French car brand Citroen, which is one half of the Peugeot-Citroen group, is all set to make its India debut in 2021. Official plans will be announced by Citroen on the 3rd of April, which is when the automaker will also unveil its first vehicle for the Indian market. We anticipate it to be the Citroen C5 AirCross SUV, a Jeep Compass challenger that has already been spotted testing on Indian roads.
The C5 AirCross is expected to be built at the Hindustan Motors factory in Tiruvallur, off Chennai, which also hosts the assembly of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV. Hindustan Motors is also expected to utilize its engine manufacturing unit – AVTEC – at Hosur, Tamilnadu, to build engines and gearboxes for the Citroen C5 AirCross, which could have a good amount of localization.
The C5 AirCross has a radial design, which should be contemporary enough for at least a couple of more years, in time for its Indian debut. It’s larger the Jeep Compass but smaller than the Mahindra XUV500. We anticipate that it will rival the Compass directly in terms of price and positioning, which means that it’ll be pricier than the XUV500. Citroen is also likely to delete some features from the international-spec AirCross to make it affordable enough for the cost sensitive Indian market.
The international version of the AirCross gets prominent features such as a panoramic sunroof, LED headlamps, wireless phone charging, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, emergency assistance and a hydraulic suspension system. Most of these features, save for the hydraulic suspension system is likely to be carried over to the India- spec model. There’s an all wheel drive unit as well, which operates through a terrain response system with multiple modes such as Sand, Rock and more.
As for the engines and gearboxes, the international version offers turbocharged petrol and diesel engines. There’s a 1.6 liter turbocharged petrol motor with 178 Bhp-250 Nm on tap. An 8 speed torque converter automatic gearbox is offered on this engine. There are two diesel engines – 1.5 liter and 2 liter four cylinder units on offer in Europe. While the smaller engine (130 Bhp-300 Nm) gets 6 speed manual and 8 speed torque converter gearbox options, the larger 2 liter motor (180 Bhp-400 Nm) gets the 8 speed automatic gearbox as standard.
Plug-in hybrid and electric variants of the Citroen AirCross could also be offered in the Indian market considering the upcoming Bharat Stage 6 (BS6) emission norms, and its implications. The SUV’s possible unveil on the 3rd of April in India should give us a better picture on the specification it will be offered for the market here. Stay tuned for more.