Over the years, Citroën has built up a great reputation for producing small to medium sized SUVs and people carriers. Having tried, and thoroughly enjoyed, the C4 Cactus last summer I thought it was time to review its larger sibling, the C3 Aircross, which Citroën launched a bit more than a year ago as a replacement for the C3 Picasso that had been a popular seller for a number of years.
The Aircross is quite a bit more funky in appearance than its predecessor, as well as being somewhat larger and subsequently roomier. Externally, the design reminds me of the Mini Countryman but those slender lights give the gallic car a more modern front end look. On the inside, everything is well laid out and there are not too many buttons to figure out. The wide and supremely comfortable seats are one of the highlights of this car and with the renowned Citroën ride, you feel relaxed and chilled at the end of a long journey. However, for me the rest of the cabin quality was a bit of a let down: there are hard plastics everywhere, some of which were just awful to touch and interact with. The car I had for review was the top of the range Flair model but it felt quite basic.
On the plus side though, the class-leading boot space of 410 litres can be further extended up to 520 litres and with the sliding rear bench option available on the Flair trim level, is very commodious and versatile. Wherever you sit in the Aircross, there is plenty of legroom and unless you’re a basketball player, headroom shouldn’t pose a problem either. Equipment levels are also good with a 7” touchscreen media centre that includes a sat nav that’s a bit tricky to operate on the move; auto wipers and lights; cruise control; automatic dual zone air conditioning; Apple CarPlay and tinted glass to name but a few.
To get you on the move, there is a range of petrol and diesel engines. My car had the three-cylinder turbocharged 1.2 litre petrol engine producing 130 BHP and 230Nm of torque – really good numbers especially in such a small unit; one thing I really found to my disliking was that when you pulled away, say from a junction, with even the tiniest bit of extra gas the front end just pitched up into the air. Performance is strong, with a top speed of 124 MPH and a 0-60 time of 9.9 seconds. Fuel economy is excellent, thanks partly to the six-speed manual gearbox, with a claimed combined figure of 54.3 – I managed a shade under 50, so not too bad, especially for a car of this size.
Steering is very light, with a good turning circle that really aids manoeuvrability and with rear parking sensors, parking is a doddle.
Prices for the C3 Aircross start at £15,085, whilst this range-topper came in at £18,935 with its list of extras. You get a three-year warranty and service intervals are 20,000 miles. All in all, apart from a few doubtful quality issues, this is an excellent and stylish family car.
Paul Beard’s interest in cars started about 36 years ago when he bought his first motoring magazine. He has always been passionate about cars and motorsport ever since. Paul has been fortunate to own and drive a wide variety of cars. Ultimately he enjoys writing about them too.
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