Tag Archive | "new Citroen"

Citroen C4 Cactus – Are We Ready For This?

At Motor Blogger we’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Citroen cars. They may follow the mainstream field mechanically but there is always a certain flair with design that is appealing. They could never be accused of being Euro-boxes.

C4A Citroen C4 Cactus   Are We Ready For This?At some point though designers can get a bit above themselves so it will be interesting to see how the new Citroen C4 ‘Cactus’ will be received when it is launched in the middle of next year. This new model will have protective body cladding and sofa-style front seating as can be seen in the images.

The C4 Cactus will be the first car in Citroen’s new C-Line range, which positions the brand’s mainstream cars as affordable vehicles and emphasizing practicality, fuel efficiency and low ownership costs. The protective cladding, which Citroen calls Airbumps, appeared on the doors of the Cactus concept vehicle unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September.

The Airbumps have air capsules inside and are designed to resist scratches and reduce damage caused by small impacts. They will be a practical feature that will save owners the cost of expensive bodywork repairs. We’re not so sure. If the air bumps get damaged then there will still be damage repair needed, surely? Maybe replacing the ‘bumps’ will be cheaper than fixing metal. Also you have to wonder what this cladding will look like after a season or two of British weather.

Before the company gets too prickly (!) we should allow them their say: “The material used for the Airbumps is very resistant and durable. It is similar to what you find in the sole of a Nike Air shoe. The Airbumps will protect the bodywork from small impacts, such as a shopping trolley hitting it in a supermarket parking lot,” a spokesperson said. Apparently these Airbumps can be personalised by ordering black and white or multicolour variations.

The sofa-style seating of the Cactus concept will also appear in the production model. “Putting in a sofa instead of two standard front seats is more expensive but it will create a feeling of comfort,” it was explained.

Citroen’s C-line cars will have simple shapes and plain surfaces unlike many cars currently on the road that have aggressive styling. Citroen believe that customers are looking for simplicity and comfort in their cars. This kind of reinforces the point that our vehicles are becoming more like lifestyle trinkets.

The next C1 city car, the C3 sub-compact and the C5 large saloon will follow the C4 Cactus styling. Every car will have its own design but simplicity will be at the core of the range. We’re really quite looking forward to this although we remain to be convinced. Let us hope that Citroen have not shot themselves in the foot with this design.

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Driving in Europe

Britain is separated from Europe by much more than La Manche. That’s French for sleeve, by the way. Apart from the fact that people on the continent resolutely continue to refuse to speak English as their first language, they also insist on driving on the right. Why, it’s downright perverse.

On the plus side, whilst we may moan and complain about all the motoring legislation designed to thwart our every turn, as it were, the poor old Europeans have it much worse than us. Take France – well we’ve done it before! No, sorry about that. Just a little joke, honest. We don’t do xenophobia here. France is a wonderful country with an interesting culture. It is also the place where the original Citroen DS was designed and that is an enduring thing of beauty.

Sadly, they are also very fond of bureaucracy. The latest wheeze from the French legislature is that it is illegal to carry a device – and this includes sat-navs – that give the locations of speed cameras. Not very sporting, is it? If that isn’t bad enough, the government is installing hundreds of new, unsigned speed cameras and removing signs warning of existing sites. Can you imagine the furore if that happened here?

From the 1st July 2012, drivers, including motorcyclists, must start carrying a breathalyser and this law will be fully enforced from November. It must conform to a standard and be replaced annually. They are not very expensive but it’s another cost to the poor, downtrodden motorist. How long before we all have to carry a full set of car parts?

The rules and regulations change from country to country. Driving in Greece, for example, is not for the faint-hearted and fines, as you might expect in this cash-strapped country, are high and enforced. Across Europe you will be generally expected to carry, variously, one or more high-visibility jackets, warning triangles, fire extinguishers, replacement bulb kits and so on. If you are visiting a specific country then always ensure you check the rules of the road before departure. If you’re touring then take the lot and hope for the best! And keep right! On roundabouts, give way to traffic coming from the left except in Italy where experience has shown that it makes no difference what you do. So the next time you complain about our rules think yourself lucky you don’t live ‘over there’.

Maybe the answer is not to take your car at all. Hiring cars can be a little bit chancy so go for a reputable firm, but at least the steering will be on the right, that is to say, the wrong side and the car will also include the accessories you need to have. Returning to France, if you rent yourself a nice new Citroen DS3, say, you can blend right in with the locals. Baguette optional.

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