Citroen's recipe for

the compact SUV

Citroen C3 Aircross, 18-plate, front, static
Citroen C3 Aircross, front
Citroen C3 Aircross, rear
Citroen C3 Aircross, rear
Citroen C3 Aircross, front
Citroen C3 Aircross, front static
Citroen C3 Aircross, side static
Citroen C3 Aircross, rear action
Citroen C3 Aircross, dashboard

THEY say the egg is the most versatile of vegetables.

There you are, in just one sentence it has shown itself to be not just an embryonic life form but a dish enjoyed by vegetarians the world over.

I bet Fanny Craddock could make vegetable dishes from her eggs.

She and husband Johnnie epitomised those heady days of the swinging 60s dinner party with delights such as Spam en croute, piped green potatoes on tinned salmon cakes,small children in aspic and halved great fruits resurgent as a silver hedgehog wearing small chunks of cheese and pineapple.

Followed by Ford Zepher keys in the coffee table bowl.

Versatility was the thing and there is plenty of it around the motoring world.

PSA has the Peugeot platforms which it utilises in any number of ways.

The Peugeot 2008 is a Vauxhall CrosslandX, although you will wonder how they could have made such a dog's dinner of perfect ingredients.

It is also the basic roux for the colourful Citroen C3 Aircross, a car with attitude and a youthfulness almost out of reach for the Yorkshire pudding generation.

Here is a car without compromise. Trim options would defy Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen with 85 colour combinations including Spicy Orange which I cannot see myself asking for over the counter and a body shape which defies any wasted space with some edgy venetian blind stickers on the rear quarter windows.

But is it any good?

Well given a good grilling was the Flair trim Blue HDi 120 manual with a 1,560cc diesel engine costing £19,810.

That's 118bhp of turbo power which may not rip up trees at 10.7 seconds to 62mph but promises a combined 68 miles to each expensive gallon helped by stop-start technology.

Because this is a family friendly market practicality really counts.

Which is why one of the C3 Aircross' top features is rear seats that not only fold but also slide with the passenger side front and rear seats folding flat for long loads.

The aim was interior space crossed with style outside and unique personality is the result.

All with good ground clearance, two-tier lights, hill decent and the grip system which has proved itself so popular with Peugeot customers, if you choose to pay the extra £400, that is.

Out on the street the car feels well balanced for what is a chunky body and they can be fun in the countryside although urbanistas will want them most.

However the main area of interest is style and equipment.

Apparently, using newspeak, we are to discuss interior ambiances which come in five combinations.

At first I read that as in interior ambulances but in fact it best translates not as some sorry accident but a range of attractive finishes which encompass the ordinariness of a vicar's suit up to something called Colorado Hype which speaks for itself, really.

Crucially the layout is very useable and far from fussy and the panoramic sunroof is unique to its class.

A head up display is also fitted at Flair level, complementing the touch screen for the navigation system, apple car play and all the expected telephone and streaming links of modern life.

Be sure to note that the charging pad underneath it only works on android phones.

Personally I am more taken with speed limit recognition and automatic headlight dipping.

Optional safety aids include emergency baking, blind spot monitoring and park assist while all models warn drivers they are overdue for a break.

It is a comfortable car and very well finished inside, worth the money if it tickles your taste buds.

There is word that the Craddock cookery shows are to be re-broadcast.

So I offer you long-suffering Johnnie's legendary line praising the quality of his wife's doughnuts while apparently comparing them to coarse anatomical terminology. Look it up.

Ah, the age of TV innocence.

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