2013 IAA: Citroen Cactus Concept is a preview for the C-line models [Live Photos]

Article by Christian A., on September 12, 2013

The Cactus concept from Citroën is a preview for the C-line models that will soon arrive. Citroën became inspired by the 2007 C-Cactus Concept and aimed to build a stylish car that “marries the aesthetics with the practical.” It features "Airbumps" on the sides to represent a supple material that can resist scratches and also create air capsules that absorb impacts. It doesn’t have the appearance of a compact hatchback but Citroën swears that it has a 21cm ground clearance, is 4.21m long, 1.75m wide, and as tall as 1.53m.

Its interior features a seven-inch screen that replaces the instrument cluster. The conventional control buttons were taken out to make room for an eight-inch touchscreen. Its passenger airbag is installed on the ceiling, and instead of a conventional gear stick, we see push-button controls.

Citroën also revealed that it is powered by a new iteration of the brand’s Hybrid Air system that consists of a PureTech engine and allows the Cactus to offer a fuel consumption of less than 3 liters / 100 km (78.4 mpg US or 94.1 mpg UK). No batteries are needed by the system so it saves on interior space. During urban driving, its fuel consumption rating is 45% lower than that of a car powered by conventional means.

Exterior Design

The new Citroen Cactus features a body with an original and obvious design, featuring a number of styling cues that people would find easy to recognize and remember. The design says it all: the new Citroen Cactus features flowing, aggression-free shapes as well as a floating quarterlight and roof. It is also laden with smooth surfaces wrapped in pearlescent white.

As intended, the new Cactus comes with a number of contrasting design components that also have their own functions. For instance, Lama grey Airbumps and textured black wheel arches offer protection while lacquered black roof arches allow the Cactus to carry certain items. Likewise, the car’s large panoramic roof bestows the cabin with ample natural lighting.

Meanwhile, the Airbumps -- located on the sides and the bumpers of the car – essentially comprise a design component resulting from an approach to give style a function. As designed, the Airbump boosts the vehicle’s styling by lending it with an original element. The Airbump’s supple skin features a soft treatment that could resist scratches. Likewise, the Airbump’s air capsules help absorb impact.

In terms of dimensions, the new Citroen Cactus measures 4.21 meters in length, 1.75 m in width and 1.53 m in height. Likewise, the new Citroen Cactus boasts of a perfect balance between its one-third glazed area and two-thirds wing surface. Aside from having a high ground clearance of 21 cm, the new Cactus features a shorter overhang, with the wheels set far to the corners.

On the other hand, the front end of the new Cactus is defined by smooth surfaces with chevrons, flowing forms, as well as a unique light signature with LED daytime running lights and lamp integrated into the Airbumps. The rear end, meanwhile, comes with a similar styling, with the LED lights also integrated into the wide Airbump that secures the boot.

Press Release

Citroen Cactus Concept

Citroen Cactus is more than a concept car; it is a manifest of the future models in the C line. Citroen is shifting the paradigm with the new concept car, shedding the superfluous and bringing well-being firmly into the limelight. Citroen Cactus is a desirable, user-friendly car that forges an unprecedented harmony between distinctive yet pragmatic design, comfort for all occupants, and easy-to-use technology.


The origins of Citroen Cactus date back to the reveal of the C-Cactus concept car at the 2007 Frankfurt show. C-Cactus was a radical automotive approach that posed a number of key questions: What do motorists expect from cars in today's world? And which equipment and features really count? The fascinating exercise pushed engineers and designers to make sweeping changes and set problems differently in order to explore new solutions. The pragmatic approach eschewed the superfluous to concentrate on what makes motorists feel good. The end result, Citroen Cactus, is a manifest that previews forthcoming models in the C line.

Pure and functional styling

The styling of Citroen Cactus marries the aesthetic to the practical, with designers having sought to find the right volumes and extend efficiency to the smallest details. The idea was to keep only the essential, and optimise that essence to obtain a form of natural perfection. The approach allowed the designers to break free from classic automotive cues and explore ingenious solutions to bring customers real equipment and features.

The body styling of Citroen Cactus seems original and obvious, both at the same time, lingering easily in the memory like that of all great cars that have marked their time. The styling is easy to identify, with:

Pure and smooth surfaces in pearlescent white
Flowing, aggression-free shapes
Floating quarterlight and roof
Contrasting design components, each one with a function (protection with Lama grey Airbumps and textured black wheel arches; transport with lacquered black roof arches; cabin light with the large panoramic roof).
One component stands out immediately through its originality: the Airbump.

Located on the sides and the bumpers of the car, the design component expresses a new approach that gives style a function. The Airbump strengthens the styling of Citroen Cactus, heightening its personality with its originality and personalisation possibilities. The supple skin of the Airbump features a soft treatment that resists scratches and includes air capsules that dampen impact.

Citroen Cactus has optimal proportions for extra efficiency and driving comfort:

The dimensions of a compact hatchback (4.21 m long and 1.75 m wide)
An ideal balance between one-third glazed area and two-thirds wing surface
High ground clearance (21 cm) but with an optimised height of just 1.53 m
Reduced overhang, with the wheels set firmly in the corners
The styling of Citroen Cactus evokes technology and perceived quality and is entirely free of aggression.

The front end, previewing the visual identity of future models in the C line, is characterised by:

Smooth surfaces showcasing the chevrons
Flowing forms with a seamless progression from bonnet to wing
A high-tech light signature with LED daytime running lights and lamps built in to the Airbumps
The styling at the back respects the same principle with 3D-effect LED lights built in to the wide Airbump protecting the boot.

The singular and radical design of Citroen Cactus also promises a warm, ergonomic and comfortable interior. The absence of side windows, rear window and B pillars beckons onlookers to discover the cabin inside, which has been entirely reworked in terms of architecture as well as in the design of colours and materials.

Ingenious design

The first objective with Citroen Cactus was to free up space inside for the driver and passengers, bringing them more ease and user-friendliness and, hence, more comfort.

The slender, floating dashboard fully frees up the floor below and on its upper part offers the front passenger a capacious and easy-access storage space. The dashboard design was made possible by using a 100% digital interface and by optimising the organisation of the driver's station, in particular by:

Replacing the instrument cluster with a 7-inch screen
Switching control buttons for an 8-inch touchscreen connected to all vehicle functions (air conditioning, audio, satnav, connected services and driver aids)
Installing the passenger airbag on the ceiling
Replacing the traditional gearstick with push-button controls on the lower part of the dashboard and steering-wheel paddles
The new architectural approach also informs the front seats, which were designed sofa-style for extra comfort and human warmth.

Extra comfort is also delivered by the panoramic roof, thermally treated to let in the light but not the heat. It protects passengers from UVs with technology similar to that used for category-4 sunglasses.

The second goal with Citroen Cactus interior was to provide a stylish and relaxed atmosphere. The interior layout frees up plenty of space and focuses on authentic and natural materials. The seats and doors are upholstered in a combination of two materials evoking contemporary furniture: a blue heathered-cotton fabric and natural "camel" leather (vegetable tanned) also used on the dashboard and steering wheel.

In a nod to the luggage sector, the design of the door handles and the storage space on the upper part of the dashboard was informed by decorative travel-trunk components.

The design choices for Citroen Cactus were guided not just by interior architecture intelligence but by a whole new approach to the automobile. Citroen Cactus brings drivers a new motoring experience and total peace of mind, reuniting them with the pleasure and freedom inherent in car travel - a simple, communal, day-to-day pleasure.

User-friendly technology

Citroen Cactus technologies are easy to use, economical and environmental in use, accessible to all and connected, and resolutely focused on the new needs of motorists.

The new Hybrid Air drivetrain is a case in point. The full-hybrid technology combines compressed air and the hydraulics of a PureTech petrol engine. This powertrain excellence is written into the Brand's DNA and has led to breakthrough performance, with fuel consumption of under 3 l/100 km.

Hybrid Air technology has a reduced environmental footprint (no additional battery) and is broadly affordable thanks to:

Attractive cost in use (45% reduction in fuel consumption in urban driving)
Easy maintenance and servicing through the combination of proven technologies
No compromises on interior space
Digital, tactile and connected! All the controls are grouped on the 8-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard, ergonomic, easy to use and offering access to Citroen Multicity Connect. The driver and passengers benefit from a portal of web-connected applications that takes vehicle data - including mileage, speed, range and GPS position - into account to generate information adapted to motorists' needs, warning them of risk areas, locating service stations and identifying tourist destinations, among other advantages.

Asking questions differently to find new answers

By proposing a fresh new take on design, architecture and technology, Citroen Cactus stands as a new automotive synthesis. The car's optimistic approach finally addresses the expectations of people looking to combine practicality with pleasure.

Citroen Cactus is a desirable, user-friendly car, one that is a pleasure to share day by day:

"Simple to live". An ingenious design and intuitive technologies
"Simple to love". A functional design free of all aggression
"Simple to share". A user-friendly cabin and a connected driving interface

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Topics: citroen, concept, iaa



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