Citroën has unveiled a new concept car ahead of this year’s Shanghai motor show. The latter venue being chosen to mark the car’s official public debut reflects the importance of the Chinese market, which accounts for 25% of the French carmaker’s total sales and currently stands as the brand’s number-one market.
Packaged as an SUV, the Aircross design study draws on the product and styling traits of the new C4 Cactus, with a body style intended for worldwide sale.
The front end features a new chevron design and a two-tier light signature, which first appeared on the latest-generation C4 Picasso. At the rear, the new 3D-effect lights are rounded out by a floating roof and uninterrupted area of glass right around the cabin.
The body is set on large wheels with 275/42 R 22 tyres. Citroën says the tyres were designed exclusively for the Aircross by Continental and feature large tread blocks with a customised pattern.
The body is further punctuated by graphic components which the designers say have been incorporated to enhance functionality. There is a fresh take on the ‘Airbump’ technology of the C4 Cactus, adapting it to SUV requirements. Whilst Airbump technology is designed to protect the car’s body from everyday bumps and scrapes, the ‘Alloy Bumps’ on the Aircross are said to protect the vehicle from lateral impact with their visible padding. The bumps are made using an aluminium honeycomb structure that Citroën’s designers say was first used in motorsport.
The bodywork also features a number of new aerodynamic components. So-called ‘Air Signs’ surround each rear window to form an air-flow tunnel, while ‘Air Curtains’ act as air intakes located at the front of the concept car. These two features are accompanied by front and rear wheel arch extractors and the tapered shapes of the door mirrors.
On the inside, the Aircross continues the ‘sofa’ theme initiated by the C4 Cactus, reinterpreted with SUV styling. A horizontal design effect is created with graphic continuity between the doors, seats and central console, and by the thick white leather upholstery on the seats and the central console.
A head-up display on the dashboard, meanwhile, is accompanied by two 12-inch panoramic HD screens with all-new infographics said to have been inspired by the worlds of fashion and modern furniture design.
Underneath, the concept is powered by a by plug-in hybrid system, with an electric motor located on the rear axle. The latter is claimed to develop 95 bhp and torque of 148 lb-ft, and is combined with a 1.6 THP petrol engine developing 218 bhp and torque of 203 lb-ft. 0 to 62 mph is said to take 4.5 seconds.
In all-electric mode, Citroën says the Aircross has a range of 31 miles. Combined cycle fuel consumption is listed at 166 mpg with CO2 emissions of 39 g/km.