[AD] - This post is a collaboration with Citroën. As usual, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
When you are passionate about interior design, it can take over many areas of your life. My husband never ceases to be amused by the fact that my restaurant decisions are determined by the decor and never the menu. Holiday and hotel choices are decided by the interior offerings. It would therefore come as no surprise that my choice of motor vehicle would be heavily influenced by the way it looks, both inside and out. So, when Citroën contacted me to tell me the interior of their C4 Cactus Hatch had been inspired by well-designed furniture and did I fancy giving it a spin for a few days, I was intrigued to try it out. We are currently in the market for a new family car. With a leggy 5 year old and dog who travels around with me everyday, we had outgrown the two-door car I purchased before either of them came along. Work requirements also mean I need a vehicle which can accommodate multiple purchases from the DIY store, styling props, weekly flower market hauls and the occasional large vintage eBay purchase. I want to do all of this in comfort and serious style, so did the Cactus Hatch have what it takes?
Things started off well when this emerald blue number turned up at my door with both white and black detailing on the exterior. It looked sharp and modern but not sporty, which really isn’t my style. Clean, sweeping horizontal lines on the wing mirrors and on the bonnet keep it contemporary without leaning towards the ostentatious design of a ‘flashy’ car. I loved that the nose was not long in length like a lot of four-doors. I don’t want to be stretching my neck to see over the bonnet when driving or getting stuck on the three-point turn I do everyday, twice a day, on the narrow country road my son’s school sits on.
Inside, the vehicle was light, bright and airy thanks to its wide windscreen, large windows and the panoramic glass roof above. My son absolutely loved this feature and it kept him entertained throughout our journeys as he watched the light coming through the trees around where we live. He also enjoyed looking up at the tall buildings while we were in the city. I was initially concerned this huge pane of glass would make the car hot and the sun beat down on the back seat, but the glass offers UV and heat protection and it wasn’t an issue at all.
Inside the interior was a great mix of dark and light greys with beige roof coatings and accents. What particularly stood out to me was the impeccable blue stitching in the seating, which nodded to the emerald blue exterior. I thought this was a nice touch by keeping the whole design of the vehicle cohesive. When decorating a room, I always say pick your base colours then make sure you thread these colours in through the furniture, art or soft furnishings. By adding in a touch of the emerald via the stitching to an area that could very easily have just been stitched black, it makes the design feel much more considered. I also absolutely loved the beige trim around the floor mats, which reminded me of a piped cushion. The interior door handles were also stitched and resembled an exquisite luggage or bag handle which is a better, more design-led option than a standard, hard black plastic interior handle.
Since I am moving away from using any animal products within interiors, I was really glad to see the seats in the C4 were fabric and not leather. As well as the ethical standpoint, leather seats are just so dated. I would never own a leather sofa and I would never put one in a clients house. A leather-seated car just makes me think of the sort thing Boycie would sell in Fools & Horses, so for me it’s a massive no-go. The seats in the Cactus Hatch are made from a high-density foam like a memory foam mattress and if I am honest it was these seats and the incredible suspension that sold the Cactus to me. You could tell the seats were based on sophisticated furniture and seating design as I felt comfortable, supported and glided over the numerous pot-holes and speed bumps with ease. On one long journey we took, both my son and my dog fell asleep in the back of the Cactus, something that happens very rarely, leaving me to enjoy a stress-free drive.
On this long journey I got to enjoy the DAB radio and listen to my beloved Radio 6 music via the central touch-screen control pad. This pad was compact, completely intuitive and avoided the need for loads of buttons everywhere. One button that I was impressed with seeing was the SOS button in the ceiling for emergency situations, be that an accident or in an unsafe situation. As I often travel alone or solo with my son, this instant connection to the emergency services gave great piece of mind.
So what about the boot space? Even though the car is slender, there is a wide, accessible tailgate which provided more than enough ample storage for my needs. In all honesty, I absolutely loved the C4 Cactus Hatch and was gutted to have to give it back! It was easy to drive, comfier to sit in than on my sofa and roomy enough for the whole family to enjoy.
If I was going to give some suggestions on how car design could move forward then I would like to see a move away from chrome accents, like how there has been a shift away from chrome to brass or black in kitchen and bathroom design. I would also like to see a development in interior colourways away from glossy blacks and reds and towards lighter pastel shades in greens or earthy, dusky tones.
What would you like to see in the future of interior & exterior design for new cars? I think Citroën are doing a fantastic job bringing more style to modern cars which are usually considered less stylish that their older counterparts, but what do you think needs more design attention? Let me know in the comments box below!
Huge thank you to Citroën for letting me drive about in this C4 Cactus Hatch for a few days and offer my honest opinion on the vehicle. To see more of my time spent with the Cactus, head on over to my Instagram Stories Highlights Reel.