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
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.
Driving the Citroen C3 Aircross is a bit like getting behind the wheel of a very comfortable motorised sofa
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’ll cost you around £1,000 more 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 a 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 have comfortable suspension that is only occasionally caught out by jolting surface changes. 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 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 tough 2017 test.
The Family Pack (£350 on Flair; £490 on Feel models) adds automatic emergency braking (that’ll brake the car if detects an imminent collision up to motorway speeds), 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 £400 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.