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First Drive: Citroen C3 Aircross. Image by Citroen.

First Drive: Citroen C3 Aircross
Citroen enters the small SUV market with its C3 Aircross, but it doesn’t forget its MPV roots

   



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Citroen C3 Aircross

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Citroen enters the small SUV market with its C3 Aircross, but it doesn't forget its MPV roots.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Citroen C3 Aircross PureTech 110 S&S EAT6 Flair
Price: £19,200
Engine: 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmission: six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Body style: Small SUV
CO2 emissions: 126g/km (Road tax £160 first year, £140 thereafter)
Combined economy: 50.4mpg
Top speed: 114 mph
0-62mph: 11.8 seconds
Power: 110hp @ 5,500rpm
Torque: 205Nm @ 1,500rpm

What's this?

The Citroen C3 Aircross fits into a sector that the car industry thinks is exactly what buyers want, and sales figures suggest they might be right. The SUV and crossover marketplace is booming, and these models have shrunk in size to the point that we're now seeing supermini-sized models like the C3 Aircross. In industry speak, it's a B SUV, although in real terms it's Citroen's answer to the genre-innovating Nissan Juke and its subsequent rivals like the Peugeot 2008, Ford EcoSport and Renault Captur. There are more of these models on the way, too, with VW, SEAT, Hyundai and Kia all sending rivals into showrooms in the coming months.

The C3 Aircross replaces the C3 Picasso compact MPV in Citroen's line-up. But rather neatly, Citroen has managed to provide all the space and most of the Picasso's family-friendly flexibility in the Aircross, so it's something of a win-win if you liked the old car's practicality, because it comes in a more visually appealing package.

There's off-road looks, although the C3 Aircross is only offered with front-wheel drive. Citroen does offer an optional Grip Control Pack that offers selectable traction and stability control systems, all-season tyres and Hill Descent Control, though. You'll not need it, so save the £400 it costs and put it towards the Family Pack, which adds sliding rear seats, a fold-flat passenger seat, front armrest, active safety braking, forward collision alert, automatic high beam assist and driver attention assist.

How does it drive?

Rather unremarkably. Don't take that as a complaint though, as nothing in this class is outstanding from a driver's point of view, and that's kind of the point. The C3 Aircross is competent in all areas, as the suspension soaks up bumps decently, and surprisingly, given its greater height, does a better job of containing roll than its C3 supermini relation. The engine choices encompass a range of PureTech three-cylinder petrol engines of 1.2 litres - one non-turbo with 82hp and one turbocharged with either 110hp or 130hp. There are diesels too, a pair of choices using a 1.6 BlueHDi turbodiesel, with either 100hp or 120hp.

Petrol engines will make up the majority of sales, which given the sweetness of the 1.2-litre triple is entirely understandable. Forget the non-turbo 82hp unit and instead go for the 110hp version, which gains stop-start and can be had with a six-speed EAT6 automatic transmission. That's a proper auto, too, not the yawning pause gearshift disaster that is Citroen's automated manual. The engine is smooth, willing and brisk enough, while that six-speed auto adds ease to the equation, although it does dent the economy and emissions slightly if you've an eye on outright running costs.

Inside the C3 Aircross is spacious, and that Family Pack is definitely worth having if you want ultimate practicality. There's a big boot and the interior is nicely styled, although the plastic mix is extensive, and not much of it looks particularly expensive. There are three trim levels, to which you can add various interior and exterior colour and style packs, creating a potential mix of colour combinations that a cuttlefish would struggle to match.

Verdict

A good looking, spacious, decently equipped new contender in what's shaping up to be the hottest marketplace out there. Safety equipment is good across all trim levels, although that Family Pack is a must-have option (it's worth noting it's not offered on entry Touch trim), particularly if you want to maximise the interior space.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

3 3 3 3 3 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 Driving Dynamics

2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 28 Sep 2017



  www.citroen.co.uk    - Citroen road tests
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2017 Citroen C3 Aircross drive. Image by Citroen.2017 Citroen C3 Aircross drive. Image by Citroen.2017 Citroen C3 Aircross drive. Image by Citroen.2017 Citroen C3 Aircross drive. Image by Citroen.2017 Citroen C3 Aircross drive. Image by Citroen.

2017 Citroen C3 Aircross drive. Image by Citroen.2017 Citroen C3 Aircross drive. Image by Citroen.2017 Citroen C3 Aircross drive. Image by Citroen.2017 Citroen C3 Aircross drive. Image by Citroen.2017 Citroen C3 Aircross drive. Image by Citroen.








 

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