Citroen’s DS Wild Rubis concept shows how a DS-badged SUV could look, and could lead to a high-riding model for the 4×4-loving Chinese market. It’s the latest concept to showcase a possible future styling direction for Citroen’s DS sub-brand, the quasi-premium offshoot of Citroen’s main range.
Tell me about the Citroen DS Wild Rubis
Riding on 21in wheels, the Wild Rubis has a Mercedes ML-class-sized footprint, but is lower than a conventional posh-roader, standing 1.59m tall – about the same height as Citroen’s own DS4 crossover. The DS Wild Rubis features all-LED headlights with ‘scrolling’ indicators like an Audi R8’s. The one piece light/front grille and angular taillights are influenced by Citroen’s Numero 9 concept car. Thierry Metroz, director of Citroen design, told CAR that the Numero 9 previewed the look of all future DS models, from ther next DS3 supermini right up to large, luxury cars.
Underneath, there’s a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Though Citroen hasn’t revealed its specs, it’s likely the DS Wild Rubis shares the Numero 9’s powertrain: a 220bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine, twinned with a 70bhp electric motor, driving the front and rear wheels respectively. The hybrid powertrain is good for a 30-mile zero-emission range, and takes three and a half hours to fully charge its batteries from a domestic socket.
Why is the Citroen DS Wild Rubis so Chinese market-focused?
Tellingly, the concept makes its debut at the 2013 Shanghai motor show – exactly a year after Citroen unveiled the Numero 9 luxury saloon concept. The upsized DS with downsized consumption is right on the money for the Chinese car market, which loves SUVs and long-wheelbase saloons, but sees larger-engined cars crippled by huge tax levies. This has led to a scramble to offer premium cars in China featuring tiny four-cylinder engines (like the Jaguar XJ 2.2D, or forthcoming Range Rover Sport petrol).
It’s unlikely we’ll see a Citroen SUV go on sale in the UK – the firm has quietly dropped the C-Crosser softroader from its range in the wake of tiny sales, and currently has no plans for replacement. However, a ‘DS9’ flagship saloon and ‘DSX’ SUV could conceivably be on their way to an Asian car dealership not-at-all near you, from late 2014.