Citroen C3 Aircross is indicative of the growing presence of Urban based compact 2WD SUVs. C3 Aircross combines the quirkiness and avant-garde design philosophy of Citroen to produce something with a large personality in a mostly very bland segment.
C3 Aircross also continues the revitalisation of the historic brand in Australia. In a move that also goes against recent trends to have the ability to personalise your vehicle with literally thousands of options and colour combinations, the C3 Aircross comes in only one highly specified variant, with the only option being a choice of five very cool colour combinations for only $590. This I believe is a good idea.
Words that immediately spring to mind are cool, funky and on trend as part of the basic DNA, rather than trying hard like a MINI, which would seem to be the natural alternative. I sound like I should be on a TV reality show.
Like the Audi Q2, the C3 Aircross actually brings a smile to your face when you first look at it. It has that immediate appeal.
Even though it is only available as a 2WD, the C3 Aircross has the look and feel of the SUV with raised ground clearance, a high-set driving position, front and rear skid plates, large wheels and wing extenders. Additionally the colour highlights on the roof bars, ’Venetian blind’ rear quarter lights and distinctive 17-inch alloy wheels enhance the appeal.
The wonderful Citroen marketing have invented another new descriptive word, “squircle” to describe the light surrounds, meaning a square circle.
As mentioned there are five high contrast and contemporary colour packs, all featuring a two-tone roof, contrasting highlights package.
The interior is surprisingly pleasant, open and roomy. I am 190cm tall and slightly larger than the average bear and I found my comfortable driving position. I had plenty of seat travel, head room but a little tight on knee room. I would have liked and additional lumbar support adjustment and if I’m picky, leather seats.
We had a short 20 minute drive in the city with four occupants and while the rear passenger maybe wouldn’t want to drive from Sydney to Brisbane sitting back there, they seemed to have enough room for the trip.
The instruments are excellent, two larger outer dials with a two tiered MFD between, the steering wheel nice and thick and provides just enough feel. A handy pop up HUD provided good clarity and the central 7 inch touch screen within easy reach.
I didn’t like the fact that all the controls, such as A/C etc. were only by the use of the screen. I like to be able to turn a dial or push a button for some things. However the functionality was intuitive and the sensitivity of the screen good.
While the rear seats fold flat and there is a huge boot area for the segment, there is a distinct lack of little storage areas. No centre console bin to speak of, smallish glove box, tight door pockets and no, repeat, no coffee cup holders. The phone charging tray replaces the holders. There is one square cubby hole behind the central tunnel that will fit a small bottle or coffee cup, but it is inconvenient and a little dangerous as you have to reach behind you to access it.
Citroen Australia has adopted the approach of packing a load of features into the one variant. These include:-
- Apple CarPlay + Android Auto + MirrorLink
- Bluetooth-compatible 7-inch touchscreen for navigation and digital audio
- Head-up display
- Speed limit recognition and recommendation
- Top Vision 180-degree parking camera
- Cruise Control with speed limiter
- Automatic air-conditioning
- Height-adjustable driver’s seat
- Electrically-adjustable door mirrors
- Auto-dimming, electrochromic rear-view mirror
- Automatic windscreen wipers
- Automatic headlamps
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Keyless entry and start
- 17″ diamond-cut alloy wheels
- Grey rear skid plate
- Bi-tone roof
- White accent pack for roof rails, headlamp surrounds, wing mirrors, wheel centre cap outline
- Space saver spare tyre
- LED daytime running lights
- Rear window wiper
- Electric windows
- Driver and passenger sun visors with courtesy mirror
- Boot light
- Grey Mica cloth interior
- Height and reach-adjustable steering wheel
Drive and Engine
Powered by the clever 1.2L three cylinder PureTech e-THP turbo-petrol engine producing power 81kW @ 5500rpm and torque of 205Nm @ 1500rpm. This is matched to a smooth 6 Sp Aisin automatic that extracts the best from the little engine.
Even though the figures look small, around town the low delivery of torque means that you are never found wanting. We had two occupants, unfortunately both well over 100kg and some luggage and the engine didn’t even blink.
We also drove a mix of suburban peak hour traffic, motorway, open road and some back country roads and on all occasions the engine/transmission allowed smooth and quiet driving. Only under some heavy acceleration did the engine struggle a little.
The ride is exceptionally compliant and quiet, even over some of the horrible inner-city roads like Parramatta rd. and on rough country roads. Fuel use is an ADR combined figure of 6.6L/100km.
While the ANCAP safety rating is yet to come, there is an abundance of both active and passive safety features including:-
- Security Pack featuring:
- Active Safety Brake (AEB) up to 85km/h
- Forward Collision Alert
- Automatic high-beam assist
- Drive Attention Alert (DAA3)
- City Pack featuring:
- Blind Spot Monitoring
- City Park Assist
- Electronic Stability Control
- Front, side and curtain airbags
- Lane Departure Warning System
- Driver Assistance and Coffee break Alerts
- Smooth engine/ transmission
- Quiet ride and compliant handling
Not so Good Bits
- Lack of cup holders
- No leather seats available
- No AWD available
I really liked the Citroen C3 Aircross. Perfectly designed as an inner city runabout that is large enough and comfortable enough to take a long drive for weekends away or holidays.
Bringing more character to a sometimes homogenised segment, the C3 Aircross should be on your shopping list for an urban SUV if you like something just a little different.
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FACTS AND FIGURES: 2019 Citroen C3 Aircross
- Engine: 1.2 L 3Cyl Turbo in line petrol producing 81kW/205Nm
- Transmission: 6 Speed Aisin AT FWD
- Warranty: 5 Yr./ Unlimited km plus Roadside Assist
- Safety: TBC
- Origin: France
- Price: from $32,990 MLP*
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.