The Citroenís 2.4 litre engine is mounted transversely and drives the front wheels, In spite of looking c/uttered, all basic engine components are easily accessible. The unusual headlight shape(below) and general front end design contribute greatly to the carís excellent aerodynamics.
Right in front of the driver is a space-age pod. Itís the only way to describe it. From the base of the pod extends the single curved arm to which the steering wheel is afixed. Framed in the wheel are the two major instruments which stare back at you from behind thick magnifying lenses ó the tachometer and the speedo. Between these two instruments are the mileage (kilometreage) recorder and the odometer. On the outside are the clock (to the left) and the fuel gauge and voltmeter (to the right). Then in a narrow band right across the top of the instrument pod are all the warning lights.
The extremities of the instrument housing curve back towards the steering wheel and driver. Almost touching the wheel these areas locate rocker switches for the indicators and horn (left hand side) and the high beam dip switch and headlight flasher on the right. Under the pod are the light switch and panel rheostat (right) and wiper/washer and hazard warning switch to the left. The ignition switch is just to the left of the steering co!umn and the manual clock to the right.
Completing the driver cocoon is the centre console. The most eye-catching
feature is the tennis-ball like device on the very top. After a few momentís
fiddling it opens ó an ashtray! The stereo system is next down the console
and controls for the air-conditioning. Then thereís a small bits and pieces
compartment and the gear lever. Yes, itís an automatic with a gear lever.
You can leave the car in second gearall day around the city, selecting first for steep hills and top for open road cruising. Alternatively you can drive it just like a manual three-speed without clutch. As you apply pressure to the gear lever, a torque converter automatically engages and disengages the clutch. (Similar to the Porsche, Volkswagen, NSU Ro80 sportmatic boxes). This section of the console also houses the hydro-pneumatic suspension controls, the power window switches, etc.
Special things to note? Thereís no self-cancelling on the indicators which is a no-no, although something you get used to. Having the dip-switch where it is at fingertip level is also a no-no. When youíre driving in the straight ahead position itís fine ó try dipping your lights in the middle of a corner!
The horn ówell thatís something again. Itís a two position button. Press it lightly and a relatively loud conventional electric horn will move little old ladies and kids out of the way without frightening them to death. Push it a little harder and it cuts in a triple horn system which is guaranteed to take ten years off the life of any stray Richard Cranium doing 80km/h in the fast lane!
The ride in the Citroen is notable because it is so quiet and comfortable. In the CX Pallas the clever use of Sound absorbing materials (such as heavy carpets and the heavy jersey style fabric) reduces road noise to aminimum. Wind noise is almost negligible, thanks to excellent aerodynamics and engine noise becomes obtrusive only at very high revs.