Connie B. Robinson. Citroen. May 07th , 2017.
In a world where cars resemble each other, see products like illustrating this note is a breath of fresh air. So I asked the Argentine designer Luciano Cianni analyze us from his point of view, which means the Citroen C4 Cactus to the world of automotive design.
All launching a showcar is a statement of principles for automotive. It is the way forward and aims to mark lines. Impose a particular design language and even a philosophy of life played on functionality and the perception of each item.
Why then did I begin to talk about a concept car when in reality we are presenting a production car? Citroën has lately because we used to launch production vehicles concepts very similar to their predecessors, a rarity that few brands dare to do: for costs, assimilation of the public, etc.
And the Citroen C4 Cactus was no exception, its concept version was presented in 2013 with an exterior design very similar and logical changes of materials inside and shared other functional elements of production vehicles of the brand.
Doing a bit of history back in 2007 at the Frankfurt Motor Show was presented another concept with the name "C-Cactus," a vehicle proportions and very different lines, but similar conceptual winks: search and exploration of the senses User sensations in an adventurous vehicle. Since the lines, surfaces, textures and colors inside was seeking to give the user the sensation of freedom and wellbeing.
From the purity of the lines and visual minimalism a peaceful atmosphere as well as its minimal and essential functions configured a very friendly interface is gender. Exterior C4 Cactus (both concept as production) did not inherit much of the C-Cactus Concept, rather than using simple surfaces and that air "friendly".
To start talking design must define the product What is it? A compact hatchback? A crossover? A car trip? In principle we can say that belong to the C segment within the C4 family where we found C4, C4 Lounge, Picasso and C4 Aircross. But the reality is that it shares a platform with these, but uses the base of the Citroen C3 (PF1 platform), developed in 2002.
This a priori could call it a setback, but actually Citroën sought to implement a platform for others and amortized to lower production costs and tipping the balance innovation and positive element of necessity for the user. Depending on the brand, the idea was to make a product which has the bare minimum, so the "user needs and enjoy" everything you own has to have an added value in aesthetics, functionality and efficiency. In short: all you have, or not, has to be justified somehow.
Thus simplifying the functional elements such as static sought, plus everything seems to have more than one function. An exercise conducted when designers need to talk about someone else's design, is to see the preliminary sketches. They probably find the more exaggerated design features, concepts and ideas more exposed unfiltered.
If you look at the different sketches search, there was a clear objective to implement distinct from other body areas, these areas are intended to Airbump, a surface impact absorption achieved by thermoplastic materials and also serve for visual game customization.
The overall volume is organic and simple design, without good fats or faceted surfaces, even, the final product is so simple that even more in the sketches. A solid image was sought (as fireball) from a tall and imposing trunk and large wheel arches. Graphic proposals where theorists waistline fall in its wheelhouse, device that reinforces the idea of robust vehicle were also tested.
Finally, the graphic language was simplified considerably, and these were not the result of trace surface, but the implementation of the different elements as beacons, Airbump, and glazed on the overall volume areas.
The glazed areas are to highlight both the good and the bad. Indeed Citroën always surprises us with different variations in the design of the studs in almost all its recent production models and concept. As a positive we can cite the continuity graphic and surface treatment of the crystals that make it look simple and sophisticated, the stud C with a sharp shark fin is the most attractive car contrasting with the rest of the soft and rounded graph.
The solar panel is large and with a reduced UV-ray technology not seen in its segment. The negative (very negative) is that glasses do not drop the rear seats. The press releases try to mitigate this bad decision with a "contribution to weight reduction -11 kg" I think everyone would agree that rather lose 0.1% total energy efficiency and to lower the window, right?
The headlights are to my liking what attracts me less of this vehicle, in the front part LED daytime used a false superior optics, design derived from Lacoste Concept (2014). At the rear headlights they were also included within the area looking Airbump simplify the graphic but sacrificing some personality.
Inside is where more has been revealed that the concept of wellness and comfort. From preliminary sketches there is a search to integrate each element and turn it into a "whole", and contains around occupants. "Going out to experience the world from the comfort of your living room" could have been the motto from the marketing department, even thought the front seats as a sofa.
The implementation of digital technology in the instruments has reduced the size and traditional format torpedo and allowed to explore new ways. In this case it was played with a floating element between the arrester and the seats, so that could integrate this flame arrestor with the door panels and give a feeling of more space.
Clean happening inside a space can say that pretty much stripped without visual aggression that have become accustomed current boards with customizable regions and exquisite detail was achieved. Particularly, I like the work done in the center console and the application of sunchos (similar belts) that gives air "retro" and emulate the old suitcases of travelers.
Citroën is a structural renewal derived from the creation of the DS line and a design coexistence between the two "brands", probably the Citroen C4 Cactus is the kickoff of a new philosophy of more efficient, intuitive and friendly vehicles to the side of Citroen DS converge and premium products with more and more gadgets squander aggressive / sporty lines. And those sales will ratify (or not) if they took the right path.
With two C4 Cactus a PureTech 82 and PureTech 110 Feel Feel Plus, we toured for eight days in total, more than 1,100 kilometers by roads, cities, fields, and roads of our country. And in a few days, you can read the full evaluation.
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