We’ve been eager to see this car for days now! A low-res leak earlier in the week showed a huge amount of potential for this latest Citroen concept car — and luckily the full reveal confirms how cool this concept design is.
Citroen, as we know, has little trouble creating absolutely stunning prototypes and concept cars. These are far different from the norm of concept cars lately in the US market. Heavy expectation management strategies mean that US show-goers rarely see pure dream cars, with manufacturers preferring the Honda, Ford and Infiniti route: a decorated version of the actual production model.
A mid-size SUV with light hybrid and a turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder, the AirCross is more of a statement of intent than a lightly-upgraded production model.
But as much as this exact car is not likely soon, the size of the car is a sure thing for a production Citroen with the next two years. The exterior design is actually fairly practical, and would slide right into the latest Citroen range of MPVs. Where this model is vastly different — for the better — is its leaned-back cabin design, long hood and overall masculinity. This is in stark contrast to the minivan look of many other Citroens these days.
You can tell that the AirCross has been designed with European and Chinese buyer preferences in 50/50 balance. Yes, it is wide and premium in feel. But it is also fairly short and low, with parkable proportions no larger than the BMW X3.
Citroen did not go as bonkers as usual in the inside of the concept, which is one of our pet peeves with French concepts. The cabins are usually a total joke with zero production feasibility.
Yes, the AirCross has fantastic first-class airline seats with nap-ready neck supports. And yes, these are wrapped in a bizarre ethnic woven fabric on the backs. Side note: do you know how much first-class airliner seats cost these days? Boeing is having trouble getting on-time delivery from its French supplier for the 787 Dreamliner – being forced to park the planes til they arrive. The price for the 787 thrones is $280,000.
There is a long-haul airliner feel to the central armrest and storage area, with a sliding cover to keep purses safe during rough takeoffs and landings….
But the packaging is obviously set in stone and ready for production: the low dashboard and sliding cinema-scope screens are a cool accent. These twin panels look like a 16×9 aspect ratio and overall size: much nicer than the 12.3-in TFT (12″x5″) panels that are becoming ubiquitous in the car business.
The seating with emphasis on the second row and lack of third row also shows Chinese preferences top-of-mind. No mini seats in back for big families.
In this way, the AirCross may actually inspire a long-wheelbase variant that is more practical but still cool. Think of this as the style-led brother, like the Nissan Murano. And a future AirCross XL would be the Pathfinder in that scenario.
22-inch wheels always help a concept feel cool and macho – so hopefully the AirCross does not become a total Pontiac Aztek in its transition to road rubber. We also expect the AWD hybrid componentry to fall by the wayside in favor of a FWD, mostly diesel engine mix for Europe and all gasoline setup for China.
2015 Citroen AirCross Concept
Paris, 8 April 2015
NEW CITROËN AIRCROSS CONCEPT CAR:
AN INVITATION TO TRAVEL, CITROËN STYLE
SINGULAR PERSONALITY: CITROËN Aircross boasts unique presence among SUVs with its overall balance and flowing design, giving the protective and welcoming concept car a strong identity and a resolutely optimistic spirit.
CONSUMMATE COMFORT FOR EXTRA ENERGY: The cabin brings occupants a new approach to car travel with a modern, bright, fresh and functional design generating physical and mental well-being.
TECHNOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE FOR RELAXED MOBILITY: Dialogue and sharing are facilitated in a connected SUV with outstanding graphic interfaces and equipped with plug-in hybrid technology.
As it celebrates its 50 millionth car sold since the creation of the Brand some 95 years ago, CITROËN is unveiling a surprising, creative and bold new concept car, one that confirms its ability to develop a positioning that is:
- INTERNATIONAL: CITROËN Aircross illustrates the Brand’s international ambitions, rolling out its positioning initiated with the C4 Cactus with a body style intended for sale around the world.
- DIFFERENT: CITROËN Aircross shakes up design cues while respecting SUV essentials. Drawing on the product and styling traits of the C4 Cactus, the body design and cabin ambience express a sense of modernity and a singular spirit. The new concept car shows CITROËN’s ability to assert its identity in all vehicle segments.
The CITROËN Aircross concept car successfully builds on the achievements of the C4 Cactus with:
- A SINGULAR ATTITUDE: Blending power and positive energy, CITROËN Aircross is a protective and welcoming SUV. The resolutely optimistic vehicle casts off any sense of aggression in favor of:
A singular, pure and optimistic personality, through the overall balance of the body styling, with a horizontal emphasis and underscored by flowing and organic forms punctuated by strong graphic components including “Alloy Bumps” and “Air Signs”. The global result is heightened by orange-red body paint symbolizing energy and serenity and innovative materials denoting robustness;
A styling approach emphasizing functionality and aerodynamics.
- An INVITATION TO TRAVEL in a cabin bringing an immediate sense of consummate comfort and the generation of energy. Everything inside CITROËN Aircross was designed to foster physical and mental well-being. In addition to the physical comfort provided by the broad and generous seats, well-being is further heightened by warm materials and a blend of light and invigorating colors. The purely-drawn lines with their crosswise emphasis suggest space, while the ample geometric shapes structure the uncluttered interior, each one combining aesthetics with functionality. CITROËN Aircross posits a new take on the travel theme with specially designed storage compartments and the use of straps in a fresh and contemporary cabin inviting passengers to take to the road together and in their own style.
- TECHNOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE harnessed for practicality, with occupants able to choose between sharing and an individual experience. The concept car is equipped with two 12-inch HD screens, one of which is mobile and can be passed from one passenger to another. Each seat is equipped with speakers and microphones to encourage dialogue between passengers. Technological intelligence is also expressed in the choice of a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, combining efficiency and top-level performance. CITROËN Aircross features meaningful technologies for relaxed mobility and a new travelling experience.
The CITROËN Aircross concept car will be unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show, a symbolic choice of venue given the importance of the Chinese market for CITROËN, accounting as it does for 25% of total sales and standing as the Brand’s number-one market.
- CITROËN AIRCROSS, A SINGULAR PERSONALITY AMONG SUVs
CITROËN’S TAKE ON THE SUV: INTENSE AND OPTIMISTIC
The overall balance of the CITROËN Aircross concept car (4.58 m x 2.1 m x 1.73 m) conveys a sense of power and determination.
CITROËN Aircross appeals with its flowing and organic forms, highlighting the controlled graphics and subtle square shapes. The body is like a flowing sheet set naturally on large wheels, shod with 275/42 R 22 tyres. These last, designed exclusively for CITROËN Aircross by Continental, feature large tread blocks and lengthwise sipes with a deep cut for excellent traction on the most demanding surfaces. The graphically-designed modular embellishers wrap around the wheel, affirming the all-terrain abilities of the CITROËN Aircross.
The days of angular, road-inclined SUVs are over. With its parallel-to-the-road waistline, CITROËN Aircross conveys assurance without arrogance and eschews all forms of aggression, mapping out a new territory of expression in the highly codified world of the SUV.
The smooth and harmonious front and rear bumpers fully convey CITROËN’s identity. The front end is home to the chevron design and the two-tiered light signature initiated on the C4 Picasso. At the rear, the 3D-effect lights have a high-tech and emphatically graphic look, each with an interrupted surround in its centre. These classic CITROËN design touches are rounded out by a floating roof and uninterrupted glass belt, bringing CITROËN Aircross a horizontally-informed body design.
Resolutely optimistic, the CITROËN Aircross exudes a serene and positive energy.
HARNESSING DESIGN FOR ENHANCED FUNCTIONALITY
The body is punctuated by strong graphic components designed to enhance functionality.
- Protection with “Alloy Bumps”
CITROËN has developed a fresh take on the C4 Cactus’s Airbumps® with the CITROËN Aircross, adapting them to SUV requirements. While the Airbumps® are designed to protect the body from everyday bumps and scrapes, the Alloy Bumps protect the vehicle from lateral impact with their visible padding. The Alloy Bumps are made up of a honeycombed structure in highly absorbent aluminium foam, a material heralding from motorsport and combining protection, lightness and style. The Alloy Bumps are an innovative and fitting solution for the SUV segment.
- Aerodynamics with “Air Signs” and “Air Curtains”
The graphic components also highlight the search for enhanced aerodynamics on a body whose surfaces have already been worked to optimise air penetration. The Air Signs are chrome-finished signatures that underline the rear window while forming an air-flow tunnel. The Air Curtains are air intakes located at the front of the concept car. These two features are accompanied by front and rear wheel arch extractors and the highly tapered shapes of the wing mirrors. Together these components improve the overall aerodynamics of the CITROËN Aircross while enhancing its design.
- Highlighting row 2 with the Air Signs
The Air Signs play a two-fold role, improving aerodynamics while highlighting the importance of row 2. With the CITROËN Aircross, particular importance has been placed on passengers and the interior. This is an SUV for sharing.
STRONG AND POSITIVE BODY TRIM
The CITROËN Aircross concept car features intense, saturated orange-red body paint, signifying optimism and open-mindedness. The colour elicits anything but indifference, and underscores the lines and shapes of the vehicle. And to ensure continuity between the exterior and the interior, the colour perfectly matches the cabin design of the CITROËN Aircross.
The orange-red hue is punctuated by solid metal parts on the base of the wing mirrors, grille, Air Signs and towing hooks. These raw and authentic components lend an air of assurance and robustness to CITROËN Aircross, confirming its SUV nature.
- CITROËN AIRCROSS, CONSUMMATE COMFORT FOR EXTRA ENERGY
The CITROËN AIRCROSS interior immediately denotes a sense of consummate comfort, transforming road travel into a moment of well-being for the body and mind. In this respect, CITROËN Aircross takes an all-new path, eschewing classic automotive cues for a modern cabin where occupants simply feel good.
Making comfortable vehicles is a CITROËN mantra, one that assumes its full dimension on CITROËN Aircross through an interior architecture dominated by:
- Generous, open spaces creating a feeling of balance and serenity, while remaining highly functional, with ingenious storage compartments. Flowing forms contrast with technical components, as seen in the smooth and floating dashboard, punctuated at regular intervals by two side air vents and the screens – the only visible functions of the uncluttered interior of the CITROËN Aircross;
- a graphic approach informed by a crosswise emphasis that suggests space and comfort. The CITROËN Aircross is home to the sofa spirit initiated by the C4 Cactus but here reinterpreted in a more SUV style. Given the presence of the central console, the crosswise feel is created by graphic continuity between the doors, seats and central console, and by the thick white leather upholstery on the seats and central console. This horizontal take on cabin design further contributes to the feeling of complete comfort.
Well-being is also generated visually by the bright and colourful interior, in harmony with the body colour. The atmosphere is refreshing and resolutely modern, with white leather contrasting with orange stitching and leather. This approach to colours and materials enhances the all-enveloping atmosphere inside CITROËN Aircross.
Physical well-being is fostered by “king-size” seats. The seat backs are open and welcoming, inviting passengers to embark on a new kind of travel experience. The generous, wraparound headrests contribute to the overall feeling of comfort. The upper parts of the seats are finished in a mesh-like material that lends a warm and inviting feel. This reinterpretation, both highly technical and futuristic in its 3D treatment while echoing vintage materials, evokes pleasant travel memories for all passengers and constitutes a source of inspiration of CITROËN designers.
TRAVEL AS A LEITMOTIF
Taking up where the C4 Cactus left off, the CITROËN Aircross concept car also references the world of travel and luggage.
The luggage-maker spirit is expressed in the design of the eminently practical storage compartments, including a reinterpretation of the central console. This classic SUV feature takes on a new dimension inside the CITROËN Aircross, as it frees up space for generous, functional and handsome compartments. Ingenious storage spaces are also to be found in the door panels and the upper part of the dashboard.
The travel leitmotif is also expressed in the use of straps for the grab handles. Featuring on the door openings and on the console, they fit in perfectly with the SUV spirit and serve both a practical and design function. Inside the CITROËN Aircross, aestheticism is more than ever at the service of practicality.
- TECHNOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE FOR RELAXED MOBILITY
THE CHOICE BETWEEN SHARING AND INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCE
With the CITROËN Aircross concept car, technology is at the service of practicality. The highly present technological features benefit all occupants with:
- Innovative work on screens: strong graphic personality is a hallmark of CITROËN. In addition to a head-up display, CITROËN Aircross is home to two 12-inch panoramic HD screens bringing motorists an incredible and all-new graphic universe inspired by the worlds of fashion and furniture. The screens artfully display driving information and infotainment content with unrivalled graphic richness. In keeping with the cabin ambience, sparkling colours highlighted by a play on pixels lend warmth to the digital atmosphere on board CITROËN Aircross. The bold colours are worlds apart from conventional automotive cues;
- A mobile and motorised screen: set on a rail, one of the two screens can be conveyed from passenger to passenger with a simple movement of the hand, via a detector on the console. With this feature, passengers can access information on the travel route, watch films, select music and even choose an exhibition to be visited. Ultra-connected, passengers become as proactive in the journey as the driver. The two screens can also be merged to form one, controlled by the driver using touch pads on either side of the wheel;
- Sound spatialisation for peerless acoustic comfort: each of the four seats is equipped with speakers and a microphone to facilitate sharing and dialogue between passengers or, if so desired, to enjoy an individual
experience. Using these “sound bubbles”, each passenger can choose who they want to speak to while respecting the rest and relaxation of their fellow travellers, making the journey a time for calm or communication – the choice is theirs!
- Interaction with the outside world: two webcams are located on either side of the CITROËN Aircross cabin in the door frames, for taking photos of road adventures and creating an album that can be shared on the social networks. Displayed directly on the in-car screens, the images recorded by the webcams can also be used to gather information on sites of local interest and information on how to get there using the navigation system. Travelling on board CITROËN Aircross is a fun experience, shared by all.
COMBINING EFFICIENCY AND TOP-LEVEL PERFORMANCE
CITROËN AIRCROSS is powered by plug-in hybrid petrol technology, with an electric motor located on the rear axle. This bold configuration is a perfect fit for CITROËN Aircross, optimising road behaviour and traction while ensuring remarkably low fuel consumption and emissions.
The electric motor on the rear axle develops power of 95 bhp (70 kW) and torque of 200 Nm. The motor is fuelled by lithium-ion batteries that charge up in just three and a half hours via a 16A domestic socket. The electric motor is combined with a 1.6 THP petrol engine developing 218 bhp (160 kW) and torque of 275 Nm.
With its plug-in hybrid system, CITROËN Aircross contributes to environmental respect. This is especially true in urban driving in ZEV mode (short for “zero-emission vehicle”), an all-electric mode with a range of 50 km, and on roads calling for successive accelerations and decelerations, where the hybrid technology limits fuel consumption by combining the two energy sources. On the motorway, the internal-combustion engine takes over, providing strong performance.
No compromises have been made on driving pleasure and sensations. On the contrary, when the driver places strong pressure on the accelerator pedal and when torque is required immediately, a boost function combines the torque of the internal-combustion engine with that of the electric motor, delivering top-level performance (with some 313 bhp) but with no detriment to fuel consumption (1.7 l/100 km and 39 g/km of CO2). CITROËN Aircross accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds.
Length: 4.58 m
Width: 2.10 m
Height: 1.73 m
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.