I personally like a decent compact SUV that can do all of the things a family man like me wants. Such as the family school run, those weekly trips to the shops, or the odd weekend away. I also like a vehicle that’s able to go where others would normally fail. Of course the beefy ride height and flared arches can be a little off-putting for some - but believe me, this really is a little corker.
Power and Efficiency:
The C3 I had on test was powered by a 3 cylinder 1199cc - 5-speed turbocharged petrol engine that has 110HP and a very respectable top speed of 115mph, plus a 0-62 time of 11.3 seconds - which in my book is not bad for a 3 cylinder. Fuel consumption is also very good with a combined figure of 56.5 mpg.
On the road:
It’s a little soft, but into the corners, it feels very well balanced. A big plus for the C3 is that it has a decent amount of torque – in fact, 205Nm of it - which allows it to pull very well from pretty much any gear – which surprisingly, made the C3 a joy to drive no matter what the road conditions were doing. The brakes also felt good and firm. As for the suspension, it actually absorbs England’s bumpy roads really well - although as I said earlier, the ride was a little soft.
Grip Control: (£400 option)
This is where it starts to get interesting. My test car was fitted with ‘Grip Control Technology’ something I knew little about, until now. Basically what it does is offer an enhanced traction ability on all types of terrain - be that sand, snow, or slippery road conditions. So how does it work? Well, I’m glad you asked that. The system works with the vehicle’s ESP system to maintain the best possible traction from both front wheels. It does this with the help of five selectable operating modes which can be chosen by the driver from a dedicated control button mounted on the centre console.
The five modes include; Standard mode, Snow mode, All-terrain mode, Sand mode and an ESP Off setting, which disconnects ESP & Grip Control up to 31 mph, giving full control to the driver. If you go above this speed – ESP Standard mode is selected automatically.
If that’s not enough, ‘Grip Control’ comes with ‘All season tyres’ as standard – which as we know are suitable for some off-road use. For me, grip Control gives the C3 Aircross the ability to perform well in the snow, mud and sand, as well as providing excellent towing and carrying capabilities for most outdoor activities - thus, making it a genuine vehicle for all seasons.
Design & Technology:
On the inside, the interior is not bad – but I don’t like how Citroen have mixed up the interior colours. Although, on a positive note – it does have easy to read dials and all the controls are in the right place and well set out. There is, however, a small problem. Some of the interior plastics feel a little ‘scratchy’ and I would have liked a smoother feel to them. I know you have to spend less to keep the price down for the consumer – but sometimes it’s worth going that little bit further if it means you get something that feels a little bit more upmarket.
Standard equipment is good such as, ABS/EBD/EBA, hill start assist, driver & front passenger lateral & curtain airbags, iPod/MP3 connection, automatic air conditioning, six speakers, steering wheel-mounted audio control and split/folding rear bench seat.
You also get a brilliant Media Sound System which Includes satellite navigation, a seven-inch colour touch-screen display, DAB radio tuner and Bluetooth audio with USB connectivity.
To sum up:
I’m going to give the C3 Aircross four stars in this test, not only because I like its looks, but also because I believe it’s worth taking a look at if you are in the market for a compact SUV.
Price: £18,000 (from) OTR MRRP (Cost of test car inc extras: £20,400) By Anthony Yates