CITROËN: A HISTORY OF COMFORT
When it comes to comfort, Citroën has long been a pioneer and innovator. Few car manufacturers can evidence such a consistent history of innovation for the sake of comfort, an attribute that has been a defining hallmark of the company’s cars since the first Citroën took to the roads in 1919.
Historically, the concept of ‘comfort’ has led to the development of seats that are softer and more supportive, and suspension systems that soak up bumps and shocks and isolate passengers from the worst road surfaces.
In the 21st century, however, comfort covers a wider range of features. The modern approach to comfort has seen the arrival of new materials and advanced technologies to create new experiences for drivers and passengers.
To address the ongoing development of ‘Citroën comfort’ in the 21st century, the company has framed its expertise in comfort under a new development project, known as the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme. The programme seeks to define a new dimension of comfort in vehicles, and pursues four objectives to enhance comfort in its latest cars:
- Driving comfort – filtering out exterior interferences for a smooth ride and calm, quiet cabin
- Living comfort – simplifying life on-board with functional storage compartments, intelligent packaging, and generous space
- Functional comfort – creating a more comfortable drive with intuitive technologies, driver aids, and connectivity
- Comfort of mind – ensuring the peace of mind of driver and passengers, with clear information displays and a relaxed interior ambience to enhance driving pleasure
Citroën has always focused on suspension and seating as key elements in improving ride comfort. But many of its earlier innovations in comfort can be linked directly to the more modern Citroën Advanced Comfort approach. The company has pioneered a range of comfort innovations throughout its history. Looking back, it’s clear that many of these have contributed to Citroën’s modern concept of comfort.
Today, ergonomics, ride and handling, practicality and versatility, and even the atmosphere of the cabin, are all vital elements in making a car as comfortable as possible, for driver and passengers alike. Yet for almost a century, Citroën has consistently set new standards in each of these areas, to enhance comfort and driver enjoyment. Innovations include the company’s famous hydro-pneumatic suspension, ergonomic cabin controls, advanced seating arrangements, low-drag (and so low-noise) aerodynamics, revolutionary new vehicle architectures, and new cabin materials, all serving to improve comfort.
Each of the themes under the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme builds on the historic innovations that have contributed to Citroën’s reputation for comfort over the last 98 years.
01 – DRIVING COMFORT
Citroën has consistently sought to introduce new innovations which isolate its cars’ cabins from the outside world. A comfortable driver is a safer driver; and passenger comfort is equally important. From the very start, Citroën has set industry standards for driving comfort, and has created new technologies and introduced new features to make its cabins as comfortable, relaxing and refined as possible.
At the dawn of mass motoring, cars lacked comfort. Yet, with the arrival of Europe’s first true mass-produced car in 1919, the Citroën Type A, Citroën created cars that offered more equipment, greater comfort and new luxuries – such as a self-starter, padded seats, and electric lights. The Type A had a novel suspension system, using inverted quarter-elliptic springs that were tuned to behave in concert with each other, removing the need for dampers. Even then, the Citroën drove and rode with a higher quality of comfort.
With the Citroën Type C in 1922, André Citroën sought to make the motor car even more comfortable. He wanted occupants to step down easily into his cars, into comfortable seats; and not to have to climb up onto a flat seat. He even thought about female drivers and their preferences – long before other car makers threw off the blinkers of all-male motoring chauvinism. The Type C appealed to women for its easy, light steering, while the car was easier to enter and exit in the fashions of the day. Citroën’s advertisements of the era even targeted female buyers.
Citroën’s cars weren’t just famed for their comfort by French buyers. In the early 1920s, Citroën vehicles were used as taxis, not just in Paris, but also in London. The Type C, of which more than 80,000 were produced, brought motoring to many, and as the 1930s arrived, even Pope Pius XI ordered a Citroën, renowned as the company was for its comfortable cars.
The Citroën model line-up reached from the top of the market down to the small family car sector, yet innovation was to be found in every car. Throughout the 1920s, Citroën produced steel-bodied cars, such as the B10, which provided a stiffer structure to better isolate the cabin from the road and the car’s surroundings. In the 1926 B14 model, new servo-assisted brakes were a major innovation, making it easier to slow the car.
André Citroën realised that adding comfort was key. In 1928, the company introduced the AC4 and AC6 series, each offering more lavish fittings. These were followed by the C6 Berline sedan in 1929, which boasted an array of driver aids and passenger luxuries in a strong body.
Citroën was the first manufacturer in Europe to mount its engines on rubber blocks to reduce vibration to the cabin – the ‘floating power’ system known as ‘le Moteur Flottant’. Often cited as an American invention, the idea was in fact dreamed up by two Frenchmen. The C4, C6, and ‘Rosalie’ models would soon deploy the idea and, ever the marketeer, André Citroën ordered that a badge depicting a swan should be fitted to all ‘Moteur Flottant’ cars – indicating the vehicles’ serene progress.
In the era of ‘Luxe et Style’, these cars paved the way for one of the greatest innovations in comfort, safety, and driving ever announced. In 1934, Citroën introduced a car with so many novel design features, delivered in a single package, that it caused a sensation: the Traction Avant.
TRACTION AVANT – THE WORLD’S FIRST MASS-PRODUCED MONOCOQUE
In the Traction Avant, Citroën created the world's first mass-produced, front-wheel drive, monocoque-bodied, highly aerodynamic family car.
The car’s revolutionary welded steel monocoque body was stiffer and safer, and it transformed driving comfort and handling. It introduced new standards of torsional rigidity to car body design, greatly benefiting ride quality, while also isolating the engine from the cabin to reduce noise and vibration.
The Traction Avant featured independent front suspension, an advanced rear suspension design, and hydraulic brakes. A comfortable, ergonomic cabin was fitted with a new type of seats, and its flat floor and absence of transmission tunnel created more room for front seat occupants to relax.
Michelin provided its new ‘Pilote’ tyres, with reinforced sidewalls to further improve ride comfort. These were the world’s first low profile tyre in 1937, where the depth of its sidewall was eighty per cent of its overall tread area, yet ride comfort and handling were improved.
The car boasted a new level of driver engagement for a sedan, with superb steering, low-mounted engines in a taut, streamlined body, and – for passengers – supreme cruising comfort. It led the world in its driving and its comfort.
The Traction Avant was so advanced that it remained in production for more than two decades. Then, in the 1950s, the Traction Avant 15H pioneered the early development of a new type of hydro-pneumatic suspension. The Traction Avant was replaced by Citroën’s latest innovation – the iconic DS 19.
DS AND ITS HYDRO-PNEUMATIC SUSPENSION
Introduced at the 1955 Paris Motor Show, the DS 19 offered a revolutionary aerodynamic body that reduced fuel consumption, while also lowering noise levels and improving stability. Of even greater engineering significance was the car’s unique new hydraulic – or hydro-pneumatic – suspension system. With its ‘magic carpet’ ride to soak up all but the very worst road conditions, this was the car’s vital ingredient – a defining piece of advanced engineered pioneered by Citroën.
The hydro-pneumatic suspension system created an ‘air cushion’ for the DS to ride on, and it was adapted for a range of cars that followed. Designed by Paul Mages, the suspension featured an engine-driven pump, pushing high-pressure mineral oil liquid to inert gassed ‘spheres’ with self-levelling struts at each wheel. A spring-less system, this eliminated metal-to-metal harshness in the DS 19’s suspension. The same system powered the brakes and the steering and even changed the gears.
The hydro-pneumatic suspension also allowed drivers to raise and lower the car’s ride height on demand, enabling the DS to take on tracks, mud, snow and ice. The DS could even ‘jack’ itself up in the instance of a flat tyre.
Not only did the DS ride in a unique way – isolating its occupants from the stress and fatigue of ‘normal’ suspension behaviour – the suspension also ensured that the car remained level at all times, reducing pitch under cornering and ensuring constant aerodynamic balance.
Other manufacturers would follow Citroën, with the likes of Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz both inspired to fit air suspension to their cars later in the century.
It was not just Citroën’s flagship DS 19-23 series that focused on comfort. Other Citroën cars, premium and mainstream, would benefit from the same lessons in suspension development.
The torpedo-shaped SM coupé, built between 1970 and 1975 was a hydro-pneumatically suspended, two-door grand tourer, which majored on comfort and style. The SM’s hydro-pneumatic suspension was adapted for the GT class, with a firmer ride and less roll, yet still boasted supreme comfort.
The GS, European Car of the Year in 1971, was praised by media for its ‘limousine’ ride and compared directly with the most comfortable vehicles in the world at the time, such was the quality of its ride. Citroën also applied the famous suspension system to the CX, the world's first true four-seater, hydro-pneumatically suspended, four-door coupé-sedan. The CX was named Car of the Year in 1975, with a range that included luxurious ‘Pallas’ trimmed versions, sporty GTI and Turbo variants, and a ‘Prestige’ long-wheelbase model used by presidents, VIPs and celebrities around the world.
Ultimately, the hydro-pneumatic system reached its electronically enhanced zenith in the 1990s. The XM’s ‘Hydractive II’ suspension introduced more electronic control over ride comfort, and was adapted further for the Xantia Activa, with suspension revered by drivers and the motoring media for eliminating body roll and pitch. Later, the C5 Hydractive III+ and C6 ranges further carved out Citroën’s comfort credentials, setting new standards for driving comfort.
Today, modern technology is refining Citroën ride quality in new ways. The company’s ‘progressive hydraulic cushion’ suspension, which makes its world premiere on the C5 Aircross, features intelligent shock absorbers, acoustic vibration control techniques, and extra-compliant suspension arm linkages to filter out road imperfections more effectively. Where conventional suspension systems are made up of springs, dampers and mechanical bump-stops, Citroën’s progression cushion technology adds two hydraulic stops to each corner – for rebound and compression – to ensure driving comfort in the company’s latest cars.
PERFECTION AT THE PALLAS
Citroën's famous ride quality, and the company’s focus on reducing noise, vibration and harshness, did not begin with the DS and its hydro-pneumatic suspension. But neither is superb ride quality and high comfort the sole preserve of that system. The features of the cabin are also important for driving comfort.
From the ‘Grand Luxe’ variants of Citroën’s earliest cars, to the range-topping ‘Pallas’ trim levels that have featured across several models since, the company realises that true driving comfort can be enhanced by more luxurious fixtures and fittings.
The ‘Pallas’ trim level, for instance, was first seen on the DS, with a name derived from the legend of the Goddess Athena. Pallas editions of the DS, GS and CX and others featured lavish new trim materials, beautifully sculpted cabin fittings, and seats designed for relaxation, among other amenities. Pairing true driving comfort with maximum style, Pallas introduced elevated levels of comfort.
Even Citroën’s more ‘conventional’ vehicles have seating that offers something greater than other manufacturers’ cars. Citroën’s commitment to seat comfort is long-established and based in offering seating softer than many rivals, yet providing the correct orthopaedic posture support for ache-free long-distance travel.
Citroën’s commitment to comfort in the DS included the car’s advanced seating cushions, with the density and rebound rates of the ‘Dunlopillo’ seat foam tuned to match the suspension characteristics. But even before the revolutionary DS, Citroën was on a comfort journey. Citroën cars of the 1920s boasted sumptuous seating. Later, one of the many innovations of the 1934 Traction Avant was a new design of seat frame and cushion. The 2CV would create a design 'first' with its hammock-style seats, that were highly comfortable as well as removable.
Carefully-tuned Dunlopillo seating would also be adopted for the DS 19’s successors. In the GS, CX, SM and BX, Citroën created superbly comfortable seats that offered soft cushioning and under-thigh and leg support, as well as lumbar padding. In these models, Citroën also offered its luxurious ‘Jersey’ special seat fabric, bringing improved comfort and new materials to the mainstream market. These seats felt every bit as good to sit in as they looked.
With generous legroom for rear passengers, the CX Prestige was the first Citroën to offer private jet-inspired ‘lounge’ seats in the rear of the cabin, paired with raised footrests for maximum comfort. Commensurate with its ‘grand tourer’ brief, the SM featured leather bucket seats designed to cosset and support passengers over any distance. Later, the ‘grand luxe’ Citroën C6, manufactured between 2006 and 2012, offered first class-style rear seats that could recline electrically. Rear passengers could also slide the front seats forwards remotely to create their own lounge: the embodiment of a certain type of ‘Citroënism’. The C4 Cactus introduced a front 'sofa' seat concept: a brilliant adaptation of the earlier front seat 'benches'.
Seat designs continue to offer Citroën’s traditional soft-yet-supportive characteristics, allied with special trims, novel features and safety conscious designs. In the modern era, advanced suspensions and structures are allied to a range of cabin features such as adjustable lumbar support, electric massage seats, electrically-adjustable footrests, and even a ‘relax’ function. Driving comfort is as important to Citroën now as it has always been.
02 – LIVING COMFORT
This aspect of the Citroën comfort philosophy encapsulates the ideas of practicality and versatility to make driving and travel easier. The easier a car is to live with every day, the more enjoyable and comfortable it will be to own. The development of cars that offer maximum ‘living comfort’ is a thread that span’s Citroën’s entire history.
Citroën has long emphasised the benefits of adaptable seating arrangements and maximum cabin space and storage. In 1923, the B2Type offered buyers the choice of more seats or greater luggage capacity, with an early attempt at modular cabin design. The C3Type ‘Torpédo’ was a two-seater, yet offered a folding third seat behind the driver, creating more luggage capacity or passenger room as required. In 1924, a new ‘Trefle’ (three-leaf clover) three-seat configuration was introduced, with a fixed third seat mounted in the middle of the cabin behind the two front seats, with cargo areas either side.
For the 1930s and beyond, the Traction Avant offered various seating layouts. These included a long-wheelbase seven-seat model, and a variant with a wagon-style rear lift-up door – possibly the world's first production hatchback.
Even the 2CV, the company’s so-called ‘basic’ car, featured advanced design in its suspension, construction and adaptable, modular cabins. With removable seats, a convertible roof, wash-down floor, and an extendible cargo area, the 2CV could well be seen as the car that started the trend for functional or technological cabin design – more than half a century ago.
Both the DS and the CX were sold as wagons (or ‘breaks’), offering maximum living comfort with intelligent seating layouts, long before more recent trends for six- or seven-seat cars. The multi-seat CX Familiale was unique in its market class and it took many years for its competitors to catch up.
Citroën has also produced a series of design concepts as ‘one off’ show cars, with living comfort key to their motor show stand appeal, notably the 1980 Citroën Karin concept. This pyramid-shaped three-seater, built with composite materials, featured new storage ideas, moulded seats, and a stunning control ‘pod’ and steering wheel interface with fingertip controls. Such ideas are now familiar in the company’s production cars.
More recently, attention has focused on the science of ergonomics and the incorporation of adaptable cabin layouts into the functional use of the car. Citroën has always been popular among families due to a focus on ease of utility, with multi-purpose family cars among the company’s best-sellers in recent years.
The ultimate family ‘holdalls’, Citroën’s MPVs and small family vehicles have featured everything from removable seats, adaptable seating layouts, reclining rear backrests, and even swivelling front seats.
Where the company’s largest vehicles have offered eight or even nine seats in a car-sized package, smaller cars, such as the ZX and 2003 C2, have featured back seats that can slide forwards and backwards to create more space for passengers or luggage. Rare in a small car, the 2003 C2 also offered reclining seats for passengers in the rear.
Storage space is just as important for living comfort. Citroën has frequently imagined new solutions to the question of cabin space to accommodate the needs of modern families. From special pockets and pouches, under-seat drawers, large glovebox compartments, and airliner-style overhead storage bins, Citroen designers have always provided the owner with something more than an 'add-on' storage afterthought.
Citroen's clever cabin thinking has always been full of bright ideas. A range of advanced solutions found in Citroën concept cars are now features in the company’s production cars. User-friendly themes include revolving seats for easier ingress and egress, and hidden compartments, door storage recesses, and dashboard designs incorporating trays and removable storage.
Where the 1923 C-Type previewed the potential for small storage compartments, other Citroën models would follow with their intelligent solutions to the question of cabin practicality.
Later examples would include the 2CV, which featured an eminently practical modular cabin design, with fully-adaptable cargo space. The Karin, a show car introduced in 1980, featured extendible ‘pull-out’ door compartments, while many production cars featured innovative glove compartment storage. The CX came with a large dashboard tray, while the XM – and many other Citroën vehicles since – were fitted with a large lift-up dashboard ‘locker’. Later GS models were available with a removable glovebox, which could be attached to the dashboard or doors, or even used as a briefcase. Later, in 2003, the C2 introduced a unique split tailgate to its class – it contained a small compartment within the inside of the lower half of the tailgate to hold smaller items and stop them from rolling around.
Previewed by a trio of concepts revealed by Citroën at the 1996 Paris Motor Show, the Berlingo introduced a new level of storage practicality. These show cars – the Coupé de Plage, the Berline Bulle, and Grand Large – variously previewed storage for large sports equipment (such as surfboards or skis), and family-friendly interiors with adaptable cabin storage. When the Berlingo went on sale – a production version of the ‘Grand Large’ concept – it introduced ‘Modutop’ adaptable roof storage. Modutop created 170 litres of extra over-head storage for all passengers – perfect for stowing away everything a family may need to keep them occupied on a longer drive.
Even simple things, such as the handbag hook in the C4, made Citroën cabins easier to live with every day than many rivals’ cars. These all make a difference to the experience of owning a Citroën. Today, digital device storage and connectivity are just as vital for customers.
03 – FUNCTIONAL COMFORT
For Citroën, functional comfort applies to the combination of highly ergonomic, easy-to-use cabin designs with technology that is intuitive and easy to operate. In the wider automotive sector, technology continues to take on greater prominence in cars; in some cases, to the detriment of user-friendliness. By contrast, Citroën has sought to apply new technology in such a way as to make its cars easier to use, with functionality enhancing comfort.
Reducing driving stress and fatigue has long been a core Citroën aim. The company believes true comfort lies in lightening the mental ‘load’ of driving, a talent particular to Citroën. For decades, Citroën has put functional comfort at the heart of vehicle design, leading the way when the company revolutionised two of the critical functional elements – the steering wheel and the dashboard.
Citroën led the way with a new steering wheel innovation in the early years of the 21st century, launching the fixed central steering wheel hub in the C4, seen also in the C4 Picasso and C5. With the proliferation of in-car technologies leading to more cluttered dashboards, many manufacturers started to move controls onto the steering wheel. Citroën’s clever design revolved around a static central hub, with a focused and easy-to-access command panel in direct line-of sight. Where other manufacturers’ controls rotated with the wheel, Citroën’s controls were static, making them clearly visible and easier to use. The innovation also met the tough safety demands of impact and airbag legislation.
Citroën used its steering to pave the way for another innovation: the company’s famous ‘turning’ headlights first featured in the 1967 DS, which aided night-driving by tracking the steering inputs to better illuminate the road ahead. Later, two of the SM’s six hydraulically levelled headlamps did the same. These lights feature as ‘intelligent headlamps’ in our cars today, but were introduced long ago by Citroën to enhance the easy, functional comfort of its flagship cars.
INSTRUMENTS OF DESIRE
Advanced ergonomic controls and innovative fascia designs provide further evidence of Citroën’s commitment to functionality, incorporating technologies in a way that enhances driver comfort.
The GS, GSA, CX and BX each featured advanced ergonomic controls and a design that offered 'keyboard' operated buttons for vital functions, in easy reach of the steering wheel. Later GSA models and the Citroën Visa also introduced a unique ‘satellite’ control panel, placing all the major controls at the driver’s fingertips. For the driver, this meant there was no need to take a hand off the wheel.
The CX pioneered the use of moulded plastics to create a level of design integration between the dashboard, console and door trim. One noteworthy element was the ‘flying saucer’-shaped instrument binnacle – the ‘Lunule’ – that supplied a crescent of controls around the steering wheel. The Lunule was a truly innovative design, dreamed up by sculptor, designer and artist Michel Harmand, who influenced Citroën design from the 1960s to the 1980s. At the time, this represented a new height for the ‘comfort of function’. As the Lunule evolved for application in other Citroën models, it was a concept aped by other car makers, as dashboard design embraced new plastic moulding technologies in the 1980s and 1990s.
The CX also featured a unique ‘revolving drum’ illuminated speedometer, with a large, magnified display of the car’s speed which revolved into a display window. This was easier for the driver to view and allowed a faster glance at the speedometer than a traditional needle on a dial.
The BX, first introduced in 1982, represents a new stepping stone in design, inside and out. Nearly 20% of the BX’s bodywork was made from plastics, and the cabin featured a moulded plastic architecture with fingertip control levers and sliders. With the 1985 BX Digit, Citroën pioneered a digital dashboard and display. Indeed, the BX Digit offered the world's first digitally-signalled controls and centre console displays, alongside its digital ‘TV screen’ instrumentation. Using functionality to enhance comfort, the BX Digit provided a true forerunner to today’s digital dashboards.
INTEGRATING NEW TECHNOLOGIES
In the intelligent layout of dashboard and cabin controls, Citroën’s commitment to functional comfort demonstrates true innovation. Citroën functional design innovations include the first truly original cabin designs to seamlessly integrate new technologies to aid the driver and improve comfort and convenience. Lessons learned by the company over the decades now inform the development and integration of technology in Citroën’s contemporary cabins.
After earlier Lunule models, the C6 delivered Citroën’s first ‘head-up display’ (HUD) with vital information projected onto the windscreen for ease of reading. HUDs have since featured in many more recent models, including the SpaceTourer and the latest C3 Aircross. Citroën first introduced a digital driver instrument cluster on the Xsara Picasso, refining the concept for a number of models ever since. Today's C4 Picasso has a 12-inch (30cm) digital instrument cluster, displaying information to the driver and passengers in a functional, comfortable way.
Simplicity is at the heart of the information clusters now found in the brand’s current model lines. Connected touchscreen controls echo the functionality of smartphones and connect drivers and passengers to the outside world, with straightforward phone integration offered through MirrorLink displays and Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto®.
From the earliest ‘bending’ directional headlamps, through to the Lunule instrument cluster and today’s digital displays, the integration of new technology into any new Citroën has always been a matter of practicality and functionality.
04 – COMFORT OF MIND
As we spend more and more time in our cars, combating stress and fatigue – improving ‘comfort of mind’ – is vital. Citroën therefore aims to create calm and refined spaces where ergonomic and functional highlights filter out the external environment. Comfort of mind is achieved by reducing the mental load on the driver, combining clever driver aids with light, spacious cabin designs.
The company has always been devoted to fostering peace of mind for owners. Citroën’s cars were the first to offer owners’ handbooks – producing Europe’s first mass-produced cars, the company wanted to ensure as many owners as possible knew how to operate and maintain their vehicles correctly. Citroën drivers have always been comfortable in the knowledge that any concerns would be easy to diagnose.
While driving can often be stressful or boring, a ‘feel-good factor’ can keep spirits high in the cabin. Enhancing the mental wellbeing of the driver and passengers has been a cornerstone of Citroën’s devotion to comfort for many decades – not just to prevent stress or boredom at the wheel, but also to enhance driving pleasure.
THE LIGHT FANTASTIC
Cabin light and ambience are core elements of ‘comfort of mind’ for Citroën, with interiors designed to lighten the mental load on the driver. Light can enhance perception of colour in to the cabin, transforming moods and improving the sense of calm and serenity. It offers the designer and the driver great benefits, especially on traffic-congested roads. Citroën’s use of light has defined the company’s cars for longer than many realise.
From the roll-back fabric roof of the 2CV, Dyane and the current C1 Airscape, to the highly adaptable roof of the Pluriel and glass roof ‘portals’ of the Berlingo Modutop, Citroën’s cars have always let light flood in.
The 1955 DS paired thin pillars with a large glass area to fill the cabin with light, and the GS and CX had glazed rear pillars to achieve the same aim. Later, the XM used thirteen glazed window sections to stream light into the cabin.
The 1994 Xanae concept car was a radical 'one-box' people-carrier which predicted the appearance of the mid-sized family MPV. The Xanae signalled the use of an extended-windscreen and glass roof that allowed light to flood the cabin.
In the C4 Picasso, the 5,3 m² glass surface admitted even more light, as it extended back over the front row of seats. Full-length adaptive glass sunroofs also transform interior ambience in the current C3, C4 Picasso, and C4 Cactus. The ‘Airscape’ roof in the current C1 evokes the fun and function of the early canvas-roofed Citroën 2CV and Dyane. With large glazed areas and wide openings, the most modern Citroën cabins are exceptionally bright and airy.
With so much light in the cabin, Citroën offers owners choices of soft, warm materials, clever patterns, and classy finishes to further mark the company’s cars out from the mainstream. Light years ahead, the pioneering DS represented one of the earliest applications of synthetic fascia mouldings, featuring bright new colours and advanced materials for the first time in car interior design. Meanwhile, other major car makers persevered with metal, wood and leather-lined cabins, with stuffed seats, small windows and leaf-spring suspension systems.
The earlier C4 Picasso featured a ‘Pack Lumière, offering a range of augmented interior lighting effects. In today's Citroën cabins ‘Cielo’ ceiling lights and special effects provide carefully enhanced illumination. Scented air fresheners and air purifiers further add to the resulting ambience.
A sense of spaciousness and airiness is something that has defined almost every Citroën car. By adopting advanced and imaginative cabin architectures, finished in lighter materials, Citroën uses light and colour to reduce fatigue and enhance comfort. In recent years, there is no finer example than the C4 Cactus, which introduced a new style of interior to the market. Digital functions, a ‘command’ touch screen with intuitive controls, sofa-inspired front seats, new materials, and ‘open-air’ cabin architecture marked another step-change in interior car design, like the DS of the 1950s.
The cabin of the C4 Cactus was named ‘Most Beautiful Interior’ of the year at the 30th International Automobile festival in Paris in 2015, with high praise for its shapes, the harmony of colours and materials, and the overall design approach.
Comfort of mind is also found in the range of electronic driver aids on offer to drivers of today’s Citroën vehicles. There is a degree of confidence in owning a vehicle that is actively looking for potential hazards, and will subsequently help drivers avoid them. In the C4, C5 and C6 of the 2000s, Citroën already offered Europe’s first lane-departure warning system. Using infra-red sensors to detect the car’s lane position, it also featured a vibration function in the seat to alert the driver if they strayed out of their lane.
The Head-Up Display (HUD) function that has now featured on numerous models advises the driver with easy-to-read information. For peace of mind, it’s designed not to dominate his or her attention, nor take their eyes off the road ahead.
A wider range of advanced driver aids is now available to Citroën buyers to promote comfort of mind. These include active safety brake, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring system, tyre-pressure monitoring systems, hill-start assist, semi-automatic Park Assist, and automatic lights. In each instance, these functions provide valuable support to take the strain off the driver.
CITROËN’S NEW CONCEPT OF COMFORT
Driving conditions are changing all around the world. With increasing numbers of cars on the road, journeys are becoming increasingly fragmented and incidences of ‘road rage’ are common. At the same time, with the proliferation of new in-car technologies, drivers must be able to multi-task at the wheel. With the appearance of semi-autonomous and fully-autonomous cars on the horizon, comfort has never been more important.
Citroën has always sought to make its cars comfortable, for drivers and passengers alike. As the company approaches its centenary, this philosophy still drives the development of the brand’s vehicles. Occupants expect a warm welcome when they open the door, and want access to digital tools while on the move. Not only must these technologies fit in seamlessly, they must be easy to use and safe, too. Innovations must maximise the physical comfort of a car, while maintaining the pleasure and enjoyment that so many motorists derive from steering their car down their favourite road.
New technologies, modern production techniques and innovative designs have played a crucial role in developing the comfort for which Citroën is known. In the modern era, ‘comfort’ doesn’t simply refer to the physical comfort of the driver and passengers. The development of autonomous vehicles will place a new level of importance on comfort for those who only drive for practical purposes – to get from A-to-B. Citroën’s philosophy is equally focused on creating greater peace of mind for those drivers who still wish to drive for fun, maximising driving pleasure on all roads.
As the 21st century goes on, the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme will cater for both types of buyer – and ensure that comfort remains a key element in the brand’s DNA for decades to come.