Citroen C4 Cactus will brighten your day

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There’s been a veritable rainbow of cars through Scotsman Motors’ hands recently.

We’ve seen everything from bright orange muscle cars to coral pink superminis. Now there’s this – the Citroen C4 Cactus in eye-searing Blue Lagoon.

The Cactus is the ultimate Marmite car – people either love it or hate it. I’ve always been in the former camp and, after a day or two getting used to the colour of our new long-term test car, I still am.

It’s fundamentally an ordinary small hatchback-cum-SUV but looks like nothing else in its segment – or any other. On our model the black Airbump pods on the door stand out in bold contrast to the vibrant paintwork, as do the matching wheelarches, light surrounds and tailgate. The whole shape is clean and smooth, there is plenty of detail – the high-set running lights, for example – but it flows with the overall shape and doesn’t look fussy. The “curvy box” shape and contrast between shiny paint and matt plastics create a road presence rivals can’t compete with.

Inside it’s bold as well. A slimline instrument binnacle directly in front of the driver displays basics such as speed and fuel level while everything else is presented on the seven-inch ‘tablet’ that sits proud from the dash. Like the exterior it’s clean and unfussy despite occasional design flourishes.

The Cactus comes with a choice of three petrols or a diesel engine. Ours is equipped with the top-whack PureTech 110 (108bhp) but there are also 74 and 81bhp versions of the same three-cylinder unit.

As is usual, I haven’t yet seen near the claimed 65.7mpg but have regularly been knocking on the door of 50mpg. And first impressions of the petrol unit are good. It’s not over-endowed in the power stakes but the Cactus weighs almost exactly a tonne so it feels perky and willing and will hit 60mph in under ten seconds.

The Cactus range starts at £12,990 for a 74bhp in Touch trim. Our Flair model with the 108bhp engine comes in at £17,990 before options.

For your money you get that touchscreen with the now expected USB and Bluetooth connectivity, sat nav and a reversing camera plus automation for the air con, lights and wipers. Our test car also has parking assist (yet to be tested) and the Citroen eTouch system to call for emergency assistance or send details of a fault direct to the dealer over the internet.

What you don’t get are proper rear windows. Instead the Cactus features pop-out glass like a three-door hatch from the 1980s. Doing away with window motors might save weight and it might look quirky to some but I’m not a fan.

Overall, though, I’m quietly impressed so far – as have been a couple of colleagues who I’d expected to pour scorn on this in-your-face wee hatchback. Time will tell if it can keep up the good work.