Alexei Sayle: Push here for the rides of your life

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The Citroen C6 I've had on long-term test is a top of the range "Exclusive" model, so it comes loaded with all kinds of gizmos and gadgets. There's the device that punches you in the bottom when you drive over a white line; there's GPS and ESP and probably NUT and T&GWU as well; and the headlights swivel when you go round a corner.

One feature I never thought I'd use is the ride height adjustment thingy. Because of the air suspension, it's quite easy to raise the C6 to a mid-position, where you can drive at a maximum of 25mph, or you can put it on tip-toes, giving it the clearance of a 4x4, but you can only do 5mph.

Looking at it when the C6 was delivered, I thought it was one of those pointless options that manufacturers add to depress you, like a mobile phone with built-in hair clippers, or a computer that can edit a Hollywood movie when all you want to do with it is send stupid emails, buy fake Viagra and book low-cost flights to obscure airports in Bulgaria.

Until, that is, I went to a friend's party in Devon, where the parking area was in a rutted field. (Don't read this bit, Citroen* Press Fleet Department.) After badly graunching the bottom of the car a couple of times and getting stuck on top of a big rock, I suddenly saw the little "up" and "down" buttons on the centre console. Once the car had been elevated, I flew over the churned-up ground with no further problems except for a whistling noise coming from the exhaust.

I encountered a similar off-road challenge while filming at the Creamfields music festival outside Liverpool, where again the parking was on a claggy field. With just a push of the button, I was able to float across the rutted terrain with elegant insouciance, while lesser luxury vehicles bottomed out and stranded their passengers far from the artists' area, so that they were forced to walk through the clinging mud in their fashionable pointy boots and flimsy trainers and thus arrived at the hospitality tent with their footwear in tatters, while my backless Jimmy Choos remained intact and were, frankly, the talk of the festival.

The next time I found this facility useful was when I was taking my 92-year-old mother for a drive. Though she is largely confined to a wheelchair, she can get in and out of a car on her own but finds it difficult to raise herself from a low-slung seat. This was always a problem with my Alfa.

However, once the Citroen was raised to the full height, she was able to leap in and out of it with all the agility of a 91-year-old. Now, thanks to the C6's air suspension, I have the pleasure of driving my mother about nearly every day, to the Marxist bingo, the chiropodist and her pensioners' radical feminist book group. Thanks Citroen!

motoring@independent.co.uk

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