After releasing arguably one of the most straight-forward press releases in the auto industry, Citroen bared its Frankfurt Auto Show plans and a big part of it will be the Cactus Concept, a car that has turned to be better than we previously thought.

After all the details of the Cactus Concept were bared, we couldn’t help by wonder how much of all the new technology, including the highly advertised "Air Bump" bumpers, will translate into the production model.

An indication of this technology seems points to bumpers that absorb the kind of damage that would’ve messed up any other bumper. The accompanying video after the jump even does a demonstration, although how much help the phrase "touch me" does when you accidentally touch your own monitor is a little misleading — you feel even worse when you realize that your monitor is not a touchscreen...

We’re guessing technology like ’Airbumps’ was what Citroen was aiming for when it said that it was embracing a “Pure, Simple, Smart" philosophy.

Updated 09/11/2013: This review has been updated with official details and photos

Click past the jump to read more about the Citroen Cactus Concept

  • 2013 Citroen Cactus Concept
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Engine:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    110 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    100 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    1.0 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    10 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    100 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:


2013 Citroen Cactus Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 522909

The Citroen Cactus Concept has the dimensions of an SUV, which isn’t hard to figure out once you take a look at it. The absence of side and rear windows and B-pillars are a welcome surprise, as is the reduced overhangs. But the shape isn’t what makes this concept so unique from a lot of concept SUVs we’ve seen in recent years.

One of the biggest features of the Cactus Concepts are the Lama Grey ’Airbumps’ located on the SUV’s sides and bumpers. Apparently, those things are more than just aesthetic enhancers; they also serve the purpose of absorbing courtesy of those air capsules while also resisting scratches, protecting the SUV’s panels from damage.

The smooth surface of the Cactus Concept plays well with its Pearlescent White color finish and the flowing contours and the ’floating’ roof design both add elements of suave and sportiness to the concept’s overall makeup. Another big feature of the Cactus Concept is the funky lighting setup that makes use of LED daytime running lights and lamps, as well as 3D-effect LEDs, that were built in to the Airbumps.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4.21 M (165.7 In.)
Width 1.75 M (68.9 In.)
Height 1.53 M (60.2 In.)
Ground Clearance 21 CM (8.3 In.)


2013 Citroen Cactus Concept Interior
- image 522931

The interior of the Cactus Concept really is a sight to behold. Not just because Citroen managed to give it a retro-feel without looking too tacky but also because of the materials the company used in successfully combining aesthetics with the things that a driver really needs.

Space and efficiency are the two tenets of the Cactus Concept’s interior, and that was shown by a cabin that manages to show the best of its form and function. A floating dashboard was put in at the front, saving up a good amount of space on the passenger side. The standard instrument cluster was also taken out in favor of a 7-inch screen, which goes well with the slightly bigger 8-inch touchscreen on the center console. The latter, in particular, has all of the vehicle functions in it, thereby rendering control buttons obsolete, hence creating space just below it for the A/C vents and push-button controls that have effectively replaced the traditional gearstick.

The digital interface of the Cactus Concept isn’t the only thing neat about the interior design of the vehicle. Citroen also decided to use sofa-style front seats that accommodates up to two front passengers. It’s a throwback design that was once prevalent on SUVs and Citroen bringing it back and jazzing it up with cotton fabric and vegetable-tanned ’camel’ leather (the latter is prevalent throughout the cabin, including on the steering wheel and the door handles).


2013 Citroen Cactus Concept Interior
- image 522904

Citroen didn’t jump into the details of the Cactus Concept’s powertrain and the corresponding performance figures. What the company did say was that the concept will come with a new version of its Hybrid Air system that includes a PureTech engine. No batteries are used on this setup, saving previous interior space and weight that probably plays a part in the car’s fuel consumption of less than 3 liters / 100 km, which is 78.4 mpg in U.S. ratings.


2013 Citroen Cactus Concept Exterior
- image 522911

It’s a concept model so don’t expect a price tag attached to it anytime soon. But the surprising news involving the Cactus Concept is that a production model is already in the middle of testing and development, which means we wont have to wait too long to see one in dealerships.

The question is: how much of the concept will be translated to the production model?


2013 Renault Captur

2013 Renault Captur High Resolution Exterior
- image 488748

While it still remains to be seen how Citroen will classify the production Cactus in its new "C-Line" family, it wouldn’t surprise us if the Cactus falls in the same competitive market as another recently revealed French crossover: the Renault Captur.

it didn’t take long for Renault to follow up the Captur Concept with a production model, something Citroen is also doing with the apparent expedited development of the production Cactus. The dimensions look to be similar between the two vehicles with the Captur featuring a bevy of engine options without output ranging from 90 to 130 horsepower.

There’s a good chance that the production Cactus will also have these numbers, setting up for what could be a competitive sales duel between the two French brands.


2013 Citroen Cactus Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 521446

The features of the Cactus Concept blows us away, especially the simple yet technologically-advanced interior. Ultimately, we’re saving judgment until more details come out of the production model. If Citroen uses a lot of the details from the concept on the production, we’re going to be really pleased with it.

  • Leave it
    • Nothing specific on performance ability
    • Still a concept
    • How much from it will be used on the production model?

Citroen Cactus: Touch Me!

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
About the author

Press Release

Citroën has revealed Cactus, a new concept car and a vision for future C-line models. Shedding the superfluous, Citroën Cactus is a desirable, user-friendly car that creates a unique harmony between the distinctive and the practical, offering comfort for all occupants with easy-to-use technology.

2013 Citroen Cactus Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 521447

Pure and functional styling:

- *Strong styling focused on efficiency (light weight & aerodynamic)
- *High-tech look and non-aggressive flowing surfaces
- *‘Airbumps’, customisable design components covered with a soft skin featuring air capsules that protect the
body of the car

Intelligent design

- *An airy driver’s station housing all the controls in a 100% digital interface
- *Sofa-style front seats for more comfort
- *Natural materials laid out in a stylish, relaxed atmosphere
- *User-friendly technology:
- *A Hybrid Air drivetrain for economic running costs and reduced environmental footprint
- *Intuitive connectivity, including access to the Citroën Multicity Connect portal

The origins of Citroën Cactus began with the C-Cactus concept car, which premiered 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 exercise pushed engineers and designers to make sweeping changes and explore new solutions to motoring challenges. The pragmatic approach avoided the unessential to concentrate on what makes motorists feel good. The end result is the Citroën Cactus – a concept car which previews future models in the C-line.


2013 Citroen Cactus Concept Exterior
- image 522913

Citroën Cactus’ styling marries the aesthetic with the practical, the designers having sought to find the right volumes and extend efficiency to the smallest details. The idea was to keep only the essential and this approach allowed the designers to break free from classic automotive cues and explore new solutions to bring customers useful equipment and features.

With a shape that is both original yet familiar, the body styling of Citroën Cactus is easy to identify, with:

- *Pure and smooth surfaces in pearlescent white
- *Flowing contours
- *‘Floating’ roof and rear quarter panels
- *Contrasting and functional detailing such as Lama grey ‘Airbumps’, textured black wheel arches and gloss black roof rack
- *A bright and airy cabin with a large panoramic sunroof

A stand out component of the Cactus is the ‘Airbump’, located on the sides and bumpers of the car. Combining style with function, the ‘Airbump’ strengthens the appearance and personality of the car with its originality and personalisation possibilities. The supple material features a soft treatment that resists scratches and includes air capsules that absorb impacts.

Combining aesthetics with practical driver needs, the Citroën Cactus places importance on space and efficiency down to the last detail. Only the essentials remain, as the designers worked to break new ground in the form and function.

The Citroën Cactus boasts proportions optimised for efficiency and comfort with:

- *The dimensions of a compact hatchback (4.21 m long & 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 overhangs, with the wheels directly located at each corner

The smooth, flowing styling of Citroën Cactus evokes technology and perceived quality.
At the front, the Cactus hints at the visual styling of future C-line models and is characterised by:

- *Smooth surfaces showcasing the chevrons
- *Flowing lines 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 same principle is adopted at the rear with Citroën’s 3D-effect LEDs incorporated into the large ‘Airbump’, which protects the boot area.

The unique, radical design adds to the feel-good factor within the ergonomic and comfortable interior. The absence of side and rear windows and B-pillars invites you to discover a cabin that has been completely reworked in terms of architecture, design, colours and materials.


2013 Citroen Cactus Concept Interior
- image 521450

A key objective of the Citroën Cactus concept was to provide more interior space for driver and passengers, ensuring user-friendliness and greater comfort.

The slender, floating dashboard fully frees up the floor below to create a large, easy-access storage space on the passenger side. This design was achieved by the adoption of a 100% digital interface and optimising the driver station, in particular by:

- *Replacing the instrument cluster with a 7-inch screen
- *Swapping 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

Another comforting innovation is the thermally-treated panoramic sunroof which allows light into the cabin, but repels heat and UV rays – comparable to category-4 sunglasses.

Another objective for Cactus was to deliver a stylish and relaxed atmosphere on board. Inspired by contemporary furniture design, the interior layout offers optimum space.

The inviting front seats were designed in the style of a sofa for improved comfort whilst the treatment of the upper storage areas and interior door handles were inspired by luxury luggage styling.

Natural materials such as cotton fabric and ‘camel’ leather (vegetable tanned) are used throughout the cabin, including on the steering wheel trim, seats and door handles.


2013 Citroen Cactus Concept Exterior
- image 522905

Citroën Cactus technologies are easy to use, economical and environmentally considerate, accessible to all while being resolutely focused on the new needs of motorists.

The Cactus concept features Citroën’s revolutionary new Hybrid Air drivetrain – a full-hybrid, compressed air and hydraulics system – which is combined with a PureTech engine to deliver exceptional fuel economy in excess of 94mpg (under 3l/100km).

This innovative and highly efficient system, which requires no additional batteries, is widely affordable thanks to:
- *Low-cost per mile use (45% reduction in fuel consumption in urban driving)
- *Easy maintenance and servicing through the combination of proven technologies
- *No compromises to interior space

In the centre of the dashboard is the eight-inch digital touchscreen which integrates all driving commands. Easy to use, both the driver and passengers benefit from access to Citroën Multicity Connect, a portal of web-connected applications that use vehicle data – including mileage, speed, range and GPS position – to provide information adapted to motorists’ needs, such as warning them of traffic delays, locating service stations or tourist destinations.


With a fresh approach to design, architecture and technology, Citroën Cactus stands as a new automotive synthesis. The car’s optimistic approach addresses the expectations of people looking to combine practicality with pleasure. Citroën Cactus is a desirable, user-friendly car, one that is a pleasure to share day by day:
- *‘Simple to live with’. An ingenious design full of intuitive technologies
- *‘Simple to love’. A functional and friendly design
- *‘Simple to share’. A user-friendly interior with a connected driving interface

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