Citroen C3 Aircross

This Citroen proved more special than expected

To be honest, I was a little taken aback when first confronted by our Citroen C3 Aircross tester. Let’s just say that I'm not a fan of that gaudy orange optional sticker pack — it never made for the best first impression on a car that actually proved fantastic in almost every other respect. 

A car that stars on space as much as it does on sexy to deliver a most impressive chic value for money bargain, never mind a price to really and truly blow those socks off, this car certainly boasts an assertive personality, a must-have in the busiest little motoring niche on the road. A people-minded compact SUV version of the C3 hatchback, the Aircross stars on versatility with more space in an easily changeable cabin on a raised ground clearance with a command driving position.

Powered by PSA's 1.2-litre PureTech turbo petrol turning the front axle via a 6-speed autobox, C3 Aircross gets a lusty 81kW. That's decent power and the car actually sounds good when you step on it. Boasting a typically Citroen magic carpet feel, it also has good ride quality and is comfortable, while still being perky and frisky on the road with good handling — in fact C3 Aircross proved unexpectedly nimble and fun to drive.

The current middle of the range Citroen also boasts an impressive interior design that stands out from competition and there’s no compromise on comfort or function in a light-bathed cabin with class-leading space, broad, comfortable seats and exceptional boot volume. There’s a most practical 60-40 split bench seat in the back too that not only folds flat, but also independently shifts fore and aft. 

Are there downsides? Perhaps — visibility from the drivers seat is average and its cloth seats have a scratchy feel, while this Citroen could do with a bit more tech, such as the reverse cameras some of its rivals get. The infotainment system looks cool although it may not be not quite up to par against some of its German rivals, but I am splitting hairs to be honest. 

It is also pertinent to mention that Citroen is now once again run by Citroen in South Africa following a few years under a retailer and that is very good news. To that end the brand is fully committed to improve every aspect of Citroen ownership through a completely revamped dealer body set on delivering best possible customer service, through everything from a spares warehouse basket including 97% of all parts required at any time to a new full 5–Year 100 000km warranty and service plan with full roadside assistance.

So whether you're a Citroen fan or just someone with a penchant for cars just a little more special than the rest, rest assured that this sexy new Citroen C3 Aircross will not only set you apart in the school parking lot or at the tennis club, but the car and the brand offer as good as you can get from any rival — just don’t judge this book by its cover! - Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2T Feel
Engine: 81kW 205Nm 1.2-litre turbo petrol I3    
Drive: 6-speed automatic FWD
0-60km/h:                 4.44 sec
0-100km/h:              10.77 sec                      
0-160km/h:              15.34 sec       
400m:                       17.3 sec @ 127km/h            
80-120km/h:            8.16 sec
120-160km/h:         15.58 sec          
VMax:                      184km/h                               
Fuel:                         6.5 l/100km                          
CO2:                        146 g/km
Warranty/Service: 5y 100K/5y 100Kkm 
LIST PRICE:             R345K           
RATED:                    8