Citroen has revealed its muscular new Aircross concept, potentially previewing a next-generation midsized SUV in the process.
The French carmaker says the Aircross offers a taste of its “international ambitions”, developed “with a body style intended for worldwide sale”.
Citroen has yet to confirm a production future for its new concept, but, like the C4 Cactus before it, we may yet see the new Aircross in showrooms - and with very few styling changes when it gets there.
As with the compact Cactus and the new Picasso models, the Aircross concept features a split headlight and grille design that is quickly becoming the family face of the Citroen brand.
A new and more muscular body extends behind the new concept’s face, with pumped wheel arches trimmed in rugged cladding. A wraparound D-pillar can also be seen at the rear.
The rear view is dominated by a pair of pill-shaped tail lamps with a layered LED design. Bumpers at both ends feature large grey plastic inserts, housing deep-set fog lights up front and a pair of exhaust tips at the rear.
The three-pod look of those panels is replicated through the lower edge of the doors, which are flanked by pumped guards and large 22-inch five-spoke alloys.
Citroen has employed a ‘suicide’-style rear hinge design for the rear doors, which also features a large window frame with a brushed steel effect.
Inside, the Aircross showcases a minimalist retro-futuristic theme, with white leather surfaces contrasted against grey fabric and highlights of gloss-black plastic and polished aluminium.
Two large displays make up the bulk of the dash’s control features, while a third screen sits ahead of the steering wheel as a head-up display.
On the more fanciful side - if the interior design wasn’t there already - the Aircross also boasts a pair of external mirror-mounted cameras intended to photograph and film the outside view “to be shared on social networks”.
POWERTRAIN AND PLATFORM
Power in the Aircross is provided by a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid EV system, pairing a 160kW/275Nm 1.6 litre turbo engine with a 70kW/200Nm electric motor.
Citroen claims the Aircross will cover the 0-100km/h sprint in a rapid 4.5 seconds, while fuel consumption in regulation driving is estimated at just 1.7 l/100km.
An all-electric driving range of 50km is also promised.
Citroen does not currently offer any plug-in hybrid models, although this new unveiling may be a new clue of its plans for a future PHEV.
For now, the company offers only the unrelated diesel-electric Hybrid4 system, developed together with Bosch.
The company has previously revealed a version of the Aircross concept’s PHEV system in the Wild Rubis concept, which later became the DS brand’s first SUV - the 6WR - driven instead by regular petrol and diesel engines
In fact, it is likely that the 6WR forms the basis of this new concept’s architecture, with the 4.58m length and 2.8m wheelbase of the Aircross nearly identical to the DS-badged SUV’s 4.55m length and 2.73m wheelbase.
That could also hint at the Aircross concept’s future market, with the 6WR known to have been engineered specifically for the Chinese market.
No surprise, then, that the Aircross concept’s world premiere will take place at the Shanghai Auto Show on April 22.
It is possible however that the huge popularity of the global SUV market has moved Citroen to re-engineer the platform to meet European standards, suggesting that both the 6WR - and this new Aircross - could soon be given a wider release.
Length: 4.58 m
Width: 2.10 m
Height: 1.73 m
Wheelbase: 2.80 m
Plug-in hybrid drivetrain
1.6 THP petrol engine
power: 218bhp (160kW) | torque: 275Nm
Electric motor on rear axle
power: 95bhp (70kW) | torque: 200Nm
ZEV mode: range of 31 miles (50km)
Performance, fuel consumption & emissions
0-62mph (0-100km/h): 4.5 s
Fuel consumption: 166mpg (1.7 l/100 km) MVEG combined cycle
CO2 emissions: 39g/km
Tyres: Continental 275/45 R 22
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