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Citroen Aircross Concept for Shanghai

Citroen Aircross Concept for Shanghai

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Citroen has taken its polarising C4 Cactus and created a bold new concept car, called the Aircross Concept. The Aircross Concept points to a new range of crossovers following this new design, in a bid to separate itself from the rest of the competition.

This new design shown on the Aircross will be used on a family of new crossovers, ranging from a Mini Countryman-sized car, up to a seven-seater SUV. Citroen knows that this new design will not please everyone, and will be an either love it or hate it kind of car. However, this is exactly what Citroen wants. Through this new design language, Citroen is trying to establish itself as a separate brand, distinct from both Peugeot and DS. Citroen knows that sportiness is not a character trait of Citroen, but that design flair is. Cars like the CX, the GS, the 2CV, the SM and C6 are all cars known for their outstanding design, and Citroen would like to continue along that line of great design.

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Based on PSA’s latest EMP2 platform, which underpins the entire range of Peugeot and Citroen’s mid to large cars, the Aircross is almost exactly the same size as the Land Rover Discovery Sport in terms of length and height but is narrower than the Discovery.

At the moment this car is purely a concept, so the powertrain is based on current technologies found on current PSA roadcars, but tarted up a bit for the glitz and glam of the Shanghai Motor Show. Under the bonnet of the Aircross is a 1.6 litre petrol engine producing 218 bhp, mated to a 95 bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle. The electric motor is powered by a lithium ion battery pack which is said to recharge in three and a half hours from a domestic socket. This powertrain also features a ‘boost’ function which calls on the full 313 bhp during heavy acceleration. 0-62 mph is claimed to be 4.5 seconds, and is said to emit just 39 g/km of CO2 and return 166 mpg. Whether this powertrain will ever reach production is uncertain, but the numbers certainly are appealing.

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Inside there is the usual flair of very little buttons, brightly coloured interior fittings and upholstery and several million screens dotted throughout the interior of the car. If the Aircross does go into production, expect an interior more akin to the interior of the C4 Cactus than to this concept.

No mention of when this car is slated for production, but expect to see a more roadworthy vehicle to hit showrooms in about 12-to-18 months.

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Facelifted DS5 Set for Geneva

Facelifted DS5 Set for Geneva

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Notice I have not used the name “Citroen”? Citroen would rather I didn’t. They would like to reposition their DS brand as a more premium product than other Citroen, so have “separated” them, much in the same way as Lexus is a separate entity from Toyota.

As you can tell from the images released, they have completely removed the Citroen double chevrons, making use of the DS branding all along the car. Besides removing Citroen badging, they have also updated the design, making it even more better looking than before. The new design is classier and incorporates a new corporate grille. The rear is largely unchanged, but overall the car seems fresh and retains its French quirkiness.

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In addition to the updated design, they have also added new engines. There is the 90g/km Hybrid 4×4, which was known as the Hybrid 4 in the previous model. In addition to the hybrid model, there are three diesel engines, with 120 bhp, 150 bhp and 180 bhp. There is also a 165 bhp petrol engine. Later on a 210 bhp petrol engine will be added to the line up. All engines will be equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox initially, then midway through 2015 the six-speed automatic version will be made available.

The interior also gets a thorough going over. Many of the buttons controlling infotainment have been removed and everything is controlled via a touchscreen. With this new touchscreen infotainment, CItroen has also launched a new app for Android and iOS, called MyDS, which displays important information about the car to the owner.

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This is only a mid-life facelift, to keep things fresh until a new model comes along in a few years.

 

Citroen C4 Cactus; Simple but not Budget?

Citroen C4 Cactus; Simple but not Budget?

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Citroën is set to embark on a new strategy for their C-line cars, that of creating good everyday cars with useful features for everyday use, without any frills .

This does not mean budget like Dacia, the cars will be reasonably priced and supposedly have the range of features expected in today’s world, such as air con, electric windows, satnav and so on, but no extra features like lane departure warning and radar guided cupholders. Fair enough, a car for people who want a car. A thing which takes you from A to B, comfortably. So not a car to set the pulse racing then.

 The C-line needs to be something different to the hugely popular DS-line , but still be interesting and relevant enough to sell.Citroen argues that there is a market for cheap cars which are honest workhorses for those individuals who see cars as white goods. They regard cars as a means to an end, nothing more, nothing less. They do not go out for drives, they do not take the time to get to know their car. They use it like a washing machine. When it works they use it, when it stops working, they replace it. There is no emotional involvement.

It therefore makes sense for Citroen to tackle this segment of the market in the same way that Volkswagen does with Skoda. Outside the world of petrolheads, the DS, the 2CV, the SM, the Mehari and the Traction Avant mean nothing. Probably to those outside the car world, Citroen means nothing, and I am willing to bet that Citroen want to utilise that to their advantage, and create another image for themselves.Time will tell whether they prove successful or not, but as ideas go, this is an interesting one.

So how does this strategy start? The first car to attempt this new milestone in Citroen’s history is the C4 Cactus. Silly name I know, but bear with me. As I just said there is nothing particularly noteworthy about the car,no massaging seats, no massive turbocharged engine. it’s just a car. As my dear mother likes to say, four wheels and an engine. It does have these bumpers with air pockets, designed to protect the car against rebellious trolleys in supermarket car parks, and the back pillar resembles that of the DS3. Both these details are quite interesting I suppose, though not interesting enough to make me want to buy this car.

Dig beneath the surface, and things become rather interesting. This car weighs 965kg, or 60kg less than a Ford Fiesta. Citroen is on a mission with this car to remove any unnecessary stuff within the car. The dashboard is designed with simplicity and elegance in mind. There is no rev counter, no centre console, the rear seats do not split and rear windows don’t even open. Why have they done this, you might be asking. All in the pursuit of saving weight. The engine line-up is quite a modest one, with the most powerful petrol engine producing 108bhp. However, because it is so light, the power-to-weight ratio is quite high. Also, in keeping the power output low, costs will be kept at a minimum too. In the UK, this car will have a starting price of about 13,000 sterling, about the same price as a mid-range Ford Fiesta.

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The Citroen boss also said that the C-line will not have powerful engines like the DS line, in a bid to keep costs low. He argues that a more powerful engine would require bigger brakes, re-tuning the suspension and so on, adding to the costs, and thus raising the showroom price, and price is key when you want to attract customers.

Another fascinating feature is that this car might also introduce a new method of car ownership, whereby one may rent the car for a period of time at a fixed rate. Whether this will work or not, I have my doubts, I want to own my cars, not rent them. Then again I am not exactly the type of buyer they are looking for, so my opinion on this particular matter does not really count.

I am quite fascinated to see how this new direction pans out for Citroen. It is quite a no nonsense approach to cars, something that Citroen used to do brilliantly with cars like the 2CV. I do hope it works out for them, and then the money they make off these cars can be put to making wacky cars.. Like say a Citroen DS5 Coupe with the Hybrid four-wheel drive system and a retractable glass roof maybe? I would very much like to see that.

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New Peugeot 108 Revealed

New Peugeot 108 Revealed

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This is the new Peugeot 108, a car aimed to take on the might of small cars like the Fiat 500, the VW Up! and Kia Picanto.

The 108 follows the same basic principles as the 107 which came before it. The 108 will be based on the same platform on the next generation Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1. It will also be built alongside these two models in the same factory in the Czech Republic.

The new 108 aims to be the lightest car in its class, weighing as little as 840kg, and comes in three and five-door models. The surprise here is that the three-door will also be available with a retractable fabric roof, in the same style as a Fiat 500C or Citroen DS3 Cabriolet. This new car is less cutesy than the outgoing 107, and has a more upmarket look to it. The new design features elements from its current design language, such as a smaller front grille and “lion’s claw” taillights.

In a bid to make the new car feel more upmarket, the car will be available with options like a 7 inch touchscreen, keyless entry, push button start and automatic air-conditioning. This touchscreen uses “Mirrorlink” system to connect to your smartphone and use the smartphone through the car’s touchscreen. There will also be an internet radio service made available, known as “Peugeot Music.”

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The car will be available with a choice of two petrol engines. A 1.0 litre engine, producing 68bhp and emitting just 97 g/km of CO2 in standard set-up, then an e-VTi emitting 88 g/km of CO2.  There will also be a 1.2 litre unit, producing 82bhp and emitting 99 g/km of CO2. No diesel engines are planned for this car as EU regulations would make diesel engines of this size too expensive to develop. These engines can be mated to either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.

On the whole, its a great step forward for Peugeot’s city car. The 107 has been rather long in the tooth for quite some time now, and was in desperate need of updating. The new look could very well tempt buyers from the Up! and the 500, and offering it upmarket features like a 7 inch touchscreen and keyless entry will make this car stick out from the rest of the crowd.