Citroen C3 Aircross

Citroen C3 Aircross review

The Citroen C3 Aircross SUV may only be the size of a supermini but it has the space and versatility you expect of a much bigger car, to go with its appealingly quirky looks and feel.

Pros

  • Lots of space inside
  • Comfortable ride
  • Low running costs

Cons

  • No hybrid or electric versions
  • Sunroof reduces headroom
  • Infotainment system is a bit fiddly

Summary

“A surprisingly family-friendly small crossover.”

The Citroen C3 Aircross is a compact SUV (or crossover) that has a spacious and flexible interior that makes it surprisingly family-friendly. The exterior’s distinctive look continues inside, but it’s easy to use and has some clever storage areas. 

The C3 Aircross is comfortable and easy to drive. You have a choice of very efficient petrol and diesel engines but no hybrid or electric options. All models are equipped with smartphone connectivity, DAB radio, air con and cruise control.

What's the interior like?

“Lots of passenger and boot space that can be varied with the sliding back seat.”

The C3 Aircross has much more space than you might expect of a small car, especially in the back seats where even tall people have plenty of legroom. The back seat slides forwards and backwards, too, so you can prioritise legroom or boot space depending on your needs. 

The boot is a good size even when the seat is moved all the way back, with more space than many mid-size hatchbacks have, For (much) bigger loads, you can fold down the back seats. There are clever storage spaces throughout the interior, too, including a large dashboard shelf for smaller items.

Big windows let lots of light into the interior and give you and your passengers a great view out. Small children, in particular, will enjoy it. There’s even more light in models with a sunroof, but they have a few inches less headroom. The infotainment system fitted to most models controls the entertainment, navigation and air con features. The touchscreen-based system can be a bit fiddly because it’s not as responsive or easy to read as the one in some rivals, but it’s easy enough to find your way around.

What's it like to drive?

“A quiet and comfortable car on long journeys.”

The C3 Aircross driving experience is all about quiet comfort, which helps reduce the stress that driving can cause. It’s not so smooth on really rough roads but, generally speaking, it’s among the most comfortable small SUVs. Add in a reassuring feeling of stability on motorways and it’s a great car for long journeys. It’s good in town, too, where its small size and light steering make it a breeze on narrow side streets and when manoeuvring into tight parking spaces. 


‘Puretech’ petrol and ‘BlueHDi’ diesel engines are available. They all give good acceleration around town although the more powerful options with more than 100bhp are best if you regularly drive beyond the city or carry heavy loads. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Low running costs and extremely good value.”

The C3 Aircross is one of the most fuel-efficient small SUVs. According to official average figures, petrol models can give 50-56mpg and diesels can give 68-70mpg. If you prefer a hybrid or electric car, though, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Given the amount of space and equipment you get, the C3 Aircross is very good value. There are other small SUVs that give you less of both and yet cost more. Other running costs like road tax and insurance are low, too.

How reliable and safe is it?

“No reliability concerns and a full five-star safety rating.”

The C3 Aircross is built from tried and tested parts that are shared with many other Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall models, so there are no particular concerns about its reliability. Citroen ranked below average in the latest J.D. Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study, but above brands such as Toyota, Audi and BMW. Safety organisation Euro NCAP gave the car a full five-star safety rating.

Which one is best for you?

Best for emissions - C3 Aircross BlueHDi 100bhp

Best for family - C3 Aircross

Best for fun - C3 Aircross Puretech 130bhp

All C3 Aircross models have air con, Bluetooth, DAB radio and cruise control. High-spec models have a touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone connectivity, sat nav and rear parking sensors. Some models have driver safety systems like automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and a head-up display.

The most economical diesel engine available in the C3 Aircross also produces the lowest CO2 emissions, which puts it in one of the lowest road tax brackets. The C3 Aircross is more about comfort than fun, but the most powerful 130bhp petrol engine does give surprisingly swift acceleration. It’s a really good engine that’s very smooth and feels like it has more power than it actually does.

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