What am I looking at?
Good question. This is the Citron C4 Cactus - a lightweight, high efficiency car loosely based on the Citron C4.
So what's new?
Everything. It's a blank-sheet design, so other than a few bits you'll never see and a smattering of parts-bin switchgear to make it recognisably Citroen on the inside, it's completely new.
There's some highlights of note. Although it looks pretty meaty compared to the regular C4, the Cactus weighs a fifth less at 965kg - yes, less than a metric tonne. There's weight-savings across the board, with extensive use of aluminium and a lightweight platform actually derived from the DS3 rather than the C4. They've even gone as far as resurrecting the single catch pop-out rear windows we used to see on hatchbacks of old.
The bubble-wrap down the sides - available in four colours - is actually a crash-protection system that Citron calls Airbump and it's designed to function exactly like, well, bubble-wrap. By absorbing low speed impacts, it's reckoned that the Cactus will cost less to repair in little bumps simply through not needing any repairs.
Despite being slightly smaller than the C4 - primarily through shorter overhangs - the Cactus is no less roomy, with intelligent use of space. Room in the front has been significantly improved by removing the passenger airbag from the dashboard. Have no fear, the Cactus is just as safe, as the airbag has now been relocated to the roof...
What powers it?
Although it's likely other engines will be available, the key choices at launch come in the shape of Citron's Euro 6 emissions standard compliant PureTech petrol and Blue HDI diesel engines. The former is an 82hp, 1.2 litre 3 cylinder engine - currently seen in the C3 and DS3 - that'll return 65.7mpg for an equivalent 99g/km CO2. The diesel unit is a 70hp, 1.4 litre which, with stop-start, is pencilled in for an incredible 91.1mpg (82g/km CO2).
Well, as if that wasn't quite enough, the Cactus also eschews a traditional control interface and relocates a large proportion of the switches and buttons - for things like including the air conditioning, media, vehicle settings and driving aids - to a 7 touchscreen in the centre of the dash. The instrument cluster has been replaced with an LCD screen too.
How much will it cost me?
We've not been made aware of any prices just yet, but expect the tech, materials and borderline bespoke nature to come at a cost. While it's a leader for the technologies you'll see in future C line models from Citron, you should be willing to part with at least 14,000 for the entry level Cactus when they appear on our shores in the Autumn.
Not really, no.
When all's said and done, the Cactus is in the traditional family car sector along with significant names like the VW Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, but it's hard to pin them as direct rivals. The FIAT 500L is perhaps the nearest thing to a clear competitor - but the Cactus is alternative all by itself.
In a line...
A typically Citron solution for the family hatchback.