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The traditional saloon is being replaced by the sports utility vehicles (SUV) as the fashionable vehicle of choice, but Citroën’s next saloon design will be an invigorating change. “Our new saloon will be a breath of fresh air – we don’t do traditional anymore,” Citroën CEO Linda Jackson said to Top Gear.

“You have to adapt the Citroën Cactus mentality to each segment,” Jackson said, suggesting that the rather brave styling approach will be applied across the board, even for typically conservative models such as large sedans. Described thus, the next-generation Citroën C5 could well adopt this design approach.

“We don’t want to be a niche manufacturer, but we don’t want to be an SUV player only. To be credible, you have to do small cars, large cars and SUVs,” Jackson said, hinting that the model types such as the large sedan won’t be usurped from the company’s attention.

“With the CXperience concept, we wanted to show we can do a large, comfortable car with none of the traditional markers. No leather, wood or chrome,” she said. The company chief is in favour of a large sedan that will stand out, and as it turns out Citroen’s product director, Xavier Peugeot is in agreement.

“The classic saloon is nearly dead in Europe. We need to reinvent it and make it as modern and attractive as the SUV segment,” he said, foreseeing that the SUV design code will more than likely expand to other segments or bodystyles. “If your saloon is classical or traditional, I’m afraid you are in trouble,” the product director said.

Autonomy will also change the overall shape of cars as their requirements for operation evolve in the direction of more self-driving technology, Peugeot said. On that front, self-driving capabilities could find a showcase in sedans of the future whereas SUVs have now established themselves as the family car of choice.

GALLERY: Citroën CXperience Concept