Citroen’s C3 Aircross is the auto-maker’s first stab at the compact SUV sector. It sits in the middle of the usual C3 hatchback and the forthcoming C5 Aircross. Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.
Produced for practicality more than anything else, the new car, launched in the UK earlier this month (Nov 2017), is entering a competitive market. Rivals include the Nissan Juke, the Vauxhall Mokka X and the Renault Captur.
Citroen has stuck to the compact SUV fashion by kitting the fresh model out with driving aids that are intended to enhance safety and the motoring experience. That means factory-fitted tech levels are notable, with the highest-level Flair model boasting anything from emergency assistance, to sat-nav and a sunroof. There’s a wide-ranging bunch of safety paraphernalia on board, too, with traffic sign recognition, head-up display, lane-departure warning and autonomous emergency braking.
The C3 Aircross accomplishes awesome practicality due to a roomy boot, able to gobble up 1,289 litres of luggage with the rear seat bench collapsed. Even with the rear passenger chairs up, there is 410 litres of space, ballooning to 520 litres with the chairs moved forwards. Furthermore, backseat passengers get ample head and legroom.
As always, the French motor-maker has gone big on personalisation with its latest car. The exterior detailing, roof, and body colour can all be adapted, with Citroen asserting that it can provide more than 85 colour combinations for the C3 Aircross. There’s also an assortment of colour bundles to jazz up the cabin.
Diesel or petrol power is the way to go with the C3 Aircross, as no electric or hybrid engines are available. The most prevalent model is expected to be the 110PS petrol-propelled 1.2-litre Puretech, offered with a six-speed manual gearbox or automatic transmission. If you need more clout, though, the 130PS 1.2-litre Puretech petrol, or diesel-driven 120PS 1.6-litre BlueHDi will sort you out.
Compared with the standard Citroen C3, the C3 Aircross is taller and weightier. But, no matter, because the car feels more planted as a result. Ride comfort is sound, but it is perhaps more sensitive to damaged tarmac than it should be. To remedy that, you can tick the ‘Grip Control’ option box – this will settle things.
Citroen has taken a deep dive into the compact SUV sector with its ‘in-your-face’ new car. It’s not just the model’s styling that excites, it’s the practicality, all-encompassing kit levels, and good-as-gold driving behaviour. The C3 Aircross is not necessarily the best compact SUV, but it should be on your list if you’re considering buying or leasing this type of car.
Reviewed by British motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay.