Having shrugged off the inhibiting effects of conventional design that took it into the category of the mundane for many years, PSA Citroën’s latest demonstration of its original technological and aesthetic design capabilities for its Citroën brand is the CXperience concept, timed for unveiling at the 2016 Paris Auto Show.
A gasoline plug-in hybrid with a maximum combined power output of around 220 kW (295 hp), it has progressive hydraulic “cushion” suspension (http://articles.sae.org/14867/) and a long (4.85-m / 15.7-ft) and low (1.37-m /4.5-ft-high) body. The concept sits on 22-in wheels and features aft-hinged rear doors. The overall exterior form has a bit of the radically different 1955 DS about it, including a single-spoke steering wheel.
CXperience marks a new offensive in brand strategy, according to Citroën CEO Linda Jackson. Interviewed by the author late last year, Jackson indicated that the company would re-establish its focus on comfort and individual design.
Said she of the new concept: “It challenges convention. It also fits in perfectly with the ambitions of the Citroën Advanced Comfort Program and illustrates our ‘be different, feel good’ promise in this segment.”
That segment is described as an executive hatchback. The concept has highly distinctive frontal treatment that includes V-shaped LED daylight running lights (DRL) comprising narrow strips above three LED directional headlights. Active air intakes integrated into the car’s bumpers improve both aerodynamic and thermal efficiency.
The rear window is concave with what Citroën describes as a “moving fin” aerodynamic aid. Laser fiber optic rear lights are fitted. And the backward-opening closures are described as “autoclave doors.” The car has twin sunroofs.
Exterior mirrors are replaced by rearview cameras; images are sent to small screens positioned along the inner door panels, which also carry speakers and air vents.
The car's dashboard comprises a 19-in rectangular touch-screen that can be configured in one, two or three sections. It is central to an interior that makes unusual use of fabrics, including textured leather floor covering bordered by chrome-finish sills. Shape-memory foam is used for the seats.
Occupant information sees emphasis placed on a very wide range of connected services. Those sitting in the back seats have a mobile tablet giving access to seat adjustment and air conditioning, plus media sharing via a new app: Share with U.
A head-up display (HUD) is fitted. Placed behind the interior rear view mirror is a wide angle HD camera capturing the view ahead. Images can be stored or shared on social networks.
The CXperience can be used in ZEV mode with a range of up to 60 km (37 m), its lithium-ion battery re-chargeable in a claimed 4.5 h with a standard domestic charging system, but “less than” 2.5 h using a solution based on a specific hybrid vehicle charger. The battery is tucked away under the car’s floor and drives the rear axle.
An 8-speed electrically-actuated automatic gearbox is positioned between the gasoline engine and the electric motor which can deliver up to 80 kW (107 hp).