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Quirky compact crossover majors on style, space and technology

PROS

  • Individual styling
  • Lots of personalisation
  • Should be comfortable
  • Frugal engines

CONS

  • Huge amount of competition
  • Funky looks might split opinion

Verdict

Citroen is going all guns blazing in its push to re-establish itself as a quirky car-maker with models bristling with character and charm. Its latest offering is the C3 Aircross, a compact crossover that’s entering a rapidly growing sector.

Previewed by the C-Aircross concept from the 2017 Geneva motor show, the C3 Aircross stays true to the concept’s design. 

Cars it’ll be up against include the new Hyundai Kona, Vauxhall Crossland X and Kia Stonic, as well as the established Renault Captur, Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-3. It’ll have a fight on its hands then, but Citroen’s promising personalisation, comfort and lots of tech in its shrunken version of its newcomer to appeal to customers.

Quirky looks and lots of personalisation

The C3 Aircross shares its platform with the regular C3 supermini, so it’s a compact car that’s been jacked-up by 20mm for that ever-so-appealing SUV-style driving position. And, like the C3, it’s available with a large number of customisation options in terms of body, roof and interior colours.

According to Citroen, buyers will be able to specify their car in one of 90 different colour combinations, with eight body colours, four roof colours and four colour packs for exterior trim around the lights, mirrors, roof bars and rear side windows.

It’s a similar story inside, with the option to specify one of five colour schemes for the seats and dashboard, just like the C3 hatch.

Majors on comfort and space

Citroen has employed its Advanced Comfort Programme in designing the interior of the C3 Aircross, claiming it offers class-leading space and comfort in a compact package.

While we won’t be able to confirm this until we get behind the wheel, the same wide, comfy-looking seats found in its latest cars appear to be present, with the rear bench able to slide back and forth, and split 60:40 for extra versatility. A large, opening panoramic sunroof should make the cabin feel bright and airy, too.

The boot features a split-level floor, offering 410 litres of space, which can expand to 520 litres with the rear seats slid forward. Fold them down and space opens up to 1,289 litres in total, with a total load length of up to 2.4m thanks to a folding passenger seat.

Range of familiar engines

The C3 Aircross’s engine range mimics that of the regular C3, meaning there’s a choice of tried-and-tested petrol and diesels to choose from.

Providing petrol power are three PureTech three-cylinder units in 82, 110 and 130hp forms. The PureTech 110 is the only one with the option of an automatic gearbox, the rest are manual only.

If you prefer diesel power, there are two options – a BlueHDi 100 and BlueHDi 120 – both 1.6-litres in size and likely to promise very low CO2 emissions figures and impressively high fuel economy.

Grip Control will also be present, as we’ve already seen in cars such as the Peugeot 2008 and Citroen C4 Cactus, with switchable modes to provide optimal traction on different surfaces. The modes are Standard, Sand, All-Road, Snow or ESP Off.

Citroen is expecting C3 Aircross buyers to have some form of active lifestyle, be it surfing or kayaking at the weekend, or taking part in some form of ‘urban adventure’ (also known as commuting) during the week. As such, the C3 Aircross will also come with the option of hill descent control to reduce any wayward downhill moments off-road.  

Lots of big-car tech

Citroen is packing the C3 Aircross with driver assistance and safety tech, including autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blindspot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, automatic parking, automatic high beam and a head-up display.

The now-normal suite of connecting your phone to the car will be present, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLink and wireless phone charging, too.

When can I buy one?

Prices for the C3 Aircross will be announced in July, with first deliveries expected in November.

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