.

The Cactus is not what you would a succulent but neither is it any longer a prickly pear.

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