Citroen C-Crosser 2.2HDi

5 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Citroen C-Crosser 2.2HDi
Citroen C-Crosser

Citroen C-Crosser

2.2HDi

Citroen C-Crosser 2.2HDi

Zut alors! After keeping its hands clean in the argument over dirty great off-roaders, French maker Citroen now plans to pitch in with its very own version.

The C-Crosser, crossing the Channel this July, is destined to rival go-anywhere seven-seaters like Subaru’s Tribeca and Kia’s Sorento. But the crunch question, given the UK’s current anti-SUV climate, will be whether it goes down like a lump of foie gras at a vegan buffet party.

Clearly Citroen thinks this is a risk worth taking. Although the SUV-powered school mum has become a top UK political punchbag, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reports 175,805 4×4 sales in the last full year. That’s 7.5% of all new-car purchases – with no sign of the trend sliding.

And Citroen’s strategy is cunning. Aside from a bit of gallic garnish, the C-Crosser is part of a joint project with Mitsubishi, the latter’s version being the new Outlander. So it’s built and packaged in Japan, much to the cynicism and dismay of some French people I met during this car’s inaugural drive.

First impressions are encouraging, the designer’s brief to build a non-threatening SUV translating into a big, smiley-face air intake and an imposing-but-smooth shape. At 4.6 metres long and 1.8 metres wide, the Outlander is a similar size to a family saloon, demanding less space in the car park than you’d need for a Ford Mondeo. And though there’s a sense of climbing up, rather than in, it’s only 1.7m tall, so it’s multistorey-friendly.

The range is tres simple: just one engine choice – Citroen’s own 2.2-litre HDi diesel – and two trim levels. The VTR+ costs #xAF;#xBF;#xBD;22,790 and the Exclusive #xAF;#xBF;#xBD;25,490. All models have a six-speed manual gearbox, intelligent four-wheel drive (which sends extra bite to any wheel that’s detected as losing grip), six airbags, a split-tailgate to ease luggage loading and blackened side windows.

For touch-screen sat nav, a beefed-up 650-watt music system, a 30-gigabyte hard drive for map and music storage and a reversing camera, you’ll need to opt for the Exclusive.

While Mitsubishi uses Volkswagen’s two-litre turbodiesel, this more potent rival is Peugeot-Citroen’s home-grown 2.2. It’s smoother, punchier and out-performs the Outlander like a hare against a rabbit. Boasting 30 more in the horsepower stakes, the C-Crosser breezes to 60mph in under ten seconds and is an ideal long-haul companion.

Citroen C-Crosser

So will it really blot Citroen’s green record? That extra power spells thirstier work. Stick to tarmac and drive carefully and the overall consumption figure, by Citroen’s own calculation, is just a few teacups under 40mpg. Use it in the city though and the reading drops to below 30mpg.

CO2 levels depend on your wheel choice: the Exclusive trim’s 18-inchers fractionally increase the CO2 emissions to 194g/km – stick to the standard 16-inch design and the figure is 191g/km. Either way, you’re parking firmly in tax band F, which spells a #xAF;#xBF;#xBD;205 annual tax disc.

If that’s no tweak to your conscience, the rest of the family should be happy. First up, while not expressly a driver’s car, this is a keen machine to pilot – it has acres of get up and go, seems to squat into corners for stability and steers with the kind of precision that makes a traditional offroader feel like a half-baked pudding. Flick the dial by the gearstick for all-wheel drive and, on a gravel track, the Crosser keeps its cool with full marks.

The cabin is a tastefully finished, serene place to wile away your time, with excellent visibility all round. The quality of the fittings is rock solid and there are storage bins and cup holders aplenty. Sixth and seventh seats, however, are emergency overflow affairs and little more – adults will find the proximity of the seat base to the floor spells knees-under-chin, though this discomfort can be lessened by sliding the second row seat bench forward a couple of inches, a measure which, (thanks to the wonderful amount of leg space allocated to passengers three to five), will trigger no complaints.

To sit in the gods though, you’ve got to first build your seat – the unit lies folded flat under the tailgate floor and although Citroen goes to great lengths by virtue of explanatory diagrams, it’s a fiddly, fussy affair with three pull tags to yank and much wrestling in between.

So though the C-Crosser has all the substance to match its style, it’s hardly a model to chase the increasingly powerful green pound. But if your driving duties include ferrying other people’s children and navigating the occasional rough track, it ticks the boxes with style.

Citroen C-Crosser
Citroen C-Crosser
Citroen C-Crosser
Citroen C-Crosser
Citroen C-Crosser
Citroen C-Crosser
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