With two custodians and more than 20,000 miles covered in just nine months, itís time to wave goodbye to CitroÎnís baby SUV. During that time, the C3 Aircross got a hike in equipment and a replacement engine, rendering our car obsolete. So while ours featured a 118bhp 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120 engine, new Aircrossí feature a smaller 1.5-litre unit, with a take-it-or-leave-it power output of 101bhp. And that car has just a five-speed gearbox, whereas our car has six ratios.
When I took delivery of the C3 Aircross, I had it in my mind that I was the wrong demographic for the car. At just 32, I thought it better suited to my aunt Helen, who is retired, and drove the Aircrossí predecessor for a while, a vibrant green C3 Picasso. She loved that car, and in her own words, described it as ìeasy and pleasant to drive, spacious for the size, and really economicalî. So one of my first journeys in the CitroÎn was to take it to see her. And despite the Cosmic Silver being relatively dull compared to her old car, aunt Helen gave it a general thumbs up, even though it lost points for the abolishment of the centrally positioned digital speedometer, that has been replaced by a more conventional affair. From my point of view, Iíd rather have analogue dials.
Readers will remember that I previously ran a Renault Scenic, and I had concerns that the CitroÎn C3 Aircross wouldnít measure up in terms of space. A check of the vital statistics and with the seats in place, thereís just 52 litres of capacity between them. The Scenic is, of course, the larger of the two at 572 litres, with the C3 Aircross at 520. But considering the two vehicles sit in two different classes, the CitroÎn puts on a good show. And thatís why when I came to packing in all of my photography gear, it all went in without any problems. The way the C3 Aircross drives surprised me, too, with the suspension feeling like it has been beefed up compared to the softer C3 hatchback, making it more pleasurable and engaging to drive.
During my time with the car, I have found just two negative points. The first concerns the interior, which disappoints because itís a sea of cold, hard, grey, scratchy plastics, which given the £20k price tag and top specification, is quite poor. Yes thereís a smattering of white paint on the air vents and some piano black surfacing on the console, but thatís all rather monochrome and Iíd like to see some colour to brighten up the ambience. Luckily, CitroÎn has thought of that, but rather than being standard equipment, youíll need to fork out between £350 and £750 for an uplift. The second negative is seat comfort, which appear to be fine when you first sit down, but rather than sink into them and becoming comfortable, you feel like youíre perched on top. Thereís very little lumbar support, and certainly no manual adjustment. So consequently, my back is suffering. Oddly Iíve spent time in the C4 Cactus, and the seats are brilliant.
So itís crunch time ñ recommend or not? Love or hate the looks, thereís no disputing that the C3 Aircross stands out in the street. Our car has performed without fault, taking Richard and I over more than 20,000 miles in just nine months, which is double the mileage that an average owner would travel. It hasnít had any ëfunnyí moments, apart from a brief spell when it showed kilometres instead of miles on the display. But then it didnít make me smile, either, and induce me to explore its limits in the cornering or handling department. Roominess is one of its biggest assets.But the big question is ñ would I spend my own money on a C3 Aircross ñ and the answer is no, Iíd save up a bit more and go for the much more interesting C4 Cactus. Maybe itís an age thing, and probably the comfort issue has clouded my judgement somewhat. If my Aunt Helen was in the room, she would no doubt be emphatically disagreeing with me, which probably says something about the audience that is likely to buy the C3 Aircross.
Date Arrived 24th January 2018
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 60.1/74.3/68.9mpg
Economy (on test) | 44.2mpg
Mileage 20, 411
The 60/40 sliding rear seats are excellent.
We’re all built differently, but my back couldn’t get on with the seats, with not enough adjustment to get comfortable.