Doctor Diesel

Bubble Trouble…

dd3Dear Doc, you’ve long been bemoaning the removal of protective bodyside mouldings by car manufacturers in your column for quite some years, so I just wanted to hear your thoughts about the Citroën C4 Cactus, which seems to almost make up for all of the other cars not having them, all wrapped up in one single product! 

Danny, Croydon

Cor! Light my blue touch paper and expect to see the air turn blue! I thought I had expressed some such feelings about the Cactus previously, when I somewhat sarcastically praised the designers for their utter brilliance. Funny business though, styling and design, because things that can sometimes shock one initially can then mellow with the passage of time.

I’m still awaiting my vibes to turn positive with regard to the Range Rover Evoque, and I think it could be a long wait, but I must confess to an almost total conversion on the Citroën C3 Picasso, the shape of which really shocked me for several years – and now I have gradually turned into an admirer! Shall I feel the same all over again when its successor is totally revealed? The previews are suggesting that practicality has been sacrificed for styling, which greatly disappoints me.

I think I’m possibly most of all an admirer of the aerodynamic body shape, because many examples over the years – the Saab 96, the NSU Ro80, the Audi 100, and smaller cars like the Audi A2 and Honda CR-X have always pleased my eye, albeit that some of them severely sacrificed practicality. I recently nearly got T-boned by a Honda Civic reversing out of a Tesco parking space, and it was obvious that, due to the very poor rear vision, the driver had not even seen me. Protective bodyside mouldings would not have saved me from a nasty smash, had I not had my wits about me!

But back to the Citroën C4 Cactus, which I think does a very fine job for its target market, and rides well, and can turn in some impressive fuel economy figures, whilst the bubble panels on the doors really are the icing on the cake. It’s something of a disappointment to me that Citroën didn’t manage to put together a basic version at a cost of around £10,000 though. But how about some innovative optional bubble panel patterns and variations? Scottish tartans, polka dot patterns, champagne bottles (bubbly – geddit?) active LED lamp displays, (would that be legal?) or could you have them printed with your own selfie? Maybe you could earn some extra income with a bubbly advertising panel?

The Doc

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