Citroën’s C3 Aircross certainly stands out from the crowd but is it as memorable on the road asks Hannah Gordon
What is it? Citroen keeps up its tradition for creating quirky designs with the new C3 Aircross you get a chunky yet stylish compact crossover.
Who is it aimed at? If you like to stand out from the crowd and need a little extra room then the C3 Aircross could be the car for you. With the crossover market becoming saturated with choice its important to be different and the french flair styling will appeal to people who want a distinctive yet usable vehicle.
Styling? To compare the styling to a ’Tonka toy’ wouldn’t be too far from the truth, the bulbous styling is brutally in your face in places but with the addition of rounded plastic bumpers it helps to soften the C3 shape. The front end has a certain familiarity to the Nissan Juke with the small lights integrated into the sleek grill and then a set of lights lower down in the front bumper. The Aircross is built from the Citroen C3 but sits 160mm taller and comes with plenty of plastic cladding that adds to the stylish exterior. Citroen have tapped into the personalisation market and allowed the customer to choose from 85 colour combinations for the roof and body.
Under the bonnet? The test car came with the ever popular 1.2 three-cylinder turbo petrol engine that produces 130bhp, there are two other 1.2-litre petrol versions which come with a smaller power output. If you require an automatic gearbox then the only option you will have is the Puretech petrol 110bhp and six-speed automatic. There are also a couple of diesel engines available, both are 1.6-litre turbo charged four cylinder but the first one has 100bhp and the second has a larger output of 120bhp and stop start technology.
What about inside? Citroen’s current mantra of making comfortable cars is carried into the C3 Aircross, the seating position is high and gives a commanding view of the road, although the heads up display that pops out of the dashboard above the steering wheel is difficult to see in certain seating positions. The chunky exterior features are carried on into the interior with a bulky steering wheel, buttons and handbrake lever. The dashboard is kept simple with most controls running through the 7 inch colour touchscreen which also includes Bluetooth, DAB and Apple Car Play/Android Auto as standard on Feel and Flair spec models. The Aircross is fairly spacious inside and benefits from sliding rear seats that means the boot space goes from 410 litres to 520 litres.
On the road? Its unfortunate that the C3 Aircross only has one engine choice that includes an automatic gearbox, the Puretech 3-cylinder will undoubtedly be the most popular choice with consumers but make sure you try the 110 and 130 power outputs as the latter gives better acceleration especially for a larger vehicle like the Aircross. On the road the C3 Aircross is comfortable and makes good progress, road quality is slightly compromised by the larger wheels but steering feels as responsive as it can be from an electric set-up.
What about safety? In recent Euro NCAP tests the C3 Aircross was awarded the full five stars, it also incorporates as standard across its range emergency braking assistance, electronic stability control (ESC), hill start assist, lane departure warning, ISOFIX points, speed limit recognition and coffee break alert. Citroen emergency and assistance system does come as standard at the top spec but is also an option on the middle spec C3.
What are my options? There are over 80 different colour combinations available on the C3 Aircross with body and roof colours, metallic paint is a £520 extra and some exterior colour packs will add on £250 to your final bill. Satellite navigation and emergency assistance is an extra £600, panoramic sunroof is £950 and a park assist pack that includes front parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and self parking costs £600.
Will it break the bank? Economy figures across the C3 Aircross range are good, the mid range Puretech 1.2-litre petrol 110 manual has a combined mpg of 56.5 and a CO2 output of 115g/km. Compared with the 1.6-litre 100 diesel which does 70.6mpg and a CO2 output of 104 g/km.
So what is the verdict? In a market place full of crossovers it is important to stand out from the crowd and Citroen certainly have pulled out all the design stops with the C3 Aircross. Its fun to look at whilst the interior and exterior feel relatively well made. It is a vehicle that will divide opinion with its quirky nature but I’m sure we can remember the feeling of seeing the Nissan Juke for the first time. Citroen have a great engine set up with the three cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine which would be the obvious choice if motorway miles aren’t driven often. If personalisation, comfort and space are all important features at a reasonable price then the Citroen C3 Aircross could be a perfect addition for you.
Why you’ll buy one? Stylish; Quirky; Comfortable
Why you won’t? Only one automatic option;
Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2-litre Puretec 110
Max speed: 115mph
0-62 mph: 11.3 seconds
Emissions: 115 g/km
Model price range: from £13,995 (Touch trim, Puretech 82)
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP : 5
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 56.5 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 520 litres
18th January, 2018