Citroen was founded almost a century ago, and since then, it’s sold roughly 50 million vehicles worldwide. To help celebrate this momentous achievement, the French automaker is unveiling a new hybrid crossover concept for the upcoming Shanghai Motor Show, highlighting the brand’s forward-thinking philosophy with the latest technology, design language, interior innovations, and powertrain developments. The concept draws heavily from the successful C4 Cactus, but brings a few fresh ideas to the table with typical Citroen flair.

The double-chevron brand chose Shanghai for the debut as a means of reflecting “...the importance of the Chinese market, which accounts for 25 percent of total sales, and stands as Citroen’s number-one market.” However, the Aircross was designed to reflect the demands of customers everywhere, mixing comfort, performance and economy into one cohesive package. 

While still only a concept, the Aircross might be a good signifier of things to come from Citroen. And even though some of the ideas it presents could be seen as too radical for mass consumption, don’t discount anything – Citroen has been known to embrace even the craziest concepts if they show potential. This is historically evidenced by the wonderful DS of the 1950s. Check it out here.

Continue reading to learn more about the Citroen Aircross Concept.

  • 2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    218
  • Torque @ RPM:
    202
  • Displacement:
    1.6 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
- image 625830

Aesthetically, it’s easy to spot the similarities between the Aircross and Cactus. The front end is rounded and short, the lines are simple and the body curves gently without too many angular cutoffs. The Aircross builds on this with a split upper air intake, higher stance, beefier wheel arches and upright hatch. While the Cactus is a compact crossover, the Aircross is all SUV, both in looks and dimensions, sporting 16.5 inches of extra length, 14.2 inches of extra width, and nearly 10 inches of extra height. 

The body is painted in “look-at-me” reddish orange, while polished metal is present in the side mirrors, rear window surrounds, grille and tow hooks. An enlarged, 22-inch wheel and tire package sets the stance. Continental designed the 275/42R22 tires exclusively for the Aircross, with chunky tread blocks in a unique pattern to highlight the vehicle’s “all-terrain abilities.”

The new language includes a redesigned chevron emblem and two-tier lighting signature that first appeared on the C4 Picasso. Out back, the taillights have a 3D-effect that looks deeply set into the rear end. The floating roof and wraparound glass almost lend it a two-tone appearance.

Citroen also adapted the Airbump technology from the Cactus for SUV use, and renamed it “Alloy Bumps.” Designed to be both functional and visually enhancing, Alloy Bumps were added to protect the body panels from “lateral impacts” using a “highly absorbent aluminum honeycomb structure.”

With a name like Aircross, one would expect Citroen to address the vehicle’s aerodynamics. Appropriately, the automaker incorporated a number of features designed to help the tall, boxy body slip through the air with greater efficiency. These include “Air Signs,” which are chrome-finished surrounds for the rear windows that direct air into specific channels. There are also “Air Curtain” intakes up front in the bumper, front and rear wheel-arch air extractors, and tapered side mirrors.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,580 MM (180.31 Inches)
Width 2,100 MM (82.67 Inches)
Height 1,730 MM (68.11 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,800 MM (110.23 Inches)

Interior

2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
- image 625833

Ingress to the Aircross is eased by rear suicide doors, which swing back to reveal the absence of a dividing pillar between the front and rear seats, ala Honda Element. The interior colors reflect the exterior paint, with bright orange, white and black used throughout. Citroen says it incorporated “geometric shapes” when designing the interior, most obviously in the boxy seats, squared steering wheel, and straight, purposeful lines. It all feels very horizontal, with rectangular elements in the doors, seats and central console. This lends an enhanced sense of spaciousness, something Citroen calls the “sofa spirit,” first seen on the Cactus and reinterpreted here for the SUV Aircross.

The floating dashboard up front is simple, with only a few air vents and two large screens in place to interface with the driver and front passenger. A heads-up display helps the driver keep tabs on vitals. The upholstery is white leather with orange stitching and a mesh-like material. Citroen calls the seats “king-size,” with wraparound headrests and deep bucket bolstering.

Citroen wanted to emphasize the theme of travel, and infused the Aircross with a “luggage-maker spirit” that’s conveyed through copious storage spaces and compartments, including the large central console running lengthwise through the cabin. Storage is also found in the door panels and in the upper portion of the dash. The theme continues with the use of straps for handles, found on the doors and console in bright orange.

Infotainment is also quite unusual. The two 12-inch HD screens in the dash are adjustable, either separated into two individual screens or merged into one, which is a feature the driver can control via touch pads on either side of the steering wheel. One of the screens can also be transferred to the passenger with “a simple movement of the hand via a detector on the console. With this feature, passengers can access information on the move, watch films, select music and even choose a local exhibition to be visited.” What’s more, each seat is outfitted with speakers and a microphone, enabling “audio spatialization,” which translates into either easy communication or an individualized audio experience.

Finally, there are two webcams in the doorframes on either side of the cabin that allow the passengers to take pictures of their journey for easy social media sharing. The images can also be used to gather information on local points of interest, connecting to the navigation system for quick detours when desired.

Drivetrain

2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
- image 625842

The plug-in hybrid drivetrain on the Aircross uses a gas-powered engine to drive the front wheels and an electric motor in the rear axle to drive the rears, thus creating an AWD system that provides good traction, decent economy and solid power.

The ICE is a 1.6-liter turbo high-pressure unit that creates 218 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor creates 95 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. Juice for the motor comes from a lithium-ion battery pack that can charge to full in three and a half hours via a 16A domestic socket.

In zero-emissions mode, the Aircross purportedly gets 31 miles of range. Citroen says combined fuel consumption is 166 mpg, while emissions are just 39 g/km. In stop-and-go traffic, the hybrid system maximizes fuel economy by drawing from both the electric and gasoline power sources, while the ICE takes over on the highway for max power.

If speed is what’s needed, there’s a boost function that combines the ICE and electric motor for an optimum 313 horsepower, giving the Aircross a 0-to-60 time of just 4.5 seconds.

Drivetrain Specifications

Combustion engine 1.6 THP petrol
Output 218 HP
Torque 202 LB-FT
Electric motor Rear axle
Electric power 95 HP
Electric torque 147 LB-FT
ZEV mode: range 31 miles (50km)
0 to 62mph (100km/h) 4.5 seconds
Fuel consumption 166mpg (1.7 l/100 km) MVEG combined cycle
CO2 emissions 39g/km

Competition

Lexus RX

2016 Lexus RX
- image 624699

Making its world debut at the 2015 NYAS, the new Lexus RX is the fourth generation of the premium brand’s all-time best-selling model. Every facet of the RX gets an update for 2016, including sharp, angular styling on the outside, dominated by a single-piece front grille. The interior comes with a redesigned rectangular infotainment screen sitting on top of the dash, rear-facing screens for the rear passengers, premium materials, and a large moonroof. The hybrid drivetrain combines an Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V-6 with an electric motor to generate around 300 horsepower. This mates to an eight-speed automatic, and AWD is available as an option.

Read our full review here.

Audi Q7

2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 Exterior
- image 610933

The four-ring badge first dropped cover on its full-size SUV in 2005 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but it wasn’t until the 2016 model year that Audi endowed it with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain option. The Germans also cut out a lot of mass, so the new model weighs 716 pounds less than its predecessor. Inside, you’ll find more space, with additional headroom measured at 1.6-inches up front and 0.9-inch in the rear. There’s also leather upholstery, aluminum and wood trim, and premium infotainment. The e-tron drivetrain pairs a 3.0-liter TDI powerplant producing 258 horsepower with two electric motors, yielding a grand total of 373 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. A sprint to 60 mph takes six seconds, while fuel economy is 138 mpg.

Read out full review here.

Conclusion

2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
- image 625831

Citroen has quite a few interesting ideas in play with the Aircross concept. Beyond the love-it-or-leave-it styling, I think the interior shows great promise. I like the seats, the infotainment system, and the passenger communication setup. The idea of individualizing your own audio experience is certainly quite attractive to anyone who’s been on a long road trip with someone with less than ideal musical tastes. I also really like the idea of external cameras capturing local points of interest for a quick diversion. What’s that? You’ve never tried the tacos around here? Well, let’s get lunch – this place a few miles down the road has great reviews.

However, I think the drivetrain has to be complete vaporware. Hybrid drivetrains are all the rage nowadays, and while it certainly seems like we can have our cake and eat it too when it comes to efficiency and performance, 166 mpg and 4.5 seconds to 60 mph is a bit too unbelievable for me, especially for a big SUV laden with leather upholstery, tons of speakers, and 22-inch rims shod in off-road rubber.

But that’s what makes concepts so cool – the “what if” factor. Citroen is daydreaming here, which means we may or may not see some of this stuff in future models. And while it would be great for a mid-four second blast to highways speeds with only 313 horsepower, I’ll put my money on the infotainment system instead.

  • Leave it
    • * Hybrid vaporware
    • * Tries to do it all, might not do any of it

Press Release

As the brand celebrates 50 million vehicle sales since its creation some 95 years ago, Citroën is unveiling a surprising, creative and bold new concept car ahead of the Shanghai Motor Show.

2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
- image 625831

The new Citroën Aircross concept confirms the brand’s ability to develop its new positioning, which is already:

INTERNATIONAL: The Citroën Aircross illustrates the brand’s international ambitions, building on the success of the New C4 Cactus, with a body style intended for worldwide sale.
DIFFERENT: The Citroën Aircross concept offers new design codes whilst respecting the essential characteristics of an SUV. Drawing on the product and styling traits of C4 Cactus, the body design and cabin ambience express a sense of modernity and a unique ‘feel good’ spirit. This new concept car illustrates Citroën’s ability to assert its identity in all vehicle segments.

The Citroën Aircross concept successfully builds on the achievements of the C4 Cactus with:

A SINGULAR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY: Blending power and positive energy, the Citroën Aircross is a protective and welcoming SUV. This resolutely optimistic vehicle casts off any sense of aggression in favour of;
A pure and engaging personality, through the overall balance of the body styling underscored with flowing forms that are punctuated by strong graphic components, including ‘Alloy Bumps’ and ‘Air Signs’.
The positive design is heightened by vibrant orange-red paintwork symbolising energy and serenity, with innovative materials denoting robustness.
A styling approach emphasising functionality and aerodynamics.
AN INVITATION TO TRAVEL: The cabin offers an immediate sense of comfort. Everything inside the Citroën Aircross is designed to promote occupant well-being. In addition to the physical comfort provided by the broad and generous seats, well-being is enhanced still further with the use of new materials and a blend of light, invigorating colours. The pure, horizontal lines of the exterior suggest a feeling of interior space, while the ample geometric shapes of the uncluttered interior offer a combination of appealing aesthetics and functionality. The Citroën Aircross concept represents a new approach to travel with specially designed storage compartments and the use of luggage style ‘straps’ in a fresh and contemporary cabin that invites passengers to take to the road together.
TECHNOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE: With a focus on practicality, occupants are able to choose between a shared and an individual travelling experience. The concept car is equipped with two 12-inch HD screens, one of which moves across the dashboard so it can be seen by more than just one passenger. Each seat is equipped with speakers and microphones to encourage dialogue between the occupants. Technological intelligence is also expressed in the choice of the plug-in hybrid drivetrain to combine efficiency and top-level performance. The Citroën Aircross features meaningful technologies for relaxed mobility and a new travelling experience.

2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
- image 625832

The Citroën Aircross concept car will be unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month. This symbolic venue was chosen to reflect the importance of the Chinese market, which accounts for 25% of total sales and stands as Citroën’s number-one market.

01. CITROËN AIRCROSS: A UNIQUE SUV PERSONALITY

CITROËN’S TAKE ON THE SUV: INTENSE & OPTIMISTIC

The Citroën Aircross concept conveys a sense of power and determination. The body is set on large wheels with 275/42 R 22 tyres. The tyres were designed exclusively for Citroën Aircross by Continental and feature large tread blocks and a unique pattern for excellent traction on the most demanding surfaces. The striking design of the wheels highlights the all-terrain abilities of the Citroën Aircross.

With its parallel-to-the-road waistline, the new Citroën Aircross conveys an air of confidence, but without the feeling of arrogance or aggression.

The front and rear bumpers fully convey Citroën’s design identity. 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 have a high-tech and emphatically graphic appearance. These classic Citroën design touches are rounded out by a floating roof and uninterrupted area of glass right around the cabin.

HARNESSING DESIGN FOR ENHANCED FUNCTIONALITY

The body of the Citroën Aircross is punctuated by strong graphic components designed to enhance functionality. Citroën has developed a fresh take on the Airbump® technology of 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 Citroën Aircross are there to protect the vehicle from lateral impact with their visible padding. The ‘Alloy Bumps’ are made using a highly absorbent aluminium honeycomb structure, which was first used in motorsport, and combines protection, lightness and style. The ‘Alloy Bumps’ are an innovative and fitting solution for the SUV segment.

The graphic components also highlight the search for enhanced aerodynamics, on bodywork that has already been optimised for efficient air penetration. The ‘Air Signs’ are chrome-finished signatures that surround each rear window to form an air-flow tunnel. In addition, ‘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 door mirrors. Together these components improve the overall aerodynamics of the Citroën Aircross while enhancing its design.

2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
- image 625833

The ‘Air Signs’ play a two-fold role, improving aerodynamics while highlighting the importance of the second row of seats. With the Citroën Aircross, particular importance has been placed on the passengers and the interior. This is an SUV for sharing.

STRONG & POSITIVE BODYWORK

The Citroën Aircross concept features intense orange-red body paint, signifying optimism and open-mindedness. The colour elicits anything but indifference and underscores the lines and shapes of the vehicle. To ensure continuity between the exterior and the interior, the colour perfectly matches the cabin colour scheme.

The orange-red hue is punctuated by solid metal elements 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.

02. CITROËN AIRCROSS: COMFORT & A SENSE OF WELL-BEING

The Citroën Aircross interior immediately denotes a sense of total comfort, transforming road travel into a time of well-being for the body and the mind. In this respect, the Citroën Aircross takes an all-new path, avoiding classic automotive cues to create a modern cabin where the occupants simply feel good.

MENTAL WELL-BEING

Making comfortable vehicles is a fundamental part of Citroën’s DNA. Comfort assumes its full potential with the 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 air vents and the two large screens – the only visible interface in the uncluttered interior.
A graphical approach that emphasises the feeling of space and comfort. The Citroën Aircross showcases the ‘sofa’ spirit 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. 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 that is in total harmony with the exterior body colour. The atmosphere is refreshing and modern, with white leather contrasting with orange stitching. This approach to colours and materials enhances the all-enveloping atmosphere inside Citroën Aircross.

PHYSICAL WELL-BEING

2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
- image 625834

Physical well-being is encouraged by the ‘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 to the cabin. This reinterpretation is both highly technical and futuristic, although it also hints at vintage materials that evoke pleasant travel memories for all passengers and constitutes a source of inspiration for Citroën’s designers.

TRAVEL AS A LEADING THEME

Picking up where C4 Cactus left off, the Citroën Aircross concept 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 and functional compartments. Ingenious storage spaces are also found in the door panels and the upper part of the dashboard.

The travel theme is also expressed in the use of straps for the grab handles. Featuring on the doors 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 complements practicality.

03. TECHNOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE FOR RELAXED MOBILITY

A CHOICE BETWEEN SHARING OR AN INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCE

With the Citroën Aircross concept, technology complements practicality. A variety of technological features benefit all occupants with:

Innovative screens: A 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 with all-new graphics inspired by the worlds of fashion and modern furniture design. The screens artfully display driving information and infotainment content with unrivalled graphic richness. In keeping with the cabin ambience, sparkling colours and pixels lend warmth to the digital atmosphere on board Citroën Aircross. The bold colours are worlds apart from conventional automotive cues.
A mobile & motorised screen: One of the two screens can be transferred 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 move, watch films, select music and even choose a local 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. This is controlled by the driver using touch pads on either side of the steering wheel.
Audio spatialisation for peerless acoustic comfort: Each of the four seats is equipped with speakers and a microphone to facilitate dialogue between the occupants or to allow an individual in-cabin experience. Using these ‘sound bubbles’, each passenger can choose who they want to speak to while respecting the relaxation of their fellow travellers, making the journey a time for calm or communication – the choice is theirs.

2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
- image 625835

Interaction with the outside world: Two webcams are located on either side of the cabin in the door frames. These cameras are able to take pictures outside the car, creating an album that can be shared on 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 that can be shared by all.

COMBINING EFFICIENCY & TOP-LEVEL PERFORMANCE

Citroën Aircross is powered by plug-in hybrid petrol technology, with an electric motor located on the rear axle. This configuration is a perfect fit for the Citroën Aircross, optimising performance and traction while ensuring low fuel consumption and emissions.

The electric motor develops 95bhp (70kW) and torque of 200Nm. The motor is powered 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 218bhp (160kW) and torque of 275Nm.

With its plug-in hybrid powertrain, the Citroën Aircross respects the environment. This is especially true in urban driving conditions in ZEV mode. This all-electric mode has a range of 31 miles (50km).

On roads that require successive acceleration and deceleration, the hybrid technology limits fuel consumption by combining both energy sources. On the motorway, the internal-combustion engine takes over, providing optimum high-speed performance.

2015 Citroen Aircross Concept
- image 625836

No compromise has been made in terms of driving pleasure. When the driver accelerates quickly and torque is required immediately, a boost function combines the torque of the internal-combustion engine and the electric motor delivering optimum performance with up to 313bhp available. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 166mpg (1.7 l/100 km) and CO2 emissions are an impressively low 39g/km. Citroën Aircross accelerates from 0 to 62mph in just 4.5 seconds.

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