Citroën Cactus Concept a lot Softer Than it Sounds

French automaker Citroën may be struggling but it ain’t dead. The beret-wearing brand will reveal a new concept vehicle called the Cactus at next week’s vehicular blowout in Frankfurt.

This eco-friendly auto is sort of a blend between a crossover and a station wagon. It hints at what Citroën’s future C-Segment cars might look like and what features they might have.

Aside from the Cactus’ quasi-Range-Rove-Evoque body the vehicle features a number of innovative features. Arguably the most prominent are the “airbumps” that adorn its sides like spots on a cow.

These soft, air-filled inserts serve two purposes. One, they allow the vehicle’s exterior to be customized. And two, they help protect the body from dings and dents. It’s a bit like gluing a quilt to the side of your vehicle.

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The Cactus is powered by a revolutionary new propulsion system, something Citroën is calling its “Hybrid Air” drivetrain. It features a “PureTech” engine that’s matched to compressed air AND hydraulic hybrid systems. Basically it uses mechanical technology instead of expensive and heavy batteries to store recuperated energy.

The company claims this system can return a fuel-consumption score of less than 3L/100 km, which works out to about 78 miles per U.S. gallon. WOW! Additional benefits include low cost, easy maintenance and no negative impact on interior space.

Inside, drivers and passengers are treated to an open, airy cabin and a 100 percent digital interface. The standard meter cluster has been replaced by a seven-inch screen while an eight-inch display handles other functions like climate control and audio.

Beyond these features the Citroën Cactus offers many other innovative features along with attractive styling, but without a doubt its unique hybrid drivetrain is the signature feature.

GALLERY: Citroën Cactus Concept