When it comes to weird automobiles, Europe generally isn’t the champion: The cars driven by Europeans are primarily little gray diesel hatchbacks, sometimes silver, sometimes slightly larger than little. They’re rarely strange, or unusual, or particularly exciting. It’s almost amazing how many variations of the hatchback exist in Europe.
And then … you see the Citroen C4 Cactus.
The Citroen C4 Cactus is pictured above — and, like most cars in Europe, it’s a diesel-powered hatchback. Unlike most cars in Europe, however, it’s bizarre: Most C4 Cactus models are painted in some weird color, the proportions are strange and, most importantly, this is an automobile that appears to have a rubber bath mat mounted on the sides. I am not exaggerating, here: I really think that side thing could double as a rubber bath mat.
The rubber bath mat-ness carries around to the front of the C4 Cactus, below the headlights, where it continues. And it’s also in back — on the rear bumper and rear tailgate, guess what? Rubber bath mat. Of course, this rubber thing isn’t even close to the color of the car itself, unless you choose black — and even then the rubber bits are sort of an off-gray. The result is this thing is always a very odd contrasting piece, where there really shouldn’t be a very odd contrasting piece.
And that’s not the end of the C4 Cactus mystique: The car also has a strange grouping of two headlights, one on top of the other, sort of like the Jeep Cherokee. And while the C-pillar is body-colored, it’s separated from the rest of the body by two thin black strips, which makes it look like it’s floating. Also, the rear windows are massive, and I’m not entirely convinced they open: It doesn’t look like they’re surrounded by weather stripping, which you’d expect from a window that rolls down.
The crazy continues inside the C4 Cactus, though I’m disappointed to say I’ve never actually been inside one. Despite the weirdness, and despite my desires to operate this thing, I’ve only ever seen the Cactus from the outside — and since it’s unlikely Citroen will ever return to the U.S., I’ll probably never get to see one up close. What a shame. Find a hatchback for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.