Citroen’s rather striking AirCross concept car was featured on Citroen’s stand at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
Though it’s not exactly a brand new release (Citroen revealed the design study at the Shanghai Auto Show earlier in 2015), the AirCross Concept’s presence at Frankfurt was the first time the car has been shown to the public on its home continent.
Having the AirCross featured at Frankfurt also gave us the chance to further peek around what is a very interesting concept car – especially considering it’s been designed to have mass appeal.
Despite pinching a few cues from the C4 Cactus production car, the AirCross Concept comes with a look all of its own. The slim LED headlamps, for instance, feel much more cohesive in the pronounced front end than they do in the more rounded Cactus, and the thicker black wheel arch extensions give the AirCross a rugged look that’s befitting of something with mild off-road aspirations.
The ‘Airbumps’ on the C4 Cactus have also been repurposed on the AirCross: whilst they prevent car park-induced dings and scrapes for the C4, they’ve instead been re-purposed as side sill and front bumper protection on the AirCross.
Given the focus on off-roading, it’s surprising to see a less rugged approach taken with almost everything else under the AirCross Concept’s chunky bodywork. All four “king size” seats, for example, feature a built-in speaker system, and the dashboard binnacle consists of two touch screen displays.
Perhaps most interesting is the plug-in hybrid powertrain, which hasn’t been featured on a Citroen before. Most of the grunt comes from a 218bhp version of the firm’s tried-and-tested 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, with the remaining output coming from a 95bhp electric motor.
Being a hybrid, Citroen also claims some very impressive fuel economy figures (a take-with-a-pinch-of-salt 166mpg), alongside 39g/km of CO2 emissions and a 31 mile range on electric power alone. With a combined output of 313bhp, though, the AirCross Concept is also pretty brisk – the 0-60mph sprint, for instance, takes less than 4.5 seconds.
Though we don’t know if the Citroen AirCross will inspire a road car, it’s safe to assume it will – Citroen’s more recent road car range can trace their roots back to not-too-dissimilar design studies, and the firm has repeatedly stated the AirCross has been designed with a global audience in mind.
The speaker systems in the seats are also a preview of technology being developed by the PSA Group (the parent company of Citroen), and we wouldn’t be surprised to see that plug-in hybrid powertrain offered in a car further up Citroen’s road car range pecking order in the near future. A 313bhp hybrid Citroen C5 aimed squarely at the Volkswagen Passat GTE, perhaps?
Citroen’s crossover concept cars at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show weren’t limited to the AirCross – a one-off C4 Cactus that pays hommage to the iconic Citroen Mehari was also proudly featured on the firm’s display stand.