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Citroen is bringing funky back with a wild-looking compact crossover concept

Why it matters to you

Citroen is betting on a design renaissance to increase its global presence.

Paris-based Citroen will travel to next month’s Geneva Auto Show to introduce a concept car named C-Aircross. The soft-roader looks like it belongs in a science fiction movie that takes place in 2117, but it’s actually a thinly veiled preview of an upcoming production model.

The C-Aircross adopts all of the styling cues that are making Citroen design weird again in the best possible way. It features a tall front end with a thin grille flanked by LED strips, and l0w-mounted headlights integrated into the bumper. Blacked-out door pillars create the illusion of a floating roof, while protective cladding on the rocker panels and the wheel arches add a rugged touch to the overall look. Finally, the back end receives tail lamps inspired by the ones found on the new, third-generation C3.

More: Citroën’s fluid, futuristic new concept sedan is turning heads

The cabin is accessed via a set of suicide doors. Once inside, passengers are treated to a single-spoke steering wheel that pays homage to historic Citroen models like the majestic DS, a cloth-upholstered dashboard, a heads-up display that replaces the instrument cluster, and a 12-inch touchscreen that displays the infotainment system. The unit can be split in two, meaning the driver can access navigation directions while the front passenger watches a movie.

A new application named Share With U lets occupants share pictures, videos, games, and music with each other using the on-board Wi-Fi connection. A wide-angle, high-definition camera integrated into the rear-view mirror makes it possible to snap pictures of the road ahead. Alternatively, the camera automatically turns on if it detects that a collision is imminent, and it records footage for up to a minute.

Citroen hasn’t revealed what’s under the concept’s hood. The crossover comes with the brand’s Grip Control technology, which suggests it’s front-wheel drive-only.

You’re in luck if you like what you see, because a toned-down version of the Citroen C-Aircross concept will replace the C3 Picasso people-mover before the end of the year. Look for the compact, city-friendly crossover to debut in the fall during the Frankfurt Auto Show, and go on sale across Europe a few weeks later.

It goes without saying that the C-Aircross — a name that most likely won’t be retained for production — will not be sold in the United States. However, Citroen (and sister company Peugeot) are in the early stages of planning a long-awaited return to these shores, so the auto maker’s unique brand of quirkiness could add diversity to our automotive landscape in just a few years’ time.