By Mike Torpey on 2021-10-30 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Citroen C3 Aircross
Shine Plus PureTech
A COMFORTABLE and calm driving experience can be the key to safer, more enjoyable, motoring.
In fact it can even prove a solution to the bane of road rage.
That's the view of French manufacturer Citroen, which has just launched the new-look C3 Aircross compact SUV with a host of updates, including no less than 70 colour, body and wheel combinations.
High on the list of revisions is something called the Citroen Advanced Comfort programme, aimed at giving drivers extra serenity on busy roads.
So higher spec versions of the new C3 Aircross come with seats that feature an extra 15mms of foam - a bit like having a mattress topper on board.
And with longer journeys in mind the seats offer further soothing thanks to a high-density sheet in the centre of the seat along with a thicker quality of foam.
Uniquely shaped and with coloured stitching,they also look soft and cosy too.
The initiative couldn't have come at a more appropriate time either, as a study by Citroen UK has revealed that some 40 per cent of British drivers believe comfort to be a vital factor in avoiding road rage.
In the case of the C3 Aircross that comfort is enhanced by a large glazed area to increase the sense of cabin space, a more commanding raised driving position and the arrival of LED headlights.
But there's plenty more than comfort to recommend this car. For instance first impressions always make a difference, and the Citroen's striking looks instantly give it an edge.
That is largely down to a new face - it has chrome-trimmed chevrons stretching out towards the headlamps plus an intricately patterned radiator grille and new aluminium skid plate - inspired by the company's much heralded CXPERIENCE concept car.
Another neat touch is the pair of rear quarter light windows with their attractive colour-coded all-round rims.
Of course family-friendly SUVs, even compact ones, need to be dripping with practicality and that's certainly the story with the Aircross, which has a two-position boot floor, an adjustable driver's armrest, rear window blinds and sliding seats.
We managed to load far more surplus items bound for the charity outlets and ultimately council recycling centre than I expected to fit in, getting considerable extra length thanks to the folding front passenger seat that provided a load length of 2.4 metres.
Otherwise, the C3 Aircross is up for grabs in a trio of trim grades called C-Series, Shine and Shine Plus, all featuring alloy wheels, LED headlights, rear parking sensors, cruise control and a centrally mounted touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Of the three engine options - 1.2-litre PureTech petrol with 110 or 130ps and a 110ps BlueHDi diesel - our version was the lower powered of the petrol units and proved perfectly adequate for everyday family driving.
The car was also smooth and well balanced, though the six-speed manual gearshift could have been a bit more user-friendly, and economy admirable.
Our own return of 51 miles per gallon compared favourably with the official manufacturer's return of 58.9mpg.
The C3 Aircross starts at £17,320 for a C-Series 110 petrol and given its level of standard equipment represents good value at the price.
Citroen C3 Aircross Shine Plus PureTech 110
Mechanical:110PS, 1,199cc, 3cyl turbo petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
0-62mph: 10.1 seconds
Insurance Group:13 (1-50)
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