French carmaker Citroen is known for some wacky ideas, but reviews on their concept car – the open-top Cactus M, inspired by the cult-favorite Mehari utility vehicles – have been superlative.
Stylish and sassy, the Cactus M is an offshoot of the company’s lovable and lumpy resort cars. Debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, it’s a mini wagon that falls somewhere between a hatchback and an SUV and has features that make it a practical, if not offbeat, choice for drivers who want to get closer to their surroundings.
Because the top can be easily converted to a tent and the rear seats lowered to create a sleeping area, it’s not a stretch to imagine this concept car as the ideal beach camper.
Body panels are made from plastic with doors and bumpers coated in a TPU “second skin” mimicking the maker’s C4 Cactus air bumps feature that resists bumps, scratches, saltwater and sand. That also makes it mostly impervious to parking lot dings. As lead C4 Cactus designer Mark Lloyd asks, “Why do you protect your smartphone but not your car?”
We have to assume Citroen specifically had a beach destination in mind when they dreamed this up, since the car also has provisions for mounting surfboards.
The beach theme is even evident on the interior with upholstery and a dashboard covered in neoprene material in a nod to wetsuits. You can hose down the entire cabin and have the water drain through plugs in the foot wells. The entire passenger cabin is water resistant as well.
The car has reasonable off-road capability to cover normal, all-terrain and sand, and it’s powered by a 4-cylinder 1.2 liter engine that delivers 108 horsepower.
Color always figures prominently in Citroen’s arsenal, and the show model drew a lot of looks in an attention-getting turquoise blue. As you’d expect from the fun French carmaker, this distinctive vehicle is fresh and innovative.
After the enthusiastic first response from the public, Citroen executives have been hinting the car will be further modified to offer a choice of an electric or hybrid powertrain.