Reasonable performer, but remains a minority choice

What is it?

Citroen’s decision to base its SUV on the Mitsubishi Outlander has come to its logical conclusion, with the arrival of a chevron-badged version of the 2.4i petrol Outlander, fitted with a CVT automatic transmission.

The company is happy to admit that the petrol C-Crosser will be of minority interest in the UK, but it reckons that buyers looking for an automatic gearbox (unavailable in the diesel C-Crosser), will be prepared to put up with the 30.4 mpg combined economy and 222g/km CO2 emissions.

On-paper performance is reasonable, with the engine’s 168bhp delivering a claimed 10.4 second 0-62mph time.

What’s it like?

With the obvious proviso that a petrol-powered Citroen SUV is going to appeal to an extremely small part of the market, the C-Crosser CVT delivers a suitably uneventful driving experience.

The drivetrain it feels pretty much identical to its Mitsubishi-badged sister – no surprise there – meaning that the engine needs to be revved hard to pull ahead of traffic, but at constant-speed cruising the gearing winds itself back to allow quiet progress.

The gearbox can also be switched into a very artificial-feeling ‘manual’ mode, in which the CVT shifts between six virtual ratios, but like all such systems it suffers from a pronounced slurring between speeds – and also from slow response times.

Other than that, the C-Crosser drives well enough. It’s easy to place on the road and can be persuaded to corner surprisingly hard for something with such a raised centre of gravity.

Barring badges and different trim colours and patterns, the interior is effectively identical to that in the Mitsubishi Outlander, including part-time third row seats suitable for children.

It’s well-finished and feels tough, but buyers will look in vain for the sort of quality touches displayed by upmarket rivals.

Should I buy one?

If you’re a member of the set-within-a-set that Citroen is targeting with the C-Crosser, you should give either it, or its effectively identical Outlander sister, serious consideration. And the one you buy will probably depend on which dealer offers the best deal.

That said, for the vast majority of C-Cross buyers, either the diesel version – or one of the myriad of diesel-auto competitors – will be a more sensible choice.

Mike Duff

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