Citroën is exploring new forms of design. It has decided to abandon features that are not essential to comfort and to focus instead on technology, styling and equipment that are positive, ecological and valued by users.

This is Citroen's 'cheerfully and attractively-styled' C-Cactus concept, debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week. It's evident to see that the design team have gone to town on the car, designing what Citroen describe as an 'ecological hatchback' packaged around the more essential vehicle features such as styling, technology and equipment. So named for its low consumption, much like the cactus plant, the C-Cactus is an 'ecological' car featuring a Hybrid HDi drivetrain capable of 69 mpg (3.4 l/100km) on the combined cycle and emissions of 78g/km of CO2.

It's important to note that this is no concept car designed to slot into the existing range, with the car missing some of the firm's family trademarks. Instead, Citroen have departed comfort design features, instead focusing on those more 'essential', which are 'positive, ecological and valued by buyers'. Designed to embody simplicity, the C-Cactus has an 'appealing, modern and upbeat' design, while through the combination of rounded and slightly angular forms, the car also has a muscular, energetic touch.

In pursuit of ergonomic perfection, Citroen have introduced a number of fresh design features to the C-Cactus. The dashboard's been removed in favour of grouping key controls on the central console and steering wheel hub, while a modular stowage system, allowing the sliding of the rear bench to reveal further under-floor stowage, increases bootspace from 500 to 1100 litres.

In aid of greater production and recycling efficiencies, the front panel housing front headlamps and the chevron is the same panel as that used on the rear lower tailgate, while Citroen claim that air conditioning has made electric-opening windows redundant, thus allowing the removal of the electronic mechanism and installation only of a simple sliding system.

Citroen describe the car as a vehicle pursuing new objectives, exploring new forms of expression and new technical solutions. By grouping functions and simplifying the number of parts and mechanisms, production costs can be reduced, while removing all unnecessary components either to the running of the car or to passenger comfort, further efficiencies can be achieved. This is, perhaps, Citroen's attempt at the original Mini of the future.

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