Aircross flying high

Citroen C3 Aircross, front
Citroen C3 Aircross, front
Citroen C3 Aircross, front action
Citroen C3 Aircross, dashboard
Citroen C3 Aircross, rear
Citroen C3 Aircross, rear
Citroen C3 Aircross, boot

CITROEN has high hopes of its new C3 Aircross SUV and having driven the petrol version, they have every right.

This is a fantastic not so small family car, with a big interior and a huge range of abilities that put it right at the top of a class including the very good Renault Captur and the Ford Ecoboost.

All the other makers will have to look to their designs to see if they can bring their products up to the same standard. It really is that good.

It has all the SUV look and height but also drives brilliantly in every way and is a lot more comfortable than cars in the next class up.

And even the mid-range Feel model comes with a huge range of standard safety and connectivity technology, including Bluetooth, Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

The ride is fantastic over all surfaces and at all speeds. It takes speed humps and rough town roads with ease, but also manages excellent comfort over poor surfaced country roads at 50 miles an hour.

Yet it also has the holy grail of good car design - excellent and very safe handling and grippy road holding, with very little lean but steering that's a little too light some of the time.

This car was powered by the most powerful engine available in the range, the Citroen/Peugeot 1.2 PureTech turbo with 130bhp.

It is an absolute gem, giving the C3 loads of smooth and punchy performance, while also allowing excellent economy and low emissions if driven more carefully.

There's enough acceleration in sixthgear of six for all motorway needs and it will pull from low revs in the other five.

It is very stable in strong wide winds and some models come with the Citroen Grip Control system, which in slippery conditions uses the traction control to send power to the wheel with the most grip.

This doesn't make it an off-roader of course, but it might well help keep going in ice and snow, or get it out of a muddy field.

I found there was a little torque steer on hard acceleration in the lower gears - something which has all but been eliminated from the majority of cars.

The seats are quite firm, very comfortable and supportive through the corners and rear legroom is excellent, with seats that slide fore and aft to adjust it.

The boot is big and the outside colour is matched on the inside, with a wide choice of ways to personalize.

Equipment is excellent in all, and the ‘Feel' has DAB stereo with aux in and USB, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, aircon and cruise.

It also comes with a driver alert system, alarm, stop/start, alloys, seven inch touch screen for some functions, heated electric mirrors and an audio remote.

The C3 Aircross is hugely impressive all round - really good family transport with a smaller footprint.

FAST FACTS

Price: £16,600

Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 10.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 53

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 119g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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