Citroen C-Crosser 2009 - long-term test

Third report: Our compact SUV is really getting into shape.

  • It’s a big motor, and getting in and out of the Citroen in the narrow confines of a multi-storey car park can sometimes be a tricky business. Thankfully, the electrically-operated wing mirrors fold in as you activate the central locking, giving you more space to get past and reducing the risk of coming back to bent or broken mirrors.
  • One minor grumble is with the screen for the optional sat-nav/entertainment system, which can be difficult to see at times. It would be better if it was slightly angled towards the driver. However, the Rockford Fosgate eight-speaker stereo sounds great, while the 30GB hard drive can store thousands of songs.

Our long-term Citroen C-Crosser has turned into a cross-trainer! I’m currently preparing to take part in my first Olympic-distance triathlon, and the compact SUV is proving to be my perfect gym buddy, thanks to its mixture of long-distance refinement, an eager yet frugal diesel engine and versatile interior.

A recent warm-up event allowed the C-Crosser to really put its abilities to the test. As well as all my competition equipment, I had two family spectators on board, plus a baby in her child seat.

Needless to say, the Citroen took everything in its stride, as my companions and I travelled in complete comfort to and from the venue.

One feature that came in particularly handy when we arrived at the triathlon was the C-Crosser’s split-opening tailgate, which doubled as a seat where I could change into my triathlon gear.

Training in the run-up to the main event has been eventful, too, and has seen the Citroen employed as a recovery vehicle! On one particular occasion, my bike suffered a double puncture six miles from home, and my wife had to come to the rescue.

Thankfully, the 600mm high boot sill meant getting my lightweight race bike on board was easy, while the massive 1,686-litre load bay swallowed it whole without the need to remove the wheels.

The split tailgate is also designed to take loads of up to 200kg, which means sliding heavy bags in and out of the boot is an effortless task. In fact, this ability has helped the C-Crosser become a popular choice for family holidays.

A colleague took the Citroen away for a week camping, and came back suitably impressed. Performance from the 2.2-litre HDi diesel was strong, yet fuel economy of more than 38mpg during the week was a pleasant surprise considering the 4x4’s size and weight. The sliding rear bench helped to maximise load space or legroom, too, while his daughter turned the boot into her own indoor campsite! At the end of the holiday, he was convinced he’d found the perfect car for his family.

However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the C-Crosser. The optional sat-nav has proved to be rather temperamental. One recent trip saw it direct me off the motorway and through a nearby town, which would have added around half an hour to my journey. However, I ignored its advice and kept going along the M-road. It turned out that somehow the guidance had reprogrammed itself to ignore motorways!

In my previous report, I mentioned that the climate control had been playing up, but this turned out to be an error on the user’s part. The air-conditioning is activated with the centre button of the fan switch on the centre console, but the small light that illuminates when it’s pressed is difficult to see. That meant I thought the air-con was on when it was still turned off. I now pay particular attention to that light, and, as it turns out, the climate control system works very well. It will certainly prove its worth as the temperatures rise.

One slight niggle I had when I first got the C-Crosser was shifting from second to third gear, only to end up in fifth instead. However, after 7,831 miles of use, I’m now used to the shift pattern of the six-speed gearbox, and finding the right ratios is no longer an issue.

One final problem that may need dealership attention is that the rear parking sensors start to beep as soon as I put the car into reverse, even when there’s nothing behind!

Hopefully it’s nothing serious, and I can continue piling on the miles during my tough training schedule.

Second Opinion

The C-Crosser was created as part of a joint venture with Peugeot (the 4007) and Mitsubishi (the Outlander), and of the three, the Citroen looks the most stylish. The bold double chevron grille makes an impact, while the silver and grey wheels are a neat touch. However, I think the C-Crosser is better in light colours, and the Deep Blue pearlescent of our car doesn’t really do it justice.

George Vedmore Designer

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