C3 Aircross

Nip & tuck brings Citroen C3 Aircross better looks, more sophistication

The Citroen C3 Aircross has starred on space as much as it has on sexy since it arrived in SA on the brand’s re-focus a couple of years ago. Now, happily, it has lost many of the first attempt’s perhaps overly quirky bits. And gained a sharper, more angular and entirely restyled nose, among several other midlife enhancements. Yes, those ridiculous side pads and brightwork that clearly never satisfied all tastes in the first place are gone.

Even more assertive, more mature design

All of which brings the C3 Aircross an even more assertive, more mature design while retaining that expected chic Citroen stance. The old model’s LED Daytime Running lights now sit above cooler looking new LED fog lights. Each side of a more geometric grille and above silver trimmed skid plates front. C3 Aircross now also gets tweaked body and wheel-arch protection, skid plates and improved roof bars too.

It’s now more customisable to your personal tastes too. You can choose between five all-new body colours including this Pepper Red, and some two-tone options, while our tester was shod with new look diamond-cut 16” alloys. All of which contribute to this litte car’s already bubbly personality, which is a must-have in the busiest little motoring niche on the road.

A people-minded compact SUV version of the C3 hatchback, Aircross also boasts an impressive interior design that stands out from competition. There’s no compromise on comfort or function in a light-bathed cabin with class-leading space, broad, comfortable seats and exceptional boot volume. C3 Aircross stars on versatility with more space in an easily variable cabin on a raised ground clearance with a command driving position.

Familiar modular, airy C3 Aircross cabin

Step aboard the familiar modular, spacious and airy cabin and you’re greeted by larger, wider, more comfy seas up front. A larger improved centre console space is accessible by front and rear seat passengers, while Aircross has a most practical 60-40 split rear bench seat that not only folds flat, but also independently shifts fore and aft. Improved 7” navigation touchscreen infotainment has Auto and CarPlay and all the other expected connectivity plusses.

Powered by PSA’s 1.2-litre PureTech turbo petrol turning the front axle via a 6-speed autobox, C3 Aircross gets a lusty 81kW. That’s decent power and the car actually sounds good when you step on it. Boasting a typically Citroen magic carpet feel, it also has good ride quality and is comfortable, while still being perky and frisky on the road with good handling. In fact, C3 Aircross proved unexpectedly nimble and fun to drive.

It’s also pertinent to mention that Citroen is now once again run by Stellantis in South Africa. And that is good news. To that end, the brand is committed to improve every aspect of Citroen ownership. Through a completely revamped dealer body set on delivering everything. From best possible customer service to parts availability. And a full 5–Year 100,000km warranty and service plan with full roadside assistance.

Splitting hairs to find C3 Aircross faults

Are there downsides? Perhaps — visibility from the drivers seat is average and its cloth seats have a scratchy feel. And while it’s far better stacked, this Citroen still lacks some of the spec that some of its rivals get. An example is this car’s good old slot in and twist key, while many rivals are push button start. The infotainment system looks cool. Although it may not be not quite up to par against some of its German rivals. But we are splitting hairs to be honest.

So, whether you’re a Citroen fan or just someone with a penchant for cars just a little more special than the rest, rest assured that this sexy new Citroen C3 Aircross will not only set you apart in the school parking lot or at the tennis club. But the car and the brand offer as good as you can get from any rival — Michele Lupini.

Images & Testing: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Citroen C3 Aircross Shine 1.2 Auto
Engine: 81kW 205Nm 1.2-litre turbo petrol I3
Drive: 6-speed automatic FWD
0-60 km/h:        4.69 sec
0-100 km/h:       10.74 sec
0-120 km/h:       15.15 sec
0-160 km/h:       30.98 sec
400m:             17.5 sec @ 128 km/h
80-120 km/h:      7.88 sec
120-160 km/h:     15.83 sec
VMax:             184 km/h
Fuel:             6.0 l/100km
CO2:              137 g/km
Warranty/Service: 5y 100K/5y 100K km
LIST PRICE:       R424K
RATED:            7
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