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Future models - Citroen - Aircross

Shanghai show: Citroen airs Aircross Concept

Given the bumps: Citroen's bumpy impact-resistant surface that first appeared on the C4 Cactus now appears on its next SUV concept, the Aircross.

Aircross large SUV concept could herald vital new model for Citroen

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Citroen logo9 Apr 2015

CITROEN has released images of a concept that could pave the way for an expanding range of SUVs for the French car-maker.

To be shown at this month’s Shanghai motor show in China – one of Citroen’s biggest markets – the high-riding Aircross Concept picks up from the forthcoming, smaller C4 Cactus production car with its head-turning looks and protective side-impact innovation.

If a production version of the Aircross eventuates, the model will fill a gap in the company's line-up in the lucrative mid-sized and large SUV segments, sitting above Cactus.

Measuring 4480mm long, 2100 wide and 1730mm tall, the Aircross has proportions similar to Jeep's Cherokee but with a wider stance.

It shares the PSA Peugeot Citroen's EMP2 platform that provides the basis for models such as the Peugeot 308 and Citroen C4 Picasso.

While the vehicle is firmly in the realm of concepts at this stage, Citroen Australia public relations and communications manager Tyson Bowen told GoAuto a production version would be warmly welcomed to the local range.

“There's nothing official on a production front at this stage,” he said.

“However, if it was to get to that point, we would definitely be championing it for the local market.

“I think we would have to consider it. It would sit in one of the most buoyant segments in our market, and if you look at where our line-up is currently weak, that would be one of the areas people would single out. So there is potential.”

Mr Bowen said a production Aircross would fit snugly into the mid-to-large SUV segment above the Cactus small crossover that is scheduled to arrive early next year.

“Cactus is a much smaller vehicle than that (Aircross) and about half way between C3 and C4, whereas this would sit about C4 and above,” he said.

Power for the Aircross Concept comes from a plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor for a respectable 233kW/475Nm output.

Acceleration to 100km/h from standstill takes a sportscar-like 4.5 seconds, and the Aircross can travel 50km on electric-only power or uses just 1.7 litres of fuel per 100km when in hybrid mode.

Citroen's latest concept reuses the Cactus’s light damage protection devices along each side.

Unlike the C4 Cactus, though, the Aircross evolution of balloon-like Airbumps are now called Alloy Bumps and are constructed from an aluminium honeycomb surrounded by rubber.

The use of other trend-bucking materials such as Teflon and brushed aluminium throughout the interior sets the Aircross apart from conventional vehicles.

On the outside, Air Signs and Air Curtains create more efficient airflow around the windows and front wheel arches.

The Aircross sits on large 22-inch wheels and knobbly Continental 275/45 tyres for optimum all-terrain performance.

All-electronic motorised 12-inch displays and anodised aluminium surfaces are ultra-futuristic, but the Aircross's orange fabric and white leather interior could have been lifted directly from the 1970s.

Like most concepts, not all of the features are expected to make a possible production version, but with its likable Cactus-style interior and pioneering Airbumps, Citroen has proved only a handful of elements may have to be sacrificed from the Aircross.

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