Citroen begins testing its made-in-India compact SUV

by Akbar Merchant, Autocar India 13 Oct 2020


French carmaker PSA Group has begun road testing Citroen's first made-in-India model. Codenamed C21, the new vehicle is underpinned by the firm’s new Common Modular Platform (CMP) which is designed for developing markets. The compact SUV will also be offered in other markets like South America.

The compact SUV will have Citroen’s family design cues seen on the larger and more expensive models. Expect to see the familiar Citroën grille with two-tier headlamps, chunky alloy wheels and contrast black cladding on the sides. 

Citroen's compact SUV for India is likely to be powered by a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine, the sole powerplant on the C21. The company has already begun testing this engine in India on a Berlingo MPV that is sold with the same engine overseas. Sources have told Autocar India that this engine is being benchmarked to rival Maruti Suzuki’s engines for refinement and fuel efficiency.

Expect the Citroën C21 to hit the brand’s showrooms by the festive season of 2021.

Trial production of the C5 Aircross underway at CK Birla plant

Meanwhile, Citroen India has begun trial assembly of a few units of the C5 Aircross SUV at the CK Birla facility in Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu. The  C5 Aircross is slated for a market launch sometime in early 2021. The made-in-India units will be used for testing across the country, according to sources. While test mules of the C5 Aircross SUVs have already been seen in India, those were fully-imported units.

Covid impact: The launch of PSA Group's debut vehicle for India – the Citroen C5 Aircross SUV – has now been shifted to the first quarter of 2021.

Earlier this year, Citroen announced that the India launch of its C5 Aircross will be delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and will now happen sometime in January-March 2021, instead of end-2020. It is understood that  since the C5 Aircross will be “locally assembled” and not “locally made”, prices are expected to start upwards of Rs 30 lakh (ex-showroom).

The SUV will be sold in a single trim and is expected to come with features like an electronic parking brake, dual-zone climate control, a hands-free tailgate, split-LED headlamps with DRLs, a panoramic sunroof, a powered driver’s seat, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument screen.

Powering the SUV will be a 2.0-litre diesel engine good for 180hp, mated to an 8-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox. The SUV was earlier pegged to come with a less powerful 131hp, 1.5-litre diesel unit, but the additional performance will be welcome at this price point.

C21 picture credit: Gokul Raj

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Tags: Citroen