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Citroën Aircross Concept: ride out with Citroën's giant toys

Nicolas Zwickel
Citroën Aircross Concept
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K orthe Arc de Triomphe becomes visible, then we turn into a side street and leave the city center. Anyone coming to Paris shouldn't drive a car here anyway, especially not with a unique design piece. We are not yet behind the wheel of the Citroën Aircross Concept, but in the Citroën C4 Cactus. The SUV study is optically based on him. At first glance, the roof and window lines, but also the narrow headlights, reveal this. The unusual airbump planking is not found in the study. For this, the Aircross has black-edged aluminum honeycombs in the flanks.

Citroën Aircross Concept looks almost surreal

The road finally leads into a parking lot, where the Citroën Aircross Concept is already waiting in the shade of the surrounding trees. We park on his left and suddenly the cactus looks surprisingly small. The studded Continental tires and 22-inch rims give the study a massive appearance. In fact, the Aircross looks a bit surreal - a car that could also be in a cardboard box with a plastic window. The possible inscription on the back: 'Not suitable for children under eight years'. Maybe even the trunk can be opened, revealing an orange plastic rocket. By briefly pressing the vehicle roof, it then fires two meters across the children's room.

In fact, it looks a little different. Only the computers that control the infotainment system work under the tailgate. To use this, you slide through the doors that open in opposite directions into the shell-shaped driver's seat. Here you actually expect a clumsy plastic hero who trumpets the same slogans through a rear loudspeaker. But no trace. Instead, the screen in the center console can be moved using gesture control. A hand movement through the air and the 12-inch HD display glides to the front passenger.

Aircross as a test vehicle for a new infotainment system

'The color design of the menu can be adapted to the design of the interior,' says Alexis Icikovics, who is responsible for the display design and the Human Machine Interface (HMI) for the Citroën Aircross Concept. At the moment, the yellow and red tones of the menu reflect the colors of the seats. “We hope,” explains Icikovics, “that the steering wheel will be operated in the nextfive years in series. ”He speaks of the gray square fields that are embedded on the left and right of the steering wheel. The driver uses them to scroll through the vehicle menu like on a smartphone. According to Icikovics, the touchpads ready for series production could still provide haptic or acoustic feedback. We gesticulate a little carelessly and the screen moves back to the center.

Carelessness must be avoided when operating the Citroën Aircross Concept. This is especially true for larger leg movements. The start-stop switch is ergonomically unwise, placed at the level of the right knee. A light touch is enough and the Aircross switches off its 218 hp 1.6-liter petrol engine.

Start-stop Switch causes problems

As expected, we come to a stop - in the middle of a small roundabout. Other drivers quickly vent their dissatisfaction. A Citroën employee scurries around the Aircross, accompanied by loud honking. To restart, he performs a few movements under the car, then it continues. The ventilation blows uncooled air onto the sweaty face and the white dashboard reflects glaringly in the windshield. The steering is actually supposed to be servo-assisted - but it isn't. And the brake pedal also has to be depressed without assistance. Tempo 60 is therefore completely sufficient. The knobbly tires buzz audibly across the asphalt and although the steering and brakes are reminiscent of an old Hanomag, the chassis works calmly and smoothly. All of Citroën.

We park next to the cactus again and slip out of our seats sweaty. Even without rockets on board, driving in the Citroën Aircross Concept is not child's play, even if it looks like a car from a toy store.

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