► New Citroen C3 Aircross
► Fresh new French SUV
► On sale November 2017
UK prices have been announced for the Citroen C3 Aircross, the French brand’s new baby SUV. On sale from 1 November 2017, the high-riding sibling to the C3 hatch will start from £13,995.
Mirroring the C3 hatch, the Aircross range is divided into three trim levels: Touch, Feel and Flair. The basic Touch version, available only with the 81bhp three-cylinder petrol engine, is the one that dips under the £14k threshold - the next-level-up Flair trim with the same engine costs £15,100. Get an all-singing, all-dancing Flair version with the most powerful 119bhp diesel engine and you're looking at more than £19,700.
For comparison, Renault's Clio-based Captur crossover currently starts from around £15,600 and stretches past £23k for top trim versions, while the aging but strong-selling Nissan Juke starts from around £14,800 up to circa £21k.
What exactly is the Citroen C3 Aircross?
If your first thought was ‘hmm, that looks a bit familiar’, you’d be right, as the baby SUV is heavily based on the C-Aircross Concept shown at Geneva 2017.
The production version of the baby SUV was revealed in Paris in June 2017 as the replacement for the archaic C3 Picasso, and takes on a list of crossover rivals so long you’ll have to write it on Nelson’s Column to get them all noted down. The headlines include C3 hatch-level customisation, a soft, comfort-oriented driving experience and an on-sale date of November 2017.
Since it’s a PSA product, the Aircross shares its underpinnings with the latest Peugeot 2008 and the Vauxhall Crossland X, as the three manufacturing groups get closer.
Like its new Crossland X sibling, the C3 Aircross is meant to be an extremely practical small crossover, built with an MPV-like interior in mind. Etienne Menant, project manager for the Aircross, called the new creation 'the best of an SUV look but this car doesn’t lose any of the good points of an MPV. It’s an SUV by Citroen with MPV comfort inside.'
Check out everything you need to know about the bigger C5 Aircross here
Citroen C3 Aircross engines
Choose from the following engines in Citroen's smallest SUV:
- 1.2-litre petrol 81bhp, manual only
- 1.2-litre turbo petrol 109bhp, manual or EAT6 auto
- 1.2-litre turbo petrol 128bhp, manual or EAT6 auto
- 1.6-litre diesel 99bhp, manual only
- 1.6-litre diesel 119bhp, manual only
They’ve hardly changed the C3 Aircross's looks, have they?
Nope, but the C-Aircross concept was a pretty funky thing that was near production-ready anyway. The front end is almost unmistakably like the C3 hatch, apart from a metallic skid plate on the front bumper for that classic SUV look. The jacked-up stance is complemented by roof rails, bulbous wheelarches and another chunky bumper at the rear.
The suicide rear doors, camera door mirrors and layered rear lights may have been lost in translation for the production model, but the Venetian blind-style rear quarter window is a neat touch that did make it past the concept stage. Although we do wonder what the point is of obscuring a driver's view out the back quite so blatantly...
Customisation is top of the agenda, much like the regular C3. Citroen claims that, thanks to a choice of eight body colours, four roof colours and four colour packs, there are 90 different colour combos for the exterior. Alloy wheels in both 16- and 17-inch sizes are available.
Weirdly, though, the Airbumps that run along the side of the C3 hatch and C4 Cactus have been omitted from the C3 Aircross. Manant said that it was all about managing appeal: 'We wanted to listen both to customers that can be attracted to an SUV and to customers from the C3 Picasso. and we didn’t want to overplay the SUV part for those Picasso customers.' Xavier Peugeot, Citroen's Product Director, added that the brand needed to 'avoid being prisoners' to certain design cues.
Has the interior been toned down too?
'Fraid so – there’s no rectangular steering wheel and the cabin does without the 12-inch HD touchscreen, but it’s still suitably Citroen-like. In fact, the interior borrows from the design of the normal C3 hatch with that of the larger and much plusher C5 Aircross revealed in Shanghai.
Citroen says its Advanced Comfort programme means thickly-padded seats, generous soundproofing and soft suspension for a plusher driving experience. However, Citroen's experimental 'Progressive Hydraulic Cushion' suspension doesn't feature here and the side windows are single pane glass panels rather than double glazed.
A whole host of kit is available, including Grip Control (like its 2008 and Crossland X stablemates) a panoramic sunroof and loads of safety tech. The seven-inch touchscreen has Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink as standard, along with 3D navigation with TomTom connected services and an in-built emergency call system.
Wireless phone charging will also top off the equipment options.
Can I carry stuff in the new Aircross?
Citroen says that boot space is class-leading, as between 410 and 520 litres of room are available when the movable rear seats (available only on top Flair models) are slid as far back or forward as they can go. Juggle space front and aft according to your transportation needs.
That’s roughly the same luggage capacity as its Crossland X sibling, but at least 203 litres more than a Nissan Juke.
We’ll have to wait for pricing details, but Citroen’s new SUV will go on sale on 1 November 2017. We sense the baby SUV market is about to get a whole lot busier, with plenty of new entrants from the VW Group as well as fresh competition from Korea and France.
Are you a fan of the new Citroen C3 Aircross? Be sure to sound off in the comments below.
Check out all of our Citroen reviews here