Citroen plays a

blinder with new

Aircross

Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, front, action
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, side
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, nose
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, front, static
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, Venetian blind
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, Venetian blind, interior
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, interior
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, rear
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, seats
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, boot
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, reveal, sign
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, dashboard

FIRST it was the Airbump, then came the ConnectedCAM and now it's the Citroen with Venetian blinds.

The French car maker's reputation for out of the norm stretches back decades and its latest offering is no different.

Setting a trend of its own, the new Citroen C3 Aircross is a compact crossover that's high on flair, practicality and personalisation.

Unveiled at an exclusive event in Paris on Monday, the C3 Aircross will be on sale later in the year pitched against the likes of the Nissan Juke, the Toyota C-HR and the new Vauxhall Crossland.

Slightly larger than the new C3 hatchback launched by Citroen earlier in the year, the Aircross is aimed at fashion conscious motorists whose cars have to be right on trend.

Personalisation options include 90 different colour combinations, five interior finishes and a Venetian blind style slatted back quarterlight.

It's a stand out feature available in a variety of colours and gives the Aircross a distinction of its own - a styling cue in similar vein to the Airbump 'bubble wrap' protection panels Citroen fitted to the C4 Cactus before slimming them down for the new C3 hatch along with a factory installed dash cam.

The slatted blind pattern covers the outside of the back quarter window and will be a feature of all but the basic models.

From the outside it's a snazzy touch and when viewed from inside the pattern is obvious, casting pleasant shadows but still possible to see through the glass.

Such quirks are a Citroen trademark and there's no shortage of French fancy on the new Aircross.

Technology includes full Apple and Android compatibility, sat nav with TomTom traffic, a seven-inch touchscreen and a head up display for the driver.

It is also the first Citroen to offer wireless phone charging which is fast becoming a must have feature on modern motors. Other features include lane departure and blind spot warnings, emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and a driver fatigue sensor.

The Aircross takes Citroen into the fast-growing compact crossover market with a car that makes maximum use of interior space.

Not only is the cabin styled in contemporary fashion with posh trim it is also of family proportions with plenty of headroom, sliding rear seats and boot space ranging from 410 to 1,289 litres.

As with the C3 hatch the Aircross is built at Citroen's factory in Spain and it is the sister ship to the new Crossland - the British brand now being part of the PSA family after its takeover of Opel.

The Aircross will be available with two versions of Peugeot-Citroen's award winning three cylinder PureTech petrol engines with power outputs of 130 and 110ps and two diesels rated at 120 and 100ps.

With seven inches of ground clearance - almost an inch more than the regular C3 - the Aircross has a proper SUV image.

Skid plates are fitted front and rear, the body lines are chunky and there's protective mouldings around the wheel arches.

The ‘go anywhere' image is not purely cosmetic and higher grade models will be fitted with Citroen's electronic grip control and a hill descent system.

Citroen has still to announce prices and performance details but it is expected that the Aircross will cost from under £14,000 when it goes on sale later in the summer.

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