When you think 4×4 SUV, you are more likely to think of Land Rover than Citroen, but the C-Crosser has proved there is more to the French car maker than small cars and people carriers.
The C-Crosser was introduced by Citroen in 2007 not only to enter a previously untapped range of customers, but also to improve the perceived quality of the brand.
This is evident in the exterior styling of the C-Crosser, where it differs from the almost identical Peugeot 4007 and Mitsubishi Outlander, but adds a distinctive Citroen grille to give it a touch of the marque’s unique style.
Set out as a practical, spacious five plus two SUV, the C-Crosser comes in both two- and four-wheel drive options.
The robust feel of the Citroen C-Crosser inside and out gives it a rugged, off-road feel. Inside, the dashboard and controls are clear and uncluttered and the typical commanding driving position is present and correct.
In terms of practicality, there are seven seats, but the rear two are suited best to children. At the rear, the C-Crosser’s SUV body style means a practical tailgate and plenty of loading space, especially when the rear row of seats are not in use.
This allows the C-Crosser to act as a true family SUV, capable of dropping the kids off at school or loaded up with luggage for a holiday.
However, it is on the road the SUV really excels.
This is because the steering is sharp and responsive and the grip around corners and lack of any real body roll contradict the tall dimensions of the car.
A clever feature is the ability to turn to four-wheel drive mode at the touch of a button, allowing the SUV to slide seamlessly into four-wheel drive mode if conditions require.
Dealing with snow, ice and mud is at the forefront of UK driver’s minds after the past two winters, and the high levels of grip allow the C-Crosser to cope admirably in adverse conditions.
We took out the 2.2-litre HDi model and found the 156bhp and 380Nm of torque at 1,500rpm more than ample to deliver power on smooth roads or in trickier conditions.
For off-roading, this has obvious benefits and the C-Crosser does not shy away from more heavy duty work as soft-road SUVs tend to do.
In fact, the towing capacity of 2,000kg means it is a capable towing vehicle as well. The 2.2-litre diesel has one more benefit; lower CO2 emissions than the likes of the Land Rover Freelander 2 and fuel economy of 38.7mpg.
This all adds up to a competent all rounder from Citroen.
In the UK, two trim levels are offered with the C-Crosser; VTR+ and Exclusive. All models come with 16" alloy wheels, air-con, cruise control, traction control, Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) and Electronic Stability Programme.
The Exclusive model we took out added 18" alloy wheels, leather upholstery inside and rear parking sensors. An impressive screen featuring satellite navigation and a media centre is the pick of the added equipment on the range-topping model.
The seven-inch touch screen is easy to use and allows sat-nav and the entertainment system to be accessed quickly and easily. It even features a 30gb hard drive to store music on – a feature more in keeping with a more expensive SUV.
And again, this is where the C-Crosser wins plaudits, because the C-Crosser starts from less than £23,000.
While the ‘jack of all trades’ tag is often derided, the Citroen C-Crosser makes sense. This is because it caters to all the needs anybody would want out of a 4×4 SUV and as such makes a much better fit for the majority of buyers.
If you’re after a 4×4 for off-roading and little else, a Land Rover is still the best bet.
However if, like many UK buyers, you’re after a ‘soft-roader’ 4×4 with practicality, refinement and the ability to cope with adverse conditions from time to time, the Citroen C-Crosser is worthy of your attention.
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