THE HISTORY OF CITROËN’S COMFORT EPISODE 4: COMFORT OF MIND
The notion of comfort has always been at the heart of Citroën’s models for over 100 years.
In this period of confinement where everyone is rediscovering their interior, Citroën is returning to the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme. A programme designed to guide the conception of Citroën vehicles towards a unique type of comfort, a true signature of the Brand.
A keystone in the development of current models, the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme is a comprehensive, modern and multi-sensorial approach to comfort, which thinks of the passenger compartment as the interior of a house. Its aim is to make every journey in a Citroën as comfortable as in the living room. It is based on 4 major pillars:
- comfort of driving to feel like in a cocoon
- comfort of living for a practical and functional interior
- comfort of use with intuitive technologies to simplify life
- comfort of mind to experience a warm and bright atmosphere, with everything in its place
4 major areas of differentiation for the Brand’s models, driven by exclusive innovations such as suspensions with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions® or Advanced Comfort seats. Technologies accessible to as many people as possible.
4 pillars that can be found through concrete examples in the history of the Brand and that we propose you to rediscover through 4 episodes. Today, episode 4, comfort of mind.
COMFORT OF MIND: WARM AND BRIGHT ATMOSPHERE
As we spend more and more time in our cars, combating stress and fatigue – improving ‘comfort of mind’ – is vital. Citroën therefore aims to create calm and refined spaces where ergonomic and functional highlights filter out the external environment. Comfort of mind is achieved by reducing the mental load on the driver, combining clever driver aids with light, spacious cabin designs.
The company has always been devoted to fostering peace of mind for owners. Citroën’s cars were the first to offer owners’ handbooks – producing Europe’s first mass-produced cars, the company wanted to ensure as many owners as possible knew how to operate and maintain their vehicles correctly. Citroën drivers have always been comfortable in the knowledge that any concerns would be easy to diagnose.
While driving can often be stressful or boring, a ‘feel-good factor’ can keep spirits high in the cabin. Enhancing the mental wellbeing of the driver and passengers has been a cornerstone of Citroën’s devotion to comfort for many decades – not just to prevent stress or boredom at the wheel, but also to enhance driving pleasure.
THE LIGHT FANTASTIC
Cabin light and ambience are core elements of ‘comfort of mind’ for Citroën, with interiors designed to lighten the mental load on the driver. Light can enhance perception of colour in to the cabin, transforming moods and improving the sense of calm and serenity. It offers the designer and the driver great benefits, especially on traffic-congested roads. Citroën’s use of light has defined the company’s cars for longer than many realise. From the roll-back fabric roof of the 2CV, Dyane and the current C1 Airscape, to the highly adaptable roof of the Pluriel and glass roof ‘portals’ of the Berlingo Modutop, Citroën’s cars have always let light flood in.
The 1955 DS paired thin pillars with a large glass area to fill the cabin with light, and the GS and CX had glazed rear pillars to achieve the same aim. Later, the XM used thirteen glazed window sections to stream light into the cabin. The 1994 Xanae concept car was a radical ‘one-box’ people-carrier which predicted the appearance of the mid-sized family MPV. The Xanae signalled the use of an extended-windscreen and glass roof that allowed light to flood the cabin.
In the C4 SpaceTourer, the 5,3 m² glass surface admitted even more light, as it extended back over the front row of seats. Full-length adaptive glass sunroofs also transform interior ambience in the current C3, C4 SpaceTourer, and C4 Cactus. The ‘Airscape’ roof in the current C1 evokes the fun and function of the early canvas-roofed Citroën 2CV and Dyane. With large glazed areas and wide openings, the most modern Citroën cabins are exceptionally bright and airy.
With so much light in the cabin, Citroën offers owners choices of soft, warm materials, clever patterns, and classy finishes to further mark the company’s cars out from the mainstream. Light years ahead, the pioneering DS represented one of the earliest applications of synthetic fascia mouldings, featuring bright new colours and advanced materials for the first time in car interior design. Meanwhile, other major car makers persevered with metal, wood and leather-lined cabins, with stuffed seats, small windows and leaf-spring suspension systems.
The earlier C4 Picasso featured a ‘Pack Lumière, offering a range of augmented interior lighting effects. In today’s Citroën cabins ‘Cielo’ ceiling lights and special effects provide carefully enhanced illumination. Scented air fresheners and air purifiers further add to the resulting ambience.
A sense of spaciousness and airiness is something that has defined almost every Citroën car. By adopting advanced and imaginative cabin architectures, finished in lighter materials, Citroën uses light and colour to reduce fatigue and enhance comfort. In recent years, there is no finer example than the C4 Cactus, which introduced a new style of interior to the market. Digital functions, a ‘command’ touch screen with intuitive controls, sofa-inspired front seats, new materials, and ‘open-air’ cabin architecture marked another step-change in interior car design, like the DS of the 1950s. The cabin of the C4 Cactus was named ‘Most Beautiful Interior’ of the year at the 30th International Automobile festival in Paris in 2015, with high praise for its shapes, the harmony of colours and materials, and the overall design approach.
Comfort of mind is also found in the range of electronic driver aids on offer to drivers of today’s Citroën vehicles. There is a degree of confidence in owning a vehicle that is actively looking for potential hazards, and will subsequently help drivers avoid them. In the C4, C5 and C6 of the 2000s, Citroën already offered Europe’s first lane-departure warning system. Using infra-red sensors to detect the car’s lane position, it also featured a vibration function in the seat to alert the driver if they strayed out of their lane.
The Head-Up Display (HUD) function that has now featured on numerous models advises the driver with easy-to-read information. For peace of mind, it’s designed not to dominate his or her attention, nor take their eyes off the road ahead. A wider range of advanced driver aids is now available to Citroën buyers to promote comfort of mind. These include active safety brake, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring system, tyre-pressure monitoring systems, hill-start assist, semi-automatic Park Assist, and automatic lights. In each instance, these functions provide valuable support to take the strain off the driver.
CITROËN’S NEW CONCEPT OF COMFORT
Driving conditions are changing all around the world. With increasing numbers of cars on the road, journeys are becoming increasingly fragmented and incidences of ‘road rage’ are common. At the same time, with the proliferation of new in-car technologies, drivers must be able to multi-task at the wheel. With the appearance of semi-autonomous and fully-autonomous cars on the horizon, comfort has never been more important.
Citroën has always sought to make its cars comfortable, for drivers and passengers alike. As the company approaches its centenary, this philosophy still drives the development of the brand’s vehicles. Occupants expect a warm welcome when they open the door, and want access to digital tools while on the move. Not only must these technologies fit in seamlessly, they must be easy to use and safe, too. Innovations must maximise the physical comfort of a car, while maintaining the pleasure and enjoyment that so many motorists derive from steering their car down their favourite road.
New technologies, modern production techniques and innovative designs have played a crucial role in developing the comfort for which Citroën is known. In the modern era, ‘comfort’ doesn’t simply refer to the physical comfort of the driver and passengers. The development of autonomous vehicles will place a new level of importance on comfort for those who only drive for practical purposes – to get from A-to-B. Citroën’s philosophy is equally focused on creating greater peace of mind for those drivers who still wish to drive for fun, maximising driving pleasure on all roads.