Citroen gets

personal with C3

Aircross

Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, front, action
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, rear, action
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, front, static
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, side, static
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, rear, static
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, interior
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, rear seats, folded
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, boot
Citroen C3 Aircross, 2017, boot, maximum

IMAGINE being able to personalise your compact SUV so that it stands out from the crowd.

Well, that's exactly what the all-new Citroen C3 Aircross can do.

Yes, it's yet another compact SUV in an already packed sector, but it supersedes the somewhat dated C3 Picasso model and offers a vibrant, bright and feature-rich option.

Priced from £13,999 there are three trim levels called Touch, Feel and Flair. In addition, there are six powertrains - four petrol and two diesel - with carbon emissions from as low as 104g/km.

But it's the fabulous range of colours along with mix-and match options that are the real story.

There are eight body colours, three roof shades and four colour packs that introduce lots of snazzy trim.

In fact there are 85 different colour combinations and that's before you venture inside where there is one standard trim with four colour options.

Citroen proudly claims the C3 Aircross delivers the best of both worlds - it's SUV on the outside with a punchy, eye-catching design, yet it offers all the versatility and practicality of an MPV on the inside.

Design cues include 16 or 17-inch wheels, moulded wheel arches, robust bumpers, a skid plate, a floating roof, roof bars, 3D-effect rear lights and an expressive front end with two-tiered lighting including LED daytime running lights.

There is a bright vibe to the interior too with a clutter-free cabin boasting plenty of techno treats and an ultra-modern appearance.

On-board technology is plentiful and includes full connectivity as standard via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, a six speaker sound system with DAB radio and, depending on the trim level, Citroen Connect Digital Navigation, a colour head up display, automatic lights and wipers, automatic dual zone air conditioning and plenty more besides.

When it comes to practicality, the C3 Aircross excels with a boot capacity of 410 litres that can be increased to 1,289 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.

There is a two-level boot floor and the car can carry items up to 2.4 metres in length. The rear seats are worthy of a mention too as they can slide up to 15cms and recline in four positions. The car offers best-in-class legroom for back seat passengers.

Safety is comprehensively covered with 12 driver aids to help protect occupants and other road users alike. Systems include blind spot monitoring, automatic high beam assist, fatigue alert, park assist, lane departure warning system, speed limit recognition, active safety braking and the option of Grip Control with hill descent assist.

We tried out two models - one petrol and one diesel - and they each showed their own individual character.

First up was the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol model in Feel grade with stop/start priced at £16,200 (£19,120 with options fitted).

This car could sprint from 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds, maxed out at 115mph and can deliver combined fuel economy of 56.5mpg with carbon emissions of 115g/km.

The car looked stunning with its Soft Sand body shade complemented by an orange exterior colour pack that added bright orange roof rails, light surrounds, door mirrors and rear quarter-light striped effect. The interior is equally bright and modern with funky orange trim around the air vents, steering wheel and seats.

The elevated driving position results in excellent all-round visibility although I did find the striped rear quarter light was less see-through with its snazzy trim.

The three-cylinder engine was full of spirit and whizzed up one of the longest, steepest hills in the Cotswolds with the utmost of ease. The acceleration through the 5-speed manual gearbox was smooth and responsive and there was a constant stream of power on tap.

The road-holding was excellent and the steering precise with ample driver feedback. The car can be thrown into bends with a degree of confidence and it has to be driven fairly hard before any engine or road surface noise becomes an issue.

One feature I found a little impractical were the cup holders. I had a small bottle of water in one and it fell over within 10 seconds of driving. I don't think I would confidently carry a hot coffee on the move.

But that aside, the car was a delight to fizz around in.

Next up was the 1.6-diesel 120ps diesel model in range-topping Flair trim with six-speed manual gearbox.

This car started at £19,720, but a few options bumped the cost up to £22,690.

It could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 10.7 seconds and maxed out at 114mph. It can achieve combined fuel efficiency of 68.9mpg with CO2 emissions of 107g/km.

Once again the C3 Aircross was great fun to drive and coped with a variety of roads. It was comfortable at motorway speeds and beautifully nimble when pottering through busy town centres.

The diesel model was a little noisier but the ride did feel a little more refined at times and it does bring with it the impressive fuel efficiency.

All in all the Citroen C3 Aircross is another great contender for sales in a sector bursting with choice.

It is built on the same platform as the Vauxhall Crossland X which doesn't look as quirky and the Peugeot 3008 which seems more mature in its approach and design.

So, it will be up to the individual to go with a ‘for' and ‘against' list and tick away.

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