For almost a century, comfort has been closely linked with the Citroën brand, in the same way that design and innovation has been part of its DNA.
However, as expectations and driving habits have evolved, so too has the definition of comfort.
The Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme addresses the expectations of today’s motorists with its all-new progressive hydraulic cushion suspension system, new seat technologies, improved body rigidity and acoustics, all to filter out road noise and vibrations. This is combined with a more simplified, yet rewarding, cabin environment.
Citroën is demonstrating these advances via a prototype C4 Cactus known as the ‘Citroën Advanced Comfort® Lab’.
The New C4 Picasso range, which goes on sale in the UK on 1 September, is the first model to benefit from selected elements of the programme.
Comfort means different things to different people. Indeed, a multitude of parameters contribute to the driving experience – damping, body stability, acoustics, seats, light, space, ergonomics and cabin layout.
The Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme addresses all of these variables to deliver comfort that is characteristic of the brand and sets it apart from the rest of the market.
Starting with the New C4 Picasso, it is the brand’s intention to deliver its new technologies progressively over time on every model in the Citroën range, from the C1 city car through to larger models.
The programme, which Citroën will use to reaffirm its credentials and expertise in the field of comfort, has four simple objectives:
The C4 Picasso range already sets the standard in the MPV sector. The recently revealed versions aim even higher with more welcoming interiors, generous equipment and enhanced dynamic qualities. In this way, the New C4 Picasso models perfectly illustrate how the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme is set to deliver greater overall well-being for all occupants.
Built on the PSA Group's EMP2 platform, the New C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso deliver outstanding driving comfort, which is characteristic of the brand. With vertical rear shock absorbers and raised suspension arm joints, for example, the cars damp out imperfections in the road surface extremely effectively. The ergonomic design of the seats and the choice of materials also serve to help isolate occupants from road noise and vibrations. Optional heated seats, with a massage function, are available. The front passenger can even stretch out in an electric seat with a built-in leg rest. Finally, following studies into road noise, Citroën has increased acoustic comfort and vibration control by improving the damping of the front subframe and fitting a dual-material acoustic shim on the rear suspension.
With its optimised interior space : exterior size ratio, New C4 Picasso provides a generous amount of living space for everyone. All the seats in the modular cabin are independent, so users can personalise the interior configuration to suit their needs or mood.
The storage compartments positioned around the cabin are not only numerous, but are truly ingenious and easy to access: the central storage bin between the front seats perfectly illustrates this. With the easily accessible boot and generous capacity, luggage loading is no longer a source of stress.
The New C4 Picasso features the latest equipment for practical, connected use. Keyless entry and start already made life easier for the driver, and now owners will benefit from hands-free tailgate technology, allowing the boot to be opened simply by waving their foot under the rear bumper. In terms of connectivity, New C4 Picasso features a range of intuitive systems, so the driver can connect their smartphone and use it via the central touchscreen (Apple CarPlay™ and MirrorLink®).
At the wheel, drivers receive information from all directions. To provide assistance and lighten the mental load, New C4 Picasso provides a range of driving aids for everyday use. Hill-start assist, Park Assist and the automatic high beam/low beam function provide valuable support. A range of electronic aids, from the lane departure warning function to blind spot monitoring, give drivers confidence in the vehicle's capacity to alert them in the event of an emergency.
The dashboard architecture is unique, with a 7-inch touchscreen and a 12-inch HD screen, for a naturally ergonomic layout that ranks information according to type and importance. The large glazed area (5.30 m²) and the spectacular panoramic windscreen also contribute to comfort: the cabin is bathed in light, avoiding any sense of confinement.
The ‘Citroën Advanced Comfort® Lab’ prototype C4 Cactus is the focal point of the brand’s redefinition of on-road comfort.
When a car drives over a bump or dip, the disturbance is passed through the cabin and onto the occupants in three stages:
a) The suspension action
b) The vibrations are then transferred to the vehicle body
c) The vibrations are felt by the passengers through the seats
Addressing this chain of events, the ‘Citroën Advanced Comfort® Lab’ prototype features three innovations that singularly, then collectively, reduce the vibrations felt by the passengers and thus significantly improve driving comfort.
Citroën has filed more than thirty patents for the technologies implemented in this prototype, and they have all been developed to be applicable, from both a cost and production standpoint, to all the vehicles in the Citroën range.
For over 95 years, the development of comfortable suspension systems has been part of Citroën’s DNA. The brand has created an all-new suspension system, which dramatically improves the ride comfort, and builds on that heritage and know-how to deliver an unrivalled ‘magic carpet’ ride.
Whereas a conventional suspension system is comprised of shock absorbers, springs and mechanical stops, Citroën's new system adds two progressive hydraulic cushions – one for rebound and one for compression – at the top and bottom of each suspension unit. In this way, the suspension functions in two ways depending on the road surface:
In cases of slight compression and rebound, the springs and shock absorbers work together to control vertical movement without needing the hydraulic cushions. However, the new cushions provide the vehicle with greater freedom to deliver a ‘magic carpet’ ride, creating the impression that the car is flying over any bumps and dips in the road;
In cases of more significant compression and rebound, the springs and shock absorbers work together with the hydraulic cushions at the ends of the suspension travel. These new cushions gradually slow the movement, rather than having abrupt stops at the extremes of compression and rebound. Unlike a conventional mechanical stop, which absorbs the energy then partially returns it, the hydraulic cushion absorbs and dissipates the energy.
The innovative new technology not only delivers an exceptional level of comfort that is specific to the brand, but it can be applied to all Citroën models from the city-car segment and up.
When the suspension has completed the damping process, the energy created by the irregular road surface is transferred to the vehicle body. The use of structural bonding techniques will significantly reduce this occurrence, thanks to increased overall stiffness.
Using an industrial process specific to Citroën, the structural parts of the vehicle are bonded together using a discontinuous line of adhesive. An electrical weld point is positioned wherever the line of adhesive is interrupted to ensure optimum rigidity during assembly. This eliminates the toxic smoke that would be generated by welding and burning the adhesive.
This special bonding technique has a number of advantages:
1. The first is significantly greater overall body rigidity. The improvement in stiffness is around 20% on average: a stiffer body will reduce the level of vibrations while driving.
2. Another significant benefit is weight reduction. Bonding makes the body stiffer without making it heavier. The heavier the vehicle, the more complex the suspension damping process is for improved comfort.
3. The final advantage is cost. The technique allows engineers to reduce the number of electrical welds, which in turn aids Citroën’s ambition to deliver the new suspension on all models.
A car’s seats provide the first impressions of comfort – from visual aesthetics to the reduction of on-road vibrations for the occupants.
The new seats provide a better combination of comfort and all-important posture support thanks to the introduction of different foam densities. In addition, Citroën took inspiration from the bedding industry and how it has developed its memory-foam mattresses.
By using several layers of special materials (polyurethane foam, viscoelastic or textured foam), Citroën has mirrored this bedding technology to deliver memory seats that adapt perfectly to the body shape of each person. With these unique properties, the seats regain their original shape from one passenger to the next.
With its progressive hydraulic cushions, structural body bonding and innovative seats, Citroën Advanced Comfort® combines three innovations that significantly improve the vehicle's ability to filter out the bumps and dips in the road.
Not only do these innovations reaffirm Citroën’s expertise in on-road comfort, but they deliver a statement of intent to roll-out the technology across the entire range, whatever the price of the model.
The New C4 Picasso range shows that Citroën vehicles can deliver ‘driving comfort’, alongside solutions for ‘living comfort’, ‘functional comfort’ and ‘comfort of the mind’. The brand's future models will go further in each of these areas, as illustrated by the ‘Citroën Advanced Comfort® Lab’ demonstration vehicle in the field of suspension comfort.