2016 Citroen Cxperience Concept

Sufficient time has elapsed now for Citroen to admit to making the CX. 

2016 Citroen Cxperience concept car: source
The bonnet is too high. 2016 Citroen Cxperience concept car: source

Make that 25 years in the dog house before they could bear to put the name, or something like it, on their latest concept car, the Cxperience. Thancx, Citroen. Extrapolating from this we may have the Xmination concept car in 2026. The car is showcasing the drivetrain and not the appearance. We’ll see what others have to say about the oily/electrical bits first.

Digital Trends explains the car’s technology: “The CXperience uses a plug-in hybrid drivetrain made up of a gasoline-burning engine that provides anywhere between 150 and 200 horsepower and a compact electric motor. The motor draws electricity from a 3kWh battery pack to power the concept by itself for up to 40 miles. When the engine kicks in, the hybrid drivetrain delivers up to 300 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission. “ 

Motor Authority prefers to explain it like this: “The powertrain of the Cxperience concept combines a small gasoline engine with an electric motor and has a peak output of about 272 horsepower. The gas engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and drives the front wheels, while the electric motor drives the rear wheels helping to create a “through-the-road” hybrid all-wheel-drive system. A 3.0-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery provides about 37 miles of electric range.”

Let’s carry on and…

2016 Citroen Cxperience concept car interior: source
2016 Citroen Cxperience concept car interior: source

…take a look inside. The interior is dominated by huge sofa-like seats, an unmanufacturable wood-and-fabric dashboard and a very wide, slim screen ahead of the driver. The screen does everything that some plastic buttons used to do. I am not optimistic about how that will work in reality. The publicity material says that the screen can be set up to show driver-information on one side and other visual material on the other e.g an exciting film for the passenger to watch. As is to be expected the car is fully connected to everything: iPhones and tablets, so passengers can also interact with the car using those. What will they do though? Send an email to wind up the windows?

I’d rather discuss the colour and materials. The mustard yellow and wood is a retro touch if you call 1992 retro. I think the designers are being inspired by 1990s Roche Bobois furniture. Car and Driver call it “almost Scandinavian simplicity”. I am not so sure it’s cold or simple enough for that. It’s very sculptural and contains odd mixes of the curved and the angular. It’s clearly an interior that says nothing at all about what Citroen will do and there’s nothing here that can be turned into something one can make in volume. Citroen should ask their designers to think of an interior that is properly original but also makeable and then make it and sell it. They aren’t going to get very far trying to mimic Ford, Opel and the other mainstream marques as they are now. Nor will they get far with this plainly hypothetical design work.

2016 Citroen CXperience: www.topgear.co.uk
2016 Citroen CXperience: http://www.topgear.co.uk

What does Citroen have to say about suspension, long their USP? Autocar reported this: Citroën’s Advanced Comfort programme was revealed exclusively to Autocar earlier this year. It includes an overhaul of the brand’s suspension system and also focuses on filtering out external noise and vibration and addressing seat comfort.” That doesn’t say anything directly about the Cxperience. And none of the other sources had any suspension news either. McPhersons all around, then.

2016 Citroen Cxprience concept car: caranddriver.com
2016 Citroen Cxprience concept car: caranddriver.com

The exterior has some interesting bits and the usual Citroen concept car elements that indicate haste. I can see a nod to the DS and XM with the floating roof. The interruption of the c-pillar is not needed. Graphically it would have been better had the roof “remnant” carried on around the trailing edge and not gone down to nearly  but not quite meet the boot. In a sense the roof is a hold-over, a vestigial thing. When the floating roof, interrupted C-pillar schtick and moonroof all collide there’s not much roof left to play with, is there?

The wheel arches formally nod to previous Citroen themes without being useful and I doubt any of that will get to a showroom.

What can we extract from this? Possibly the package and the profile. Little else really. The car’s profile is not very sleek despite the vehicle’s low height. The XM and CX were pointier while the DS5 is not pointy at all. Which reminds me, what about the DS line? Where does this car come in to all that? It’s the same size as a C5 and raids the same cache of references as the DS line does sometimes. It doesn’t seem to suggest it will be any less expensive than the DS line. Perhaps the main indicator it’s a Citroen and not a DS is that it’s a bit more minimal and simpler of surface. The DS cars are getting on for being ultrabaroque. Mercifully we hear little of them now.

Being positive, I think this is Citroen’s nicest concept car in a decade. As with all of their cars it’s flawed and hurried looking. Being critical, like the concepts from Cadillac, it’s yet another crying of wolf. Nobody believes any visual aspect of this car will make it to production, inside or out. Citroen would not lose a single extra Euro on a large car if it looked as distinctive as this one but they would gain credit for pushing the boat out (assuming it was well-made enough). I think they ought make a properly original design – it can’t be less successful than the derivative products they already churn out.

When the concept cars are so unrelated to the production cars, it’s hard not to view this with cynicism.

How often have I written that before?

They actually made this
They actually made this once.

[Top Gear had some troubles with the car’s name:  “But first, yes, what about that name? Citroen Cxperience. Or ‘CXPERIENCE’, as Citroën would rather we shouted. How to pronounce it, we wonder? ‘See-experience?” “Six-perience”?” Why didn’t someone just tell the guy its’s so simple that an explanation is futile.

It wouldn’t be Top Gear if the word “mad” wasn’t attached to the article. TG tagged it a “mad concept car”, naturally. If Citroen were to serve a glass of water in a plastic cup it would be “Citroen’s insane beverage”, I expect. Is the Cxperience mad? How mad is it really? It has some fancy doors, an unmakeable interior, the usual camera-for-rear-mirrors and seats that will never be produced in series. All of this is par for the course in concept cars so in every possible way it is entirely orthodox. It would be mad if there came with the car a signed promise by the board of PSA to make this exact vehicle, as shown. Top Gear has become the car world’s equivalent of Colin Hunt, hasn’t it?]

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

26 thoughts on “2016 Citroen Cxperience Concept”

  1. ill put as miuch comitment into this comment as citroenb did into their comncept. sam,e olds stuiff . suiciunf doors what else/ of course they never get made. nice interior but it would never get made. like showing a starvinmg man a meal hell never eat isn’uy it? who cares any more, the people who by citoens don’t and the people who dont by citroens ant more like me dontr. anyway surelty this should be a ds shouldn’t it. im so bored. with citroen. for gods sake why donr they just get on and die.

  2. I think the ‘headlights’ are an interesting detail – or rather, where you expect the headlights to be is instead chrome highlighting taking the rough form of headlights, with the real lamps below. As lighting technology develops, it creates an opportunity and an issue for designers, as the lights on the front of a car have become a key differentiator between different makers.

    1. Tesla have a car with no grille. Technically it’s correct. One’s habit suggest something’s missing though. Citroen suggest the lights without having fake ones in the standard place. That’s not a bad ruse.

    1. I wonder will Citroen replace the C5 with something directly? If we can draw any hope from this, it´s that they might be turning towards a less sculpted look for the exterior surfaces. The C5 is very overwrought.
      What I didn´t express in my post clearly enough was that the interrupted C-pillar theme works if there is a lot of roof left at the same time. Then deleting a bit of it adds some interest (if you like that kind of thing). With little but a fringe of body-coloured roof left the schtick has much less impact as there is so little to interrupt. In this case you perceive an atoll of roof on a field of black and not a bit of black running through a background of body colour. It´s the Gestalt theory again.

  3. Disappointed. Again. It could be anything bar the front graphic and concave/ convex rear screen. Time to give up and move on as if it’s just another once great now dead brand.

  4. If I’m being positive, which as you can see I find harder and harder with Citroen, I agree with Jacomo that the front is an interesting, and not unpleasant, detail. It’s very tidy.

    However the wheelarch into rear lights thing doesn’t work at all and the suicide door thing is past a cliche now. I realise that it’s there more as a presentation guide – you can have both doors open on the stand with no pillar spoiling the view of the interior – than as any proposal for future production, but it is very tiresome.

    The strange mixture of hard figures and wooly details is frustrating more than convincing. They might as well say that it draws its power from Alpha Centauri and floats on a constantly recycled cushion of hot air from Citroen’s PR department and have done with it.

  5. After the pretty fresh design of the new C3 i just can´t believe this boring car with boring details has been created by the same team.
    Perhaps – i hope so – this is the counter proposal to the design language of the Cactus and the C3. Designed fron some uncxperienced apprentices.

    1. It’s got some interesting touches. It also has the usual useless ones such as the rear-hinged door and unbuildable dashboard. I quite like the exterior’s overall smoothness.

  6. If the tea leaf prophesy is reliable, the C5 is to be replaced by yet another crossover – anyway, the idea that the chevron is going to actually build a low-slung-ish saloon like this is about as fanciful as its interior styling. (I do like the floor material however).

    To me at least, this concept demonstrates in the most eloquent manner the stark news that the funbox is empty at Velizy.

  7. It breaks my heart to see what has become of my beloved Citroën! The only concept cars they should be producing are ones that you can walk into a showroom and buy. Remember when Citroënists bemoaned the BX with its hydropneumatic suspension, PRN satellites dashboard with single spoke steering wheel, fibreglass body panels and lone windscreen wiper for being too conventional? Was that the same universe?

    1. Oh, goodness. Would that Citroen was so “conventional” today. I am glad I have my XM, even if it’s no CX. At this point it must be only people over 40 who can remember when Citroen had a real basis to its brand identity.
      As it dawned on me Citroen had lost its soul I gave up being a Citroeniste. Owning the car was enough. CCC membership was like belonging to a group of mourners (nice people though, I must stress that).

    2. Yes I finally gave up CCC membership last year with much the same feelings. Nice, and often interesting, people as you say, and I was impressed by their loyalty in starting a new punning section for each increasingly ordinary model that came along. But in the end you have to know when to give up.

  8. I find it interesting that not one mention of the drive train was made in all the above comments.
    In this, the era of transition to electric drive, whether it be hybrid or full electric, we should at least recognise that Citroen is considering it with the inclusion in this concept.
    The days of introducing the likes of the 2CV, DS,GS, SM, and CX to a startled public are long gone and been replaced by impractical concepts to gain attention much like GM did in the fifties/sixties.
    The excitement now is about drive trains, efficiency, sustainability and ditching our fossil fuel habit at least this should solicit some comment!

    1. I didn’t comment on the drivetrain because, with electric and hybrid drivetrains now common, it didn’t seem in any way remarkable. I hardly feel that Citroen are showing the way to everyone else here, just stumbling along playing catch-up as they tend to do mostly these days.

  9. Yes to Richards question but couldn’t remember my previous log in name after a long absence.

    I agree Sean with your Citroen catch up remark but at least it shows they are showing some sign of abandoning diesels for the current trend of mixed propulsion systems.
    Having been a long time CIT enthusiast I abandoned them after the XM and went hybrid in 2003 while only taking curious looks at the C6.
    For me the next milestone car after the XM was the generation two Prius which paved the way forward and afterwards the Leaf and Tesla.
    While there are many more mixed drive trains available today the general public are still ignorant or confused by them, ditto for sales people!
    Thirteen years on from my first hybrid I still regularly experience those including motoring enthusiasts who are unawares of this trend or why. Just yesterday upon approaching my parked Ampera a gent circling it
    ( also a Vaulhall owner) revealed total ignorance of the model and was shocked when told it’s four yrs old,  a PHEV and now redundant.
    He obviously is a car lover or like my wife wouldn’t have noticed it amongst the others but the electric side left him speechless!

    1. D Gatewood. Ah, you have an Ampera. I seriously considered one a couple of years back and nearly mentioned it in my above comment, as in ‘Citroen should be showing the way to GM, not the other way round’. It was the cabin architecture that put me off in the end – I found the way the drivetrain worked very impressive, and unfairly underrated.

    2. Believe we had this discussion previously about the interior being claustrophobic. I find it just right in a snug and sporty sort of way and I’m six two or at least I used to be.
      The one irritation I do experience and this is true of other cars is the touch screen and overly complicated centre stack. Trying to steady ones hand at arms length while navigating narrow Suffolk lanes is Nye impossible not to mention dangerous. Ergonomics by GM !
      BMW’s i3 has the equivalent of a mouse in the form of a dial positioned just ahead of a center arm rest that is superior for navigating screen functions.

  10. I reviewed the article. Correction: Citroen did discuss the drivetrain and I said so. My answer earlier to Dgate was silly. So, why didn’t I discuss engines more? That’s not because I don’t care about emmissions (I do, despite this site’s focus). It’s because of a blind spot I have regarding new drivetrains. I “get” combustion engines and have a harder time relating to hybrids. Fully electrical ones are easier to comprehend.

    1. Dgate. Ah yes, we did. I suspected we might but your different screen name, my age and the fact I can’t search much site history easily on my phone conspired against me!

      As regards the powertrain, I tend to take a concept car’s powertrain with at least a large a pinch of salt as the styling. The press release gives specific figures, suggesting something ready to go, but often these are just plucked from air to give credibility.

      Actually, I would have been more impressed if the quoted figures had been more modest, in a nod to the real world.

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