JEREMY Clarkson and his mates on The Grand Tour feature some of the world’s fastest and most exotic cars on their show. But in Season 3, which finished in April, they featured something different; a 2019 Citroen C3 Aircross.
Yes, it was full of tongue in cheek humour and copious amounts of sarcasm, but they also recognised that the unique looking C3 Aircross is a very good car. We say unique because first impressions will divide opinions immediately.
Its styling maybe somewhat polarising, but we think it’s funky. We like funky. It looks tough and rugged, and ready for anything you or your family can throw at it. And it has some signature Citroen design traits.
Available in five contrasting colours, and with flashes of chrome everywhere, we’re pretty sure you’ll stand out in the crowd with an Aircross. The funky look and feel isn’t confined to the outside either, with a more subdued interior still offering that Citroen edge.
That feeling of ruggedness continues inside too with tough, hard wearing plastics placed throughout the cabin, signalling its intent to be used and challenged by whatever is required. Although a few more cup holders couldn’t hurt.
It offers plenty of room inside the cabin, with full size adults able to sit in the back seat in comfort with plenty of leg and head room.
The interior is practical and versatile too, with a boot size of 410-litres, growing to 1289-litres with the rear seats folded down. That’s enough space with the seats down to load in items up to 2.4-metres long.
Climb behind the wheel and you are greeted with a clean and simple layout for the controls and dashboard that simply works. It’s attractive and provides all the information you need to know.
A nice touch is the heads-up display, which keeps your eyes on the road and shows your current speed next to the posted speed limit sign.
Push the centrally located starter button and the 1.2-litre PureTech 3-cylinder turbo engine whirs to life. Delivering 81kW of power and 205Nm of torque, this power plant has been named International Engine of the Year in its class, for the last four years.
It sounds good too, and is coupled with a six-speed automatic gearbox, which offers smooth gear changes and helps the Aircross achieve a claimed fuel consumption figure of 6.6-litres/100km.
With its 45-litre tank, you should see an average fuel distance of around 685km, which is quite impressive for a small SUV. The driving experience is fun and zippy too. The torque from that little but strong 1.2-litre engine makes darting in and out of traffic a breeze.
The steering is light and nimble, if a little uncommunicative. One thing we did notice was its unwillingness to self-centre when exiting a roundabout or a tight turn, something that takes some getting used to.
One of the C3 Aircross’ party tricks is it’s snow mode feature. Press this button and the torque is reduced to limit wheel-spin, but delivered in a way that will see it pull itself out of situations that a front wheel drive SUV shouldn’t be able to.
Ask Jeremy Clarkson, it’s one of the features he was most impressed with.
With a 5-Star Euro NCAP safety rating, Citroen has you and your family’s safety covered, offering an abundance of features you will hopefully never need to use. These include autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.
Those features are backed up by city park (self-parking technology), blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and a rear-view camera.
Infotainment is well covered and easily accessible through the 7-inch touch screen in the centre of the dash, which features Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, and SatNav.
Also available through the infotainment screen is the climate control system and various vehicle and safety systems which can be turned on and off. Other key features include smart key entry, wireless phone charging and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
It’s a comprehensive package for a small SUV, although we will fault the fact the climate controls are located within the touch screen functions. It’s an issue we touched on when reviewing the 2019 Peugeot 308 Allure.
Due to the extra time it takes your eyes away from the road to look at the screen, and to check what buttons your finger is pressing, we don’t like it. It’s a great idea in theory but needs some refinement.
That aside, the 2019 Citroen C3 Aircross has some serious competition in the form of the new look Honda HR-V and the Hyundai Kona Elite. At $36,910 drive away, the C3 Aircross sits between its two biggest rivals.
Spec for spec it stacks up well against its competitors, and is a worthy consideration for those looking for a small, versatile SUV. It comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 5-years roadside assist, and offers great value for money.
For those looking for something a little edgy and funky, look no further. This car is versatile and rugged. Not phrases you would typically associate with a small SUV, yet they fit perfectly when describing the 2019 Citroen C3 Aircross.
We really like this car, and if it’s good enough for Jeremy Clarkson, we reckon you will too.