Parkers overall rating: 3.2 out of 5 3.2
  • High-spec models feel reasonably plush
  • Plenty of adjustment in seats and pedals
  • Lack of physical air-con controls a real hindrance

How is the quality and layout?

Like most rivals you’ll find the interior is predominantly made of hard, scratchy plastic that’s durable but not that plush. You’ll find softer materials on the door’s armrests and other areas you’ll touch regularly, with Shine Plus adding a fabric wrapped dashboard, gloss black inserts and a few other details to lift things further.

You won’t find a fancy colour digital display behind the steering wheel – the instruments are conventional analogue dials for your speed and revs with a small black and white display between. This can show a variety of information including economy and your speed, but nowhere near as much as the fully digital dials available in the Ford Puma and Skoda Kamiq, for instance.

Like an increasing number of rivals, many key functions have lost separate buttons and knobs, migrating instead to the touchscreen. These include all stereo controls apart from the volume control knob and also those for the heating and air con. We’d prefer good old-fashioned physical buttons and dials as they’re far less distracting to use on the move.

Infotainment and tech

Entry-level C-Series models get a tiddly 7.0in touchscreen that does at least come with a DAB radio, Bluetooth, a USB port and smartphone mirroring in the shape of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Opt for Shine or Shine Plus and this is upgraded to a bigger 9.0in system that adds sat nav and an emergency call feature.

Whichever system you pick, you’ll find the menus get rather convoluted as you start to drill down making changing radio station, for instance, trickier than it should be. If you do get lost, you can tap the screen with three fingers to bring up the main menu that has nice big icons, unlike many of the sub menus.

Even the bigger system doesn’t have the sharpest graphics in the business and it’s not particularly responsive, either. The better screen has voice control, but it’s nowhere near as advanced as newer systems. Music lovers might be interested to know that an upgraded stereo with a subwoofer is available, if only on Shine Plus trim.

Comfort  

  • Advanced Comfort seats almost sofa like
  • Suspension is soft, yet doesn’t deal with potholes well
  • Plenty of engine vibrations at low revs

Citroen makes a big deal about the C3 Aircross being built for comfort, although it’s only partially successful. We certainly appreciate the Advanced Comfort seats that are optional on Shine and standard on Shine Plus models that support your back well and feel almost sofa-like in the way you sink into them. A bit more side support for bends would be welcome, and there’s no adjustable lumbar support, either.

As for the suspension, it’s soft enough to give you a relaxed motorway ride with a little bit of pleasant waft. Unfortunately undulating roads do reveal quite loose control that’ll leave your head rocking around, while sharp potholes and pimples send a thump up into the base of the seat. A Skoda Kamiq is a far comfier companion.

At least you won’t notice a great deal of road noise filtering up from the tyres, with wind noise on the motorway proving a greater annoyance. The petrol engines are relatively quiet although they do generate quite a bit of vibration through the controls when labouring from below 2,000rpm. The sole diesel is noisier as you’d expect.