Vive la dif­fer­ence

A pair of new Citroens have sub­stance to sup­ple­ment their con­sid­er­able style

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

TWO great look­ing new Citroens are be­ing scoped for Aus­tralia.

The five-seater C4 Pi­casso has re-emerged as a likely starter for fam­i­lies while the DS Wild Ru­bis con­cept tops the wish list af­ter its un­veil­ing for the Shang­hai mo­tor show.

The com­pact Pi­casso, dis­missed in favour of the seven-seater Grand Pi­casso peo­ple mover that’s a longterm mem­ber of Citroen’s lo­cal line-up, has re-emerged as a con­tender af­ter a body up­date. The Wild Ru­bis is a long shot be­cause its devel­op­ment is fo­cused on China, but Aus­tralia’s plan for a DS-driven sales push means it would be a nat­u­ral if avail­able.

‘‘ We want to build the brand and that means we’re look­ing at ev­ery­thing,’’ says Citroen Aus­tralia head John Star­tari.

Citroen has re-launched un­der a new dis­trib­u­tor and plans to boost its sales by 35 per cent in the short term, with dou­ble-digit im­prove­ments over coming years.

Star­tari says he is im­pressed by the C4 Pi­casso: ‘‘ It’s not some­thing we should dis­card, be­cause there are sig­nif­i­cant changes.

‘‘ We don’t have pric­ing yet, and that makes it harder, but it was a def­i­nite no and now it’s a pos­si­ble.’’

In­cluded in the Pi­casso up­date are a loft-style cabin with added space, twin touch-screen dis­plays, park as­sist, ac­tive seat belts and even ul­tra­sonic blind spot mon­i­tor­ing.

Star­tari be­lieves the Wild Ru­bis would be a sure­fire hit here but is not con­fi­dent it will be built with right-hand drive.

‘‘ I think it’s a very ex­cit­ing prospect. We’d need a busi­ness case for right-hand drive. And the largest right-hand drive mar­ket is the UK,’’ he says.

The stylish SUV is clearly in­tended for DS pro­duc­tion, although its 21-inch al­loys and plug-in hy­brid driv­e­line might strug­gle for show­room ap­proval.

Citroen says it ‘‘ points to a fu­ture DS SUV’’ and it’s likely the con­cept will be trans­ferred to the road within two years, with its ba­sic 4.7-me­tre body­work un­changed.

Star­tari is look­ing for­ward to de­liv­er­ing an ex­panded Citroen range. ‘‘ It’s great to be part of some­thing that has this abil­ity to do things dif­fer­ently,’’ he says. ‘‘ Cars are be­ing traded as com­modi­ties now, re­gard­less of the brand, and peo­ple are look­ing for some­thing dif­fer­ent. There is a rel­e­vant, vis­i­ble point of dif­fer­ence at Citroen. And that’s re­fresh­ing.’’

C4 your­self: Citroen’s re­worked five-seater Pi­casso is likely to head here

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