Citroën revealed a lot more than a highly stylish, lightweight and very promising new hatchback with its C4 Cactus this week – it also launched a new brand character for its mainstream Citroën C-line models, from C1 to C5.

Citroën boss Frederic Banzet admits that its classier, more stylish and largely successful DS range, which has so far found 410,000 buyers, has ‘cast a shadow’ over the rest of the Citroën range.

But the DS models account for only 18 per cent of Citroën sales, the C-line cars making up the balance. Enhancing the appeal of the cars that make up the bedrock of the range is vital, then.

There are four elements to the new character. The first is design, and the signature will be "simplicity, pure lines and a non-aggressive character", says styling chief Alexander Malval.

Malval admits that even he had doubts over whether this approach would work for higher end C-line models such as the C5 replacement, but having experimented with the theme he’s now confident that it will work. The key lies in the curvature and visual tension in the car’s bodywork, he says.

Comfort is the second key element, in both the physical and intellectual sense. C-line Citroëns will have a comfortable, pliant ride, and their support systems will be easy to use, the aim being to create a low stress, relaxed and friendly atmosphere on board.