Comfort and personalisation…big buzz -words at Citroen business marketing and design meetings.
Tom Scanlan checks out the different flavours of the All New Citroen C3 Aircross from the UK launch.
SUV is the big buzz-word for car sales in dealerships today.
Take the All New Citroen C3 Aircross. It is an SUV. I’ve said it before and would put money on the average buyer not knowing what SUV stands for, but Sports Utility Vehicles are supposedly the big thing right now.
So the C3 Aircross is Citroen’s foray into this sector, the smaller of the two SUVs they are introducing (although not for about another year for the C5 Aircross).
Personalising your car means you can go for any number of options that really will make your C3 Aircross different from your neighbours or the one up the road.
The main route to this is through the colour options. With the attractive variety of body colours on offer, along with different roof colours, there are eighty-five varying combinations that can be created. The personalisation continues with the interior wherein there are several types of cloth, colours or leather options, plus a choice of colours for ‘accents’ like, for example, the surrounds of switchgear.
If that isn’t enough, the rear quarter-lights can be with or without a sort of Venetian blind effect (or stripes, to put it less poetically), in each case able to be seen out of but not seeing from the outside.
Is the car comfortable, I mean REALLY comfortable? My test drive as both driver and passenger covered seventy miles over a variety of road surfaces, mainly in very good condition, such as motorways. Therefore, I would suggest that, yes, the car was very comfortable (perhaps the seats could have provided a little more side support when the car is taken at speed around sweeping bends) but not necessarily outstripping its competitors in this respect. Further use over longer distances and periods of time would reveal a more complete answer. Comfort in a car is not just about the seats and the ride — both very good, in fact — but about how easy it is to make use of all the driver aids, the connectivity technology, passenger space, boot space, versatility of seating arrangements and more.
Citroen have done an excellent job in the versatility stakes, with various configurations allowing more or less luggage to be stowed on board, with the rear seats sliding back and forth to extend the capacities, or removed altogether.
It’s quite easy to do all these things, this scoring well for comfort.
A small exception is that I found the knurled knob that adjusts the driving seat angle was rather stiff and not too easily accessed. However, it could be asked that, if the car is likely to be driven only by the owner, then, once the desired position is set, who needs to worry about stiff controls?
And here is a plea not just to Citroen, but to the entire industry: please can the satnav voice guidance be turned off/on by a simple single-press button? Surely everyone gets frustrated when the voice masks the interesting discussion you are listening to on the radio as she (usually a ‘she’, although you can have a ‘he’ if you prefer), tells you three times which exit to take off that roundabout.
As a general rule, too, I am old-school and prefer less reliance on computer technology…better to keep simple physical dials that can be used without having to take your eyes off the road, as in heating or air-con, for instance. And how frustrating is it when your finger hovers over a command selection, but an uneven surface causes your finger to stab down in the wrong place?
The actual driving of the Aircross was enjoyable and easy. The car is quite tall, with its raised ground clearance and high seating position, so there is a good view of the road ahead and general outward visibility.
The car for the test drive was the top-range Flair version and it had the 120 bhp 1.6 turbo Diesel engine. This has enough power and torque to keep most drivers happy, so that smart overtaking is on tap. The car feels nicely-unstrained even when pushed. Some wind noise was evident at 69-70 mph, but conditions were particularly windy at the time.
The manual gear-change was pleasantly slick, but I am not sure I liked the bulbous hand-brake lever that works like old-fashioned fly-off hand-brakes usually found fitted to British sports-cars of the1950s.
Fuel consumption over the seventy miles finished at an indicated 49.5 mpg.
The Aircross range starts at £13,995. The 1.6 diesel Flair was priced a lot higher at £19,720 and is available with a suite of options including Grip control. Citroen has needed their new SUV in their range, this latest compact model adds some unique, quirky originality to the crowded SUV market.
Car reviewed: New C3 Aircross Compact SUV Flair S&S BlueHDi 120 manual – Base Price On the road £19,720 with options £22,690 0-60mph 10.7 secs Top speed 114mph Fuel Economy combined 68.9mpg CO2 emissions 107g/km Engine 1560cc 4-cylinder turbo diesel Max Power 120HP@3500 rpm Torque 300Nm@1750rpm Transmission 6-speed manual
A practical and versatile SUV
Good economy and low emissions
Good choice of customisation options
Love it, or hate it looks
Watch the video review of the New Citroen C3 Aircross by Matthew Griffiths | Drivers-Seat.com
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