Paris motor show: Citroen gears up for its centenary

Two new concept cars previewed ahead of 2019 celebrations

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As with sister brand Peugeot, Citroen is introducing the first of its plugin hybrids at the Paris motor show. Citroen’s plugin is based on the incoming new C5 Aircross, the brand’s new mid-sized SUV (but not its first mid-size SUV — have we already forgotten the Mitsubishi-based C-Crosser?) which goes on sale early next year. We’ll have to wait a little longer for the plugin hybrid model, probably till late 2019.

Citroen hopes that the C5’s combination of its high levels of comfort (it gets both the new Citroen Advanced Comfort seats and hydraulic suspension bushes) and its “Origine France Garantie” (think the Guaranteed Irish label, but in French) will help it to stand out in the market. It will need all the help it can get in those departments — mechanically, underneath it’s identical to the Peugeot 3008 and the Opel Grandland X.

Citroen says that it wants 80 per cent of the brand’s models to have ‘an electric option’ by 2023, and 100 per cent by 2025. As with the Peugeot plugin hybrids, the C5 Aircross PHEV gets a 180hp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine backed up by a 80kW electric motor and a stack of rechargeable batteries. That means a combined 225hp and Co2 emissions of less than 50g/km (Citroen has not yet given us full tech details). Fuel consumption is expected to be around the two-litres per 100km level, which is 141mpg. The C5 should go for around 50km on just the batteries when it’s fully charged.

Citroen has also taken the unusual tack of not revealing two new concept cars at its home motor show in Paris, but showing us teaser photos of the two cars that it has planned for the Geneva and the Shanghai shows next year. Why the preview? Because 2019 is Citroen’s 100th anniversary, and it’s holding back the best bits for then. To judge from the photos, one will be a retro-ish, and very utilitarian homage to the 2CV, while the other will be an ultra-high tech, and doubtless highly autonomous, space-age thingy.

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