By Patrick James on 2018-02-10 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Ciitroen C3 Aircross
Feel 1.2 PureTech
IN the fiercely competitive world of the compact SUV, Citroen has typically come up with something a little left field with the C3 Aircross.
Like its competitors, it fits the bill on huge practicality and good economy, but offers that extra funkiness which will attract those looking for some a bit different and even better, depending on bank balance, can customise to their heart's content.
With eight body colours, three roof colours and four colour packages, there are 85 colour combinations.
The customisation can be extended to quarter lights with their shutter effect and the roof bars, plus the coloured door mirrors, headlamp surrounds and wheel centre caps. A wide range of wheel designs are also available, with a 16 or 17 inch diamond-cut alloy wheels depending on model.
Citroën's own blurb says the car stands apart in the world of SUVs with its fresh, powerful and original attitude.
That's not to say this car is not a serious player in its segment. It most certainly is and with huge practicality, efficient engine range and keen pricing, it is a family car that will tick most boxes.
As the name suggests it does look like the C3 with many shared features, but has a more boxy, rugged shape, with higher ground clearance and two tiered lights, wheel arches with extended wings and self-coloured lower sill protection panels.
While the car is front wheel drive only, the PSA Grip Control system is an available option which senses road conditions and sends power to the appropriate wheel.
The interior is equally funky, although do not expect the last word in finish, being functional, rather than high end plastics and upholstery.
It is well laid and does look good while the whole cabin feels roomy and airy with large glass areas to allow in plenty of light. For even more light and a taste of fresh air, a panoramic sliding glass roof is also available.
The dash is dominated by a seven-inch central touchscreen which controls navigation, entertainment and connectivity including smartphone via Apple Car Play and MirrorLink.
In a real statement of intent, the C3 Aircross has the largest boot in the segment with 410 litres can be increased to 520 litres thanks to the split rear sliding seats.
It has a low loading sill and dual height and mobile boot floor which provides a flat floor with the rear seats folded.
For bigger loads, capacity can be in creased to 1,289 litres by folding the rear seats.
There are two engine options available, but the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbo-charged petrol engine is simply outstanding. Mated with a slick five-speed gearbox, it provides good acceleration and decent economy, alway accompanied by that throaty roar you get from a three-pot power unit.
Acceleration is brisk, with the 0-60mph acceleration figure of 11 seconds seeming much quicker, while the turbocharger means torque is excellent, with power always on tap.
The claimed mpg of 56.5 seems ambitious, with mid-40s still a respectable figure. On the motorway it cruises admirably with limited noise intrustion from wind and tyre noise, while its compact dimensions means it zips around town and into tight parking spaces with the greatest of ease.
The car does feel surefooted and handles reasonably well, while the ride is comfortable and only disturbed by the worst of road surfaces.
There three model specifications, the entry level Touch, mid-range Feel and range-topping Flair, with a choice of the 1.2-litre petrol egine with either 82bhp or 110bhp, or the equally excellent 1.6-litre diesel unit. All are well equipped with electric windows and door mirrors, air con, cruise control, DAB radio and roof bars on all models.
Ciitroen C3 Aircross Feel 1.2 PureTech 110
Mechanical: 110bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 11.3 seconds
Combined MPG: 56.5
Insurance Group: 13
C02 emissions: 115g/km
Bik rating: 22%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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