If you're a Citroën fan, you've heard it time and time again : "Citroën is preparing a true successor to the legendary 2CV !" There's been the C3 Pluriel, the C-Cactus, the Lacoste, the Révolte... And we've always been disappointed. The projects have either remained pure concepts or gave birth to production cars incredibly far away from the spirit of the 2CV : simplicity, usability, comfort, and above all, out-of-the-box solutions to every problem, even the ones that didn't really need fixing.
Well folks, this time is the right one : Citroën will be bringing the Cactus concept to Frankfurt, and they say it's almost identical to the production version (which will be called the C4 Cactus, it seems, and has already been spotted being tested on public roads). The car is a sort of small urban SUV, the size of the recent Peugeot 2008, and sits on PSA's new EMP2 modular platform (aldready used in the new C4 Picasso and new 308). Rumor has it it'll cost less than 15,000€.
It's full of clever ideas : the big grey things on the doors and bumpers are called Airbump, and are made of some kind of rubbery plastic, filled with air pockets, designed to absorb the small bumps and scratches one can expect in a cramped city centre (and yes, that will make it to production).
The front and rear bumpers, wheel arches, and front and rear bench seats (you read that right : front bench seats) are identical, to cut costs. There's barely anything on the dashboard : it's push-button automatic (a manual should be available at launch), and a tactile screen to control pretty much everything else. The fact that there are three pedals on an automatic points to the fact that Citroën might bring back their old foot-operated parking brake.
What's more, the passenger airbag is now in the ceiling, leaving more room for the big glovebox. No word yet on wether or not the production version will get the Hybrid Air system that's fitted to the concept, unfortunately. Also, expect the car to get a B-pillar and windows before it goes on sale, because I've heard those are useful sometimes.
Overall, I think it's a great and genuine successor to the 2CV, and I hope Citroën keeps the production car as close as possible to the concept (history shows they're pretty good at that, so I wouldn't worry). If it's a success, the Cactus' philosophy of simplicity, clever cost-cutting, and simple design should be applied to the entire C range.
There's a drawing of André Citroën tipping his hat on the front bench seat, and I think the folks over at Citroën deserve nothing less than that.
Source and pictures : Citroën