Citroen C3 Aircross Review
The Citroen C3 Aircross is a quirky family SUV with a stylish, spacious and practical interior. It’s a comfortable car, but large blind spots can make it tricky to manoeuvre in town.
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Comfy seats
- Eye-catching looks
- Personalisation options
What's not so good
- Slow basic petrol
- Dim-witted automatic gearbox
Citroen C3 Aircross: what would you like to read next?
If you’re looking for a family SUV that’s spacious and comfortable, but also interesting enough to stand out in any car park, then a Citroen C3 Aircross should be near the top of your shortlist.
Even if you’re not taken straight away by the way the Citroen C3 Aircross looks, a huge choice of paint colours for the body and roof – coupled with some exterior trim packs – means you can keep fiddling with the way it looks until you’re happy.
The same goes for the Citroen C3 Aircross interior, where you can pick from five colour packs to spice things up – not that you really need to though, thanks to a funky design that makes the inside of a Volkswagen T-Cross seem a tad boring.
The C3 Aircross’ raised roofline means it is also noticeably more spacious than a Nissan Juke, for example, and its big soft front seats are great – sitting in the Citroen is a bit like lounging in your favourite chair. It’s roomy in the back too, and top-of-the-range Flair models have a rear bench that slides forwards, backwards and reclines for even more comfort.
The Citroen C3 Aircross is a comfy antidote to alternatives that keep getting sportier and stiffer.
That sense of space extends to the C3 Aircross’ luggage capacity – the boot is bigger than what you’d find in a normal family car such as a VW Golf, and you can expand it further with the sliding rear seats. That gives you nearly as much space as in the much bigger – and far more expensive – Audi Q5, meaning the Citroen is a spacious enough for family holidays.
And the way it drives will keep the kids happy too, thanks to comfortable suspension that soaks up bumps well, only sending the odd jolt into the cabin. Light steering makes it easy to drive at low speeds, although the big blind spots around the edges of the windscreen are a pain around town.
On the upside, the C3 Aircross is a very safe car – lane departure warning and speed limit recognition are fitted to all models and you can add a dozen other safety assists such as auto emergency braking, a head-up display and even a self-parking assist.
The Aircross’ engine range gives you plenty of choices, but the best is the 110hp petrol model that’s both nippy and cheap to run. It’s so good the diesel engines are only worth considering if you cover lots of miles on the motorway that’ll allow you to benefit from their brilliant fuel economy.
Whichever model you choose, the Citroen C3 Aircross is well-priced, spacious and comfortable, but also rather a lot of fun. If you want to see what kind of savings you can expect, click through to our Citroen C3 Aircross deals page.
The Citroen C3 Aircross’ interior looks great and everything’s reasonably easy to use but some plastics feel quite cheap
You only need to take a look inside the Citroen C3 Aircross to know it’s going to be great for passengers compared to other cars of this size.
The Citroen C3 Aircross is practical and fun – proof you can have your cake and eat it
Up front, you get a pair of padded seats that wouldn’t look out of place in a furniture shop window. They’re extremely comfortable with runners that let you roll the seat way back for masses of legroom. Factor in a steering wheel that adjusts for height, and a driver’s seat that can also be raised, and more or less anyone should be able to get comfortably sat behind the wheel of the Citroen C3 Aircross.
Specifying the panoramic sunroof (available on Feel and Flair) models does eat into headroom in the front and the rear but you’ll have to be an exceptionally tall adult to notice.
Talking of options, the Family Pack is another canny purchase. It adds safety features (we’ll get to them later), an armrest for the driver and back seats that slide forwards and backwards as well as reclining a few degrees. The clever seats are standard in Flair models, but even without them the Citroen has enough head and knee room for tall passengers even if someone of a similar size is sitting up front.
Only with three in back does the Citroen C3 Aircross start to feel pretty tight. Its relatively narrow body means shoulder and hip room’s at a premium, the middle seats feels quite high and the bolstering of the front seats gives whoever’s in the middle nowhere to put their knees. That said, there’s only a small hump in the floor and the footwells are big enough for three people’s feet.
Fitting a child seat shouldn’t be a problem, though. The rear doors don’t quite open 90 degrees but they leave a big enough gap for the base of the seat to hook onto the clearly marked Isofix points and the seat itself slots easily in on top.
Cubby spaces are reasonably generous although it’s worth noting that the Aircross’ glovebox isn’t very roomy because the fusebox is in there. It’s also worth noting that going for wireless charging sees your two front cupholders replaced with a tray for your smartphone.
That’s the only negative worth mentioning though. All four doors have big pockets that can hold a large bottle of water and the dashboard has a thin tray that runs along the passenger side, which is brilliant for change, pens and the like. Rear passengers get a cupholder on the back of the centre console, albeit one that doesn’t grip your drinks firm enough to stop them spilling if the car is being driven quickly.
That can be solved by choosing a Flair model that comes with a rear centre armrest complete with two more rubberised cupholders that should stop spills.
The Citroen C3 Aircross has 520-litre boot that is much bigger than the boot you’ll find in a family car such as the Volkswagen Golf (380 litres) or a larger SUV such as the Nissan Qashqai (420 litres).
You’ll appreciate that a handy adjustable boot floor comes as standard. It allows you to drop the floor to squeeze in extra luggage or raise it so that you can slide bulky, heavy items into place. You also get hooks to stop your shopping falling over and a couple of tethering points to safely secure your luggage, but not the handy 12V power socket available in some alternatives.
Unsurprisingly, the Citroen C3 Aircross has no problem swallowing a baby buggy or a couple of suitcases. Drop the rear seats down – they split 60:40 so you can carry a combination of people and long luggage – and the adjustable boot floor means there’s no step to lift heavy luggage over and the resulting 1,289-litre load bay is big enough to swallow a mountain bike with one of its wheels removed.
The Citroen C3 Aircross is a comfy family car that absorbs bumps well and has a quiet cabin. That said, the automatic gearbox is a little sluggish and the steering’s disconcertingly light at times
Driving the Citroen C3 Aircross is a bit like getting behind the wheel of a very comfortable motorised sofa
You can get the Citroen C3 Aircross with a range of petrol and diesel engines and with either a manual or automatic gearbox.
You might be tempted to pick the cheapest 82hp petrol if you spend lots of time pottering around town but it’s very slow and struggles to keep up with fast-moving traffic. The 110hp version is a much better bet – it’s easily powerful enough to trundle along with four passengers on board and will return around 45mpg compared to Citroen’s claimed 56.5.
The more powerful 130hp petrol model will make lighter work of long journeys, but it’s more expensive to buy and uses more fuel. As a result, you’ll want to consider one of the 1.6-litre diesels if you do lots of motorway miles.
Both the 100hp and 110hp diesels will return around 60mpg in normal driving conditions and they don’t grumble particularly loudly when you accelerate. Unfortunately, they cost more to buy than a comparable petrol model.
If you want an automatic gearbox you’ll have to go for the 110hp petrol model. It shifts gear reasonably smoothly, but it blunts acceleration and increases the price. It’s only worth considering if you drive a lot in town in stop-start traffic.
The Citroen C3 Aircross’ light steering and gearbox make it an easy car to drive around at town speeds, although it’s a shame the pillars around the front and rear windscreens cause blind spots.
The latter is more of an issue when it comes to judging reverse parking, although rear parking sensors are a £250 option on mid-range Feel models, and standard on top-of-the-range Flair cars.
At motorway speeds the Citroen C3 Aircross is a comfortable cruiser. There’s little wind or road noise for a car like this, and petrol models, in particular, are very smooth over bumpy roads. Factor in the Aircross’ extremely well-padded seats and spacious interior that lets you stretch out, and there aren’t many cars like this that will be more comfortable on a long journey.
The downside is that Citroen C3 Aircross shields you so well from what’s going on around you that you never feel engaged enough to call the experience fun. That’s also down to light steering that doesn’t inspire confidence in bends, which is a bit of shame when the body suffers from remarkably little lean in corners.
Safety is likely to be higher on your list of priorities than outright fun, and although the Aircross hasn’t been crash-tested, the standard Citroen C3 it’s based upon scored an impressive four stars in Euro NCAP’s 2017 test.
The Family Pack adds automatic emergency braking, a system that’ll warn if you’re nodding off at the wheel and also headlights that dip automatically.
The Citroen C3 Aircross isn’t available with four-wheel drive, but Citroen gets around this by offering Grip Control on all but entry-level models. It regulates the engine’s power and will happily pull the Aircross through sand, for example. It includes hill descent assist, which keeps the car under control when you’re tackling steep inclines – but don’t expect it to take you very far off-road.