The History Of Citroën Comfort - Episode 2: Travelling Comfort
- The notion of comfort has always been at the heart of Citroën models – for over 100 years.
- In this period of confinement, when everyone is rediscovering something about themselves, Citroën is returning to the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme. A programme designed to engender Citroën vehicles with a unique type of comfort – one that is a true signature of the brand.
- Immediately noticeable in all current models, Citroën Advanced Comfort® takes a comprehensive, modern and multi-sensorial approach to comfort. Its aim is to make every journey in a Citroën as comfortable as if you were in your own living room.
- The Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme is based on four major pillars:
- Driving comfort, making you feel like you’re in a cocoon
- Travelling comfort, thanks to practical and functional interior design
- Comfort of use, with intuitive technologies to simplify your life
- Comfort of the mind, with a warm and bright atmosphere, and everything in its place
These four pillars are major areas of differentiation for the brand's vehicles, underpinned by exclusive innovations such as suspension with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions® or Advanced Comfort seats. Technologies made accessible to as many people as possible.
- All four pillars have concrete examples throughout the history of the brand, so let’s rediscover Citroën comfort in four individual episodes. Today, Episode 2, Travelling Comfort.
TRAVELLING COMFORT: PRACTICAL & FUNCTIONAL INTERIORS
ON-BOARD SPACE & MODULARITY
This aspect of the Citroën comfort philosophy encapsulates the ideas of practicality and versatility to make travel easier. The easier a car is to live with every day, the more enjoyable and comfortable it will be to own. The development of cars that optimise interior comfort for ease of use is a thread that spans Citroën’s entire history.
Citroën has long emphasised the benefits of adaptable seating arrangements and maximum cabin space and storage.
In 1923, the B2-Type offered buyers the choice of more seats or greater luggage capacity, with an early attempt at modular cabin design. The C3-Type ‘Torpédo’ was a two-seater, yet it offered a folding third seat behind the driver, creating more luggage capacity or passenger room as required. In 1924, a new ‘Trefle’ (three-leaf clover) three-seat configuration was introduced, with a fixed third seat mounted in the middle of the cabin behind the two front seats, with cargo areas either side.
For the 1930s and beyond, the Traction Avant offered various seating layouts. These included a long-wheelbase seven-seat model and a variant with a wagon-style rear lift-up door – possibly the world's first production hatchback.
Even the 2CV, the brand’s so-called ‘basic’ car, featured advanced design in terms of its suspension, construction and adaptable, modular cabins. With removable seats, a convertible roof, wash-down floor and an extendible cargo area,
the 2CV could well be seen as the car that started the trend for functional or technological cabin design – more than half a century ago.
Both the DS and the CX were sold as estate cars (or ‘breaks’), offering maximum on-board comfort with intelligent seating layouts, long before more recent trends for six or seven-seat cars. The multi-seat CX Familiale was unique in its class and it took many years for its competitors to catch up.
Citroën has also produced a series of design concepts as ‘one off’ show cars, with interior comfort key to their motor show stand appeal, notably the 1980 Citroën Karin concept. This pyramid-shaped three-seater – built with composite materials – featured new storage ideas, moulded seats, and a stunning control ‘pod’ and steering wheel interface with fingertip controls. Such ideas are now familiar in Citroën’s modern production cars.
More recently, attention has focused on the science of ergonomics and the incorporation of adaptable cabin layouts into the functional use of the car. Citroën has always been popular among families due to a focus on ease of use and utility, with multi-purpose family cars among the brand’s best-sellers in recent years. The ultimate family ‘holdalls’ – Citroën’s MPVs and smaller family vehicles – have featured everything from removable seats, adaptable seating layouts, reclining rear backrests and even swivelling front seats.
Where the brand’s largest vehicles have offered eight or even nine seats in a car-sized package, smaller cars such as the ZX and 2003 C2, have featured back seats that can slide forwards and backwards to create more space for passengers or luggage. Rare in a small car, the C2 also offered reclining seats for passengers in the rear.
To make life on-board easier, Citroën models offer ingenious, advanced modularity. Thus enhancing generous amounts of space with:
- Three individual sliding, folding and reclining seats in row two on Grand C4 SpaceTourer and C5 Aircross SUV
- Three individual folding seats in row two on Berlingo
- Two folding seats in row three on Grand C4 SpaceTourer
- A split, sliding and reclining rear seat on C3 Aircross SUV
- The option of two seats in row three on Berlingo
- Row two and row three seats on SpaceTourer
- A flat floor when the rear seats are folded down or removed on C3 Aircross SUV, Grand C4 SpaceTourer, C5 Aircross SUV, Berlingo and SpaceTourer
- A folding front passenger seat on C3 Aircross, Grand C4 SpaceTourer, Berlingo and SpaceTourer
Storage space is also important for optimum comfort when you are travelling in a vehicle. Citroën has frequently implemented new solutions to maximise interior space, to accommodate the needs of modern families. From special pockets and pouches, under-seat drawers and airliner-style overhead storage bins, Citroën’s designers have always provided something more than an 'add-on' storage afterthought.
Citroën's clever thinking on this subject has always been full of bright ideas. A range of advanced solutions found in Citroën concept cars are now features in the brand’s production vehicles. User-friendly themes include revolving seats for easier access, hidden compartments, door storage recesses and dashboard designs incorporating trays and removable storage bins.
Where the 1923 C-Type previewed the potential for small storage compartments, other Citroën models would follow with their intelligent solutions to the question of cabin practicality.
Later examples would include the 2CV, which featured an eminently practical modular cabin design, with a sizeable and fully adaptable cargo space. The Karin, a show car introduced in 1980, featured extendible ‘pull-out’ door compartments, while many production cars of the time featured innovative glove compartment storage. The CX came with a large dashboard tray, while the XM – and many other Citroën vehicles since – were fitted with a large lift-up dashboard ‘locker’. Later GS models were available with a removable glovebox, which could be attached to the dashboard and doors, or even used as a briefcase. Later, in 2003, the C2 introduced a unique split tailgate to its class – it contained a small compartment inside of the lower half of the tailgate to hold smaller items and stop them from rolling around.
Previewed by a trio of concepts revealed by Citroën at the 1996 Paris Motor Show, the Berlingo introduced a new level of storage practicality. These show cars – Coupé de Plage, Berline Bulle, and Grand Large – variously previewed storage for large sports equipment (such as surfboards or skis), and family-friendly layouts with adaptable cabin storage. When the Berlingo went on sale – effectively a production version of the ‘Grand Large’ concept – it introduced Modutop® adaptable roof storage. Modutop® offered 170-litres of extra overhead storage, for all passengers – perfect for stowing away everything a family may need to keep them occupied on a longer drive.
You can still find on the current range:
- The latest Modutop® on Berlingo, which is comprised of roof storage within a large translucent arch and a separate box at the rear
- A ‘Top Box’ glove box on C4 Cactus Hatch and Berlingo, with a generous and wide opening, ideally positioned in front of the front passenger
- Dashboard storage, above the centre screen and facing the front passenger on SpaceTourer
- A large storage space under the front central armrest on C5 Aircross SUV
- Large centre console storage on Grand C4 SpaceTourer