Previewing its replacement for the outgoing C3 Picasso, Citroën appears to be moving away from a traditional mini-MPV offering towards a much more SUV-like vehicle. Like the latest C3 supermini, the C-Aircross concept – to be revealed next month at the Geneva motor show – picks up on the design cues of the C4 Cactus, as well as from the earlier, larger Aircross concept (2015).
The show car features rear-hinged rear doors opening to show off the colourful cabin to full effect, and rear-view cameras for a sleeker side profile; chunky lower body cladding and 'camouflage' patterned wheel arch extensions give a robust, SUV-like character. The C-Aircross is compact (4.15m long, 1.74m wide) yet quite tall and high-riding, at 1.63m. Its height is emphasised by the thin, high-set headlight strips, which bring a plain, bluff and solidly-defined front end ahead of the short hood. Daytime running lights are integrated into the grille for a split-level lighting effect.
To the rear, the three-part tail lights echo the graphic decoration of the backlit rear quarter-light windows: these are said to offer enhanced aerodynamics, as do air outlets in the side door guards and air inlets in the front fender.
It's the colour treatment that's most eye-catching, however: following on from the riot of colours in Citroën's other recent concepts, the C-Aircross too has super-bold exterior highlights, in this case 'fluorescent coral' orange, seen around the lights, side guards, on the roof bars and in the centre of the wheels, in striking near-oblong motifs. And inside, it's even brighter: picking up on the treatment of the SpaceTourer Hyphen and Aircross, orange again features heavily.
The strong horizontal theme of the dashboard is another recent Citroën theme, and the single-spoke steering wheel makes a further appearance. The IP is fabric-covered and hosts a central 12-inch touchscreen for use by both driver and front passenger, supplementing the head-up display for the driver; a centre console runs full-length front to rear of the cabin, and in-dash storage the full width. Seats have a 'suspended' effect with a two-seat rear bench: the seats are wide, contoured and "inspired by the world of bedding", Citroën says, underlining this with quilt-effect embossed Alcantara upholstery.
Further storage is found in the doors, under the centre console, in the seat-backs and seat side-panels, along with wireless induction chargers for smartphones and holders for tablet computers so rear-seat passengers can watch films. Fully-connected, the C-Aircross also comes with an onboard HD camera and an app for sharing of media files: perhaps of most interest to parents, however, are the built-in speakers and microphones within the headrests, so passengers can enjoy their individual choice of entertainment.