Citroen have just launched their entry into the exploding B-SUV segment with the all-new C3 Aircross. Despite the name, the car is built on a whole new platform, which Citroen say gives it a competitive advantage over rivals in terms of cabin space.
The C3 Aircross boasts class-leading amounts of headroom, and the sliding rear bench available on the Feel and Flair trims allows you to extend the 410-litre boot to an impressive 520 litres.
Speaking at the launch last week, product manager Ed Kelleher said the C3 Aircross aims to be ‘an SUV outside, but an MPV inside’. It sits 20mm higher than the C3, and offers more ground-clearance and a much higher driving position than its supermini sibling.
The striking looks can be complimented by a range of different personalisation options, including a bi-tone roof, and various different colour packs – giving a total of 85 different possible combinations.
It will be well equipped from the ground up with the entry level ‘Touch’ model offering manual air-conditioning, rear parking sensors and lane departure warning as standard. The mid-spec ‘Feel’ trim will add 16 inch diamond cut alloy wheels, a leather covered steering wheel, privacy glass and Apple Carplay/Android Auto. It also gets the ‘family pack’ which includes the aforementioned sliding rear bench, rear sun blinds, a ski hatch, and a rear middle armrest with cup holders.
Top spec ‘Flair’ models come with the bi-tone roof and colour pack as standard, as well as 17 inch alloy wheels, keyless go, wireless phone charging, SatNav, and an additional safety pack. With this safety pack (available as an option on the other two trim levels), the C3 Aircross gets a full five star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Citroen expect to see a massive shift back toward petrol power with their latest model, and are expecting the petrol versions to outsell diesel by a ratio of almost 3:1. The choice will be between the award-winning 1.2l 82hp PureTech, and a turbo-charged 110hp version of the same, which will be the only one available with the option of a six speed automatic transmission. The sole diesel on offer is the well-tested 1.6l 100hp Blue HDI.
The PureTech 110 would be our pick of the bunch from the launch, but whether drivers in this traditionally very practical and budget-conscious segment will be willing to pay the premium for that bit of extra power remains to be seen. It’s a pleasant car to drive in all its guises, with well-weighted steering, and a comfortable suspension set-up that is further enhanced by supportive and cosseting seats. The driving position is noticeably higher than many in the class, which will please those who enjoy a commanding view over other traffic. It may not be the most exciting car to drive, but like most Citroens, it manages to stand out in the areas of space and comfort – both of which are much more relevant to buyers in this segment.
The C3 Aircross goes on sale in Irish dealerships today, at a starting price of €20,695 with a launch offer of three years free servicing. For more information, you can find your local Citroen dealer via our Dealer Locator here.