New Citroën C3 Aircross: maturity

Introduced almost four years ago, the C3 Aircross has just been upgraded for the second half of its career. In a very crowded segment, the C3 Aircross majors on comfort and modularity to seduce.

After nearly four years, the C3 Aircross gets a revised front end to give it a more “dynamic and serious” look.

A revised range

Unlike the 2008, this C3 Aircross does not use the CMP platform and is therefore a good ten centimetres shorter. This explains why this evolution is more aesthetic than technical, all the engines and the chassis remaining unchanged. As much as the previous model was chubby at the front, this version has much more angular lines, the headlights and front bumper have been revised. Horizontal LED headlights are standard across the range to give it a stronger family resemblance with the C5 Aircross. This, according to Citroën, is supposed to “energise the design” by making it more “serious”.

An all-new LED light signature brings the C3 Aircross closer to its big brother, the C5 Aircross.

A new interior

It is inside that the C3 has evolved the most : a 9″ multimedia screen now occupies the central part of the dashboard. Larger than before, it is therefore easier to read and relatively intuitive to use. Nevertheless, adjusting the climate control through it takes time and practice. For cost reasons, Citroën didn’t select a digital instrument cluster. The car maker rather chose to keep the analogue tachometer and rev counter, much to our liking! No thick “quality” foamed plastic on the front part of the dashboard but a rather original fabric covering… very much in the Cirtoën spirit, simple and offbeat, we like it! The new C3 Aircross is fitted as standard with “advanced comfort” seats, using thicker foam padding.

Different colour combinations are available and even used to highlight the rear window. An original and very Citroën touch!

They look like you’re going to sink into them like a sofa, but fortunately they’re not as soft as they look… and they’re quite comfortable. However, lateral support could be better as it doesn’t encourage a more ‘sporty’ driving style, even on twisty roads. The centre armrest, attached to the driver’s seat, is rather small and soft. We suspect it won’t withstand “active” children for very long… The centre console now offers more space, as well as two places for cups or bottles between the front seats. The passenger seat backrest folds horizontally, a plus for interior modularity when it comes to loading that great parasol for your back garden!

With a lowish threshold and decent capacity, the boot of the C3 Aircross is easy to use. The sliding bench seat allows you to increase the volume if necessary.

On the road

Comfort first! In this respect, it’s a true Citroën and a real success. We were able to drive the new C3 Aircross Shine 130hp petrol version with automatic gearbox for a few dozen kilometres. This is the EAT6 gearbox, the only one available with this engine. The new seats further enhance the impression of comfort on the road. Bad road surfaces are well filtered and potholes are easily absorbed.

In the centre of the dashboard is a new large screen. In addition to satnav and audio features, it also features climate control, which is not always ideal for everyday use.

The downside is that the car rolls quite a bit even in slight bends and lacks steering feel. Citroën has resisted the use of large wheels, preferring to stay with ‘practical’ sizes rather than aiming for a nice sporty look, at the expense of everyday use. This compromise is in keeping with the car’s character. Soundproofing is good even if the engine is quite noisy in the passenger compartment, without being too intrusive anyway. We were not able to check the fuel consumption during our test drive, which should be done during a longer one.

The “advanced comfort” seats, with their specific foam blocks, are a thoughtful addition. Comfortable and pleasant, they could nevertheless offer better lateral support.
In conclusion

The C3 Aircross is well equipped, with numerous driving aids and other safety systems. It is capable of driving in great comfort and, even if it does not privilege the pleasure of driving, this is not what the majority of customers are looking for... no doubt that its tricks, its slightly playful side, its interior modularity and its keen prices will seduce many buyers looking for an easy car for their everyday life. (Text: Dimitri URBAIN, Photos: Jonathan GODIN for Citroën Belux)

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