Citroen Revolte

26 Mar, 2010 5:14pm Jack Rix

We take wild interpretation of new 2CV for a spin on the Champs-Elysées in Paris!


It’s impossible to get a fully formed impression of a concept seeing it on a show stand. Only when you get an opportunity to drive it and observe it on real roads does it begin to come alive – and the 2CV-inspired Revolte doesn’t disappoint. The flamboyant styling attracts crowds of people wherever it goes and brings traffic to a grinding halt – just as a ‘proper’ concept car should. It’s proof that Citroen’s design department is alive and kicking, and not afraid to pursue a look that’s entirely different from anything else. And according to the car’s designer we could be seeing elements of the Revolte on a production car sooner than you think.

It’s one of the most famous shopping streets in the world, and sits at the heart of French fashion... But more than that, it’s a throbbing thoroughfare filled with some of Paris’s wildest drivers. Welcome to the chaos of the Champs-Elysées!

Where better to try out Citroen’s most outrageous concept ever and its modern homage to the 2CV, the Revolte? In a world exclusive, Auto Express was invited to the French capital to drive the one-off show car which debuted at the last Frankfurt Motor Show.

Originally conceived simply to get Citroen noticed at Germany’s biggest expo, the purple machine is a car that commands attention wherever it goes. Designed to be the total opposite of the 2CV, this interpretation is as luxurious and ostentatious as possible – hence the name Revolte.

The roads around Paris city centre are home to the most notoriously aggressive drivers in the world, but when they see the Revolte coming everything grinds to a halt. At one point a Ferrari pulls up alongside, but for once it’s the driver of the Italian supercar who is staring at us.

In the flesh, it’s important to note that the Revolte looks far more squat and compact than it appears on a show stand. It sits on the DS3’s platform, but tiny overhangs mean
it is even shorter. The exterior detailing is incredible. Its LED ‘eyebrow’ indicators, intricate carbon fibre mirrors and swooping body lines all hint at more adventurous future styling language for the brand, according to Revolte creator Carlos Bonzanigo. Meanwhile, the sardine-tin fabric roof is the most obvious nod towards the 2CV.

Open the ‘clap hands’ doors and the pillarless gap shows off that sumptuous cabin in all
its glory. The novel three-seat layout is apparently designed ‘with women in mind’. The idea is that a mum will sit behind the wheel with her child strapped in next to her facing backwards, leaving any other passenger to recline on the velvet-covered rear chaise longue.

For such an extreme-looking car, the Revolte is surprisingly easy to drive. Under the bonnet is a plug-in hybrid powertrain. An electric motor drives the front wheels powered by a battery pack in the boot, while a range-extending petrol engine is poised to kick in when the batteries run low.

During our drive we kept the Revolte in full-electric mode. To pull away you simply turn on the motor with a button between your legs, twist a metal dial on the left of the steering wheel from ‘P’ to ‘D’ and squeeze the throttle. Ignoring the rock-hard ‘show’ suspension, the steering and brakes work well and the forward visibility rivals that of a C2.

The Revolte does exactly what any concept should. Its bold, retro- inspired styling creates a buzz for the Citroen brand, plus it previews a new fluid design language for future models. But what we really want to know is whether a production version will follow.

At this point we let Bonzanigo do the talking: “There has been much speculation about this concept previewing an entry-level DS – a DS2. I can’t deny or confirm these rumours, but the fact that it sits on a production car platform should tell you something.”

Disqus - noscript

When is someone going to design a nice looking electric car?
Looks like something off "Lost In Space".

Nice to get there first. How pointless.

The original 2CV was cool because it was designed to be cheap and utilitarian. This, like the VW Beetle redesign, and the Mini to a degree completely misses the point.

This won't be a cheap cool car bought by trendy young people. like the cars above it will be transport for estate agents, management consultants and yummy mummys - and if you think they are cool you are clearly not.

I love concept cars but not this one. From the outside the car looks okay but too fussy. And the interior is awful looks like the designer has had a brain storm and no-one had the guts to tell him to stop. It reminds me of a wags house loads of money but no taste. One thing is right about this car it,s name they just left 3 letters out ing ( REVOLTING)

At first I thought I was going to hate this - like the previous comment I'm fed up of retro cars which bear a passing physical resemblance to the original but miss the point.

However, it is fantastically French and quirky - exactly what Citroen do best.

Will they put it intro production? I hope not because nobody will buy a car that quirky (Fiat Multipla anyone?) or hopelessly impractical (unless you have one child exactly the right age for a rear facing seat and another you'd trust to lie about on a velevet chaise longue in the back without getting it all muddy. Oh, and clap-hands doors look great but make it incredibly difficult to get in or out in a car park.

I don't doubt we will see elements of its design in a production car - but only LED indicators or the option to replace the front seat with a rear-facing child seat (for an extra £800) which nobody will purchase but it'll generate a few column inches for Citroen

Certainly eye-catching, but a homage to the 2CV? No.

The steering wheel is a disaster, it will be impossible to drive comfortably and safely. And the whole interior is a bit OTT. Science fiction sculpted seats are common in concept cars but rarely (never?) make it into production.

But the name is by far the biggest gaffe, as K444JAH has already pointed out!

Wow, how to miss the point of a concept car!
Of course it's excessive, that's what concept cars do.
Of course the interior is wildly impractical, that's what ...etc, etc, ad nauseam.
They are to showcase ideas, technologies and styling trends. If anything like it makes it into production -and I hope it does, it will be after the engineers and sensibles at Citroën have shovelled out the nonsense and added their usual high levels of practicality. It won't look like the inside of a transformer's bladder when it's released into the wild.
Here's a hint: look up the word 'concept' in a dictionary.

Not bad for a badass 2 CV coupe but 2 CV Evoque was far more of a design interpretation of legendary 2 CV.....I think they should built both of them....

Concepts are merely to gauge public reaction, to estimate if it's worth the investment to tool up and ramp high volume production. For cost and liability reasons alone, the interior will likely be far more conventional if and when it goes into production.
As far as my own reaction to the styling, I like the exterior, though the rear roofline looks more 'beetle' (or even PT Cruiser)than 'duck', unless they hopefully add a side window to the C-pillar. Regarding other elements, I have no use for the concept's interior, though I would love to get the plug-in series hybrid powertrain.
Citroen, build it and let me buy one here in the U.S.! :)

Strange because I like it, the worst part about this car is if it goes into production it will never look like this - they never keep the original concept design.
I am not a lover of Citroens and love my sports cars, but there is something about this car which has appeal, it is perfect for new mums and looks great for a young lady. It is about time a car manufacture focused on a vehicle suitable for a lot more than just adding a child seat. My vote is put it into production.

Key specs

* Price: £840,000 (est)
* Engine: Plug-in hybrid - electric motor, range extender petrol engine
* Transmission: Single speed, front-wheel drive
* 0-62mph: 9 seconds (est)
* Top speed: 62mph (est)
* CO2: 0g/km (in electric only mode)
* Equipment: Built-in child seat, electric handbrake, velvet interior, retractable fabric roof, 18-inch alloys
* On sale: Never