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New models - Citroen - C4 Aircross

First drive: C4 Aircross goes drive-away

French connection: The Citroen C4 Aircross is based on the Mitsubishi ASX but features different styling to its donor car.

Citroen kickstarts C4 Aircross under new distributor with drive-away pricing

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Citroen logo28 Mar 2013

CITROEN'S revival in Australia continues with confirmation of drive-away pricing for its C4 Aircross compact SUV, eight months after it officially went on sale.

Now available for $31,990 drive-away in base two-wheel drive guise and $33,990 for the four-wheel drive, the C4 Aircross gives Citroen a leg-up in the booming compact SUV segment in Australia.

Sales of the Mitsubishi ASX-based crossover have been slow since its release in July last year, with just 71 units shifted in 2012 and 13 sales in the first two months of this year.

In comparison, sister company Peugeot's twin SUV, the 4008, has sold 130 units this year and the Citroen is even being outsold by Chinese brand Chery's J11.

The relaunch of the French car-maker's first crossover vehicle comes after private importer Sime Darby officially took over distribution of Citroen from Ateco in February this year.

At the media launch of the C4 Aircross this week, Citroen Automobiles Australia national marketing manager Manuel Tynas said that the French car-maker was hoping for an increase in sales, indicating a modest target of 20 units per month.

Little has changed since the C4 Aircross was released last year - it is still available in one specification only – the Exclusive - but with the choice of either two-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Pricing remains as it was at launch, however Citroen has added a reversing camera as standard and the price of both models is now permanently drive-away, which in reality means a price cut of several thousand dollars.

By comparison, the mechanically identical Peugeot 4008 kicks off from $28,990 in entry-level Active guise but it is only available with a manual gearbox, whereas the top-spec all-wheel drive automatic Allure jumps to $38,490.

Mitsubishi's ASX on which both French-branded cars are based is price is $3000 cheaper than the Citroen for the two-wheel drive Aspire range-topper, and the all-wheel drive variant is $34,990.

Citroen Automobiles Australia general manager John Startari told GoAuto that the reason for importing just one specification level was to test the waters in the SUV market.

“It’s a new foray for Citroen,” he said. “We want to see whether Citroen buyers will accept us going into the SUV category because it is not something we have been in before.” Mr Startari said that the introduction of further variants would depend on how the vehicle is received locally.

“We are being very conservative with the sales figures, obviously we can expand on that should the need arise. There are manual variants available, but we have chosen to just stick with two-wheel drive and four wheel drive in one specification level with options.”

Citroen has included enough gear in the C4 Aircross to entice buyers away from its higher-selling competition in the segment that also includes the Volkswagen Tiguan, Nissan Dualis, Skoda Yeti and the top-selling Hyundai ix35.

The cabin of the C4 Aircross gets leather-covered steering wheel with audio controls, chrome surrounds on the dials, air conditioning controls and gear shift knob, automatic dimming interior mirror, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and an auxiliary socket.

A chilled glovebox, dark tinting on the rear and back windows, the aforementioned reversing camera in the interior mirror and a Rockford Fosgate hi-fi system are also standard on both models, with the short options list including power heated leather seats and metallic paint.

Strangely, an optional panoramic glass roof with roof rails is available as an option – but only on the two-wheel drive model.

Safety features include seven airbags, park assist and emergency brake assist, however the C4 Aircross is yet to be crash tested by ANCAP.

The Citroen has been given a unique design to differentiate it from its donor car, the ASX and its French sister, the 4008. Citroen claims that the rear lights and 18-inch alloy wheels were inspired by the C4 hatch and Hypnos concept car from the 2008 Paris motor show and that they “were designed to optimise air flow and cut CO2 emissions.”

Mr Tynas said that Citroen had modified the steering from the ASX and sound proofing had also improved.

Powering the C4 Aircross is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 110kW of power and 199Nm of torque mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with paddle shifters as standard.

The compact crossover completes the zero to 100 kilometre sprint in 10.2 seconds in two-wheel drive guise while the all-paw version is a tad slower at 10.9 seconds. These figures match up precisely with the Peugeot 4008.

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