After 7 days with the Citroen C4 Cactus Flair, here is what happened with our time with the car.
Day – 1 First Impressions
Waiting for the C4 Cactus to arrive I was very much in two minds about the styling of the car. I decided I would wait until it turned up and I could have a look around it before making up my mind.
Once it arrived, I spent around 15 minutes looking around it, and I still couldn’t figure out what I thought about it. In yellow and black the car certainly stands out in a crowd. Looking directly at the front of the car it seems bloated and looks very rounded. Working my way around to the side of the car the AirBump is something that I never thought would make it onto the production car when I first saw it, but here it is and I’m not sure about it at all.
I love the fact that it is different, but I’m just not sure about the overall styling just yet. Let’s see what I think on day 7.
Day 2 – Get it on the Road
On the outside the car may look like it has come out of space, but luckily it still drives like a normal car. The Flair has a 1.6-litre diesel engine, uses a 5 speed manual gearbox and will do 0-60mph in 10.7 seconds. The Cactus is a great city car and behind the wheel it feels both fun and friendly to drive.
The more time I spent behind the wheel of the Cactus the more I warmed to it. It drives like small Citroens should do, it has a light steering feel and a good change of direction. So driving the car on a daily basis is no chore at all. The 1.6-litre diesel engine creates 100bhp which feels like it has plenty of power to pull the Cactus along nicely.
Day 3 – Contrast in Town
We took the Citroen C4 Cactus out into the deserted night-time streets of Birmingham to get some very urban pictures of the Cactus. At night time the yellow paint contrasts massively with everything around it.
Take a look at a few of the pictures which show the car standing out without even trying. Taking pictures of cars at night without additional lighting, typically cars tend to blend in to their backgrounds and fade away, not the Cactus though, this had the completely opposite effect, the colours stood out and the design features were more prominent than ever.
Day 4 – This new Virtualised Interface
I’m a tech guy and love any gadget I can get my hands on. The Citroen C4 Cactus uses a new interface that has the normal central dashboard buttons virtualised into one interface. I love the idea of this and it seems that the general trend in car interiors is that we are going to see more and more of this. It looks kind of cool and it works ok, but sometimes you feel that it could work a little faster than it does, this is only really noticeable when you first get into the car and are trying to do a few things at once; adjust your temperatures, turn your radio on and adjust your sat nav.
To follow suit with the central control screen, the driver’s instruments have been completely digitised also. Citroen have really trimmed back the information to the driver, leaving just the speedo, mileage and fuel level, gone are the rev gauge and coolant temperature dials. It feels modern, bold and quirky; fitting with the rest of the car’s design.
Day 5 – Is the Inside Cool Enough?
We can certainly say this is an interior that feels like no other. Over the week I have spent a lot of time in the car, mainly sitting in traffic, giving me plenty of time to study all the little details of the car. The overall interior feel is certainly unique. It’s a hatchback so it is reasonably small inside, the space for the driver and front passenger is great, but in the back it does get a little tight. I do like all the detailed parts of the Cactus interior, there are lots of nice touches; I love the bold steering wheel design, the way the central air vents aren’t symmetrical, I love the race car like door handles, there’s a lot going on.
Citroen have made more bold steps with moving the passenger airbag to the roof lining, meaning that they could create a cleverly designed top lifting glove box to store all your goodies in.
The seats were also an interesting design. The stitched pattern feels like it fits in with the exterior AirBump design and the overall chair itself has a square and thick arm chair build that gives a very retro feel.
Day 6 – Modern City Car in a Modern City
We took the car out for a 6am start to capture the car in the soft light of a sunrise; backed on to some of the taller buildings in Birmingham.
Looking at the car in this light made me think twice about Citroen’s approach, they have made a bold step in design, and people inherently dislike change, but they can warm over time. In the pictures here you can see a modern car in a modern city and maybe we will see more and more cars like this over time.
Day 7 – Looking back on my week
So after 7 days of taking in the Citroen C4 Cactus Flair experience what have I learnt? I think the bold design changes are justified to promote innovation in car design and make the statement that cars don’t all need to look the same. I think, for me at least, there is still a little confusion over the Cactus styling, but I think that in 3 years’ time or so it might not look so strange on the roads of the UK, and even now if you have it in a different colour, something a little less contrasting, you may not even notice it so much and ease yourself into the change a little.
The car is fun, quirky and certainly promotes conversation. Take a look at the short video below showing some highlights of the car and comment to let us know what you think about the car.