The Citroën C4 Cactus was lauded by many motoring journalist types for offering a quirky, cheap and rugged everyday family car, free of superfluous elements, but then packed with clever engineering in a funky design. Unfortunately for Citroën, the C4 Cactus didn’t quite hit the mark in terms of sales, which is why Citroën looks set to replace it with a somewhat different, but still quirky mid-sized hatchback.
Judging by these spy pictures taken of a mid-sized hatchback prototype, it’s clear the lozenge shape of the Cactus is about to be replaced with a high-riding fastback body shape. Before we get drawn down into the dark tunnel of the coupe/SUV, if we instead refer to it as a fastback, Citroën’s back catalogue has plenty of interesting examples from which to take note.
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Right away, we can tell this will become a Citroën due to the low-set LED headlights that will likely be joined by high-mounted daytime running lights in line with most of the existing range. The cladding does well to hide the bulbous body beneath, but we can just about make out the rising windowline and plastic-clad wheelarches that will maintain the crossover aesthetic of its forebear.
It’s not yet known whether the new C4 will be built on PSA’s new CMP platform that underpins smaller models such as the C3 and Peugeot 208, or the larger and more sophisticated EMP2 platform utilised by the C4 Space Tourer and C5 Aircross. Which of these platforms it uses will then define the available powertrain options on the new C4. If it is indeed based on the smaller CMP platform, expect it to be available with a battery-electric powertrain as well as standard internal combustion options.
Given the C4’s value-driven focus (PSA’s DS brand does the aspirational premium thing) we’d suspect the former – although this prototype clearly still utilises an internal combustion powertrain thanks to the exhaust pipe in the rear bumper and small intercooler visible behind the front grille.
We’ll have to wait till later in the year to see the new C4 in full, with a reserved hope that Citroën will integrate at least some of the wonderful quirkiness and thought-provoking design that made its previous fastback models such as the BX and CX so interesting.