Citroen C-Crosser 2008 - long-term test

With its hi-tech stereo system and versatile cabin, Citroen’s new 4x4 is music to our ears

  • The two huge gloveboxes (right) provide lots of storage space inside. But the optional hard drive system means I no longer carry CDs around – so I’m not sure what I’ll fill the cubbyholes with.
  • The lack of front parking sensors takes a bit of getting used to. Our car is fitted with the optional rear-mounted parking camera to aid reversing, but its nose slopes away from the driver, making it hard to judge in tight spaces.

It’s fair to say that the latest car to join the Auto Express fleet has revolutionised my commute! So what is it about our new Citroen C-Crosser that has transformed my 70-mile journey along the M1?

It’s not the commanding driving position or the four-wheel-drive transmission that has got me singing the off-roader’s praises. Neither is it the torquey 2.2 HDi engine. I love all of these features – but after only a few weeks behind the wheel, it’s the built-in hard drive for the stereo which has really won me over.

Gone are my days of being forced to listen to mediocre local radio stations as I’ve left my CDs at home. The 30GB hard drive is part of the £2,170 optional sat-nav package, and means I can load my favourite tunes directly into the car. It works like a conventional MP3 player, so every time you listen to a CD the system records the track listing on to its hard drive.

Once you’ve loaded your music, carrying around a stack of CDs – which invariably get lost or damaged – is a thing of the past. And because the clever set-up is built into the dashboard, it is theft-proof. It takes about five minutes to record a CD, and even my extensive music collection should fit on the system.

The Citroen also seems to have won over the residents of my street – some of my neighbours have remarked on its good looks. I’m pleased with the styling for a different reason, because despite the car’s obvious size it doesn’t feel big from behind the wheel.

The third row of seats in the rear is perfect for occasional use, and folds down easily. Once stowed, there is an impressive amount of space in the boot. I’ve already managed to cram two adult bicycles in the back, help a friend move house (in one trip!) and carry several big boxes of magazines to the recent MPH Show.

Also, after taking another friend’s family to the airport, I have learned to appreciate the Range Rover-style two-piece tailgate. With the lower section dropped down, loading and unloading bulky items is much easier after a long day at work. The C-Crosser would be even more capable if the middle row of seats folded as flat as those behind, but there is still plenty of space inside.

Further forwards I’m impressed by the amount of kit you get. Build quality feels excellent so far and Exclusive trim includes leather seats as standard. They are very comfortable, making the long-distance trips I’ve done an absolute breeze. Even the rear seats are adjustable. They can be moved backwards to provide room for a child seat, or forwards to increase the boot space. This has already come in handy and shows how much thought has gone into designing the cabin.

The Citroen does have one downside, though, and that’s its 2.2-litre diesel engine. I have no complaints about its performance, but the fuel gauge always seems to be in a hurry – as my 31.7mpg average shows. Finding third gear is also a struggle on occasions.

I’ll get a second opinion on this from the road test team before my next report – and I hope they like my choice of music!

Second opinion

The C-Crosser is a blatant badge-engineering exercise, but that isn’t always a bad thing. Citroen has little four-wheel-drive experience, so joining forces with off-road brand Mitsubishi makes real sense. The car is swift and comfortable, with ample mud-plugging ability. A few unique Citroen cabin touches would be good, but its extra row of seats adds flexibility.

James Disdale Road tester

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