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Citroen C3 Aircross long term test review

The bag hooks in the boot are a decidedly odd shape and slightly too low

Long-term test reviews

Final Report - 26th June 2019

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Final Report - 26th June 2019 - Main Image - We say farewell to the C3 Aircross

Our time with the Citroen C3 Aircross is at an end, and it’s fair to say the overall impression of the car is a positive one, albeit one tainted by annoying details.

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Final Report - 26th June 2019 - Image 2 - CockpitThe fundamentals are absolutely spot on. The C3 Aircross is easy to get into and out of, there’s a good amount of cabin space once you’re in there, and the boot is a reasonable size. The engine is also pretty sweet, revving smoothly and offering a decent amount of performance. The gearshift was easy enough to operate, and touches such as the underfloor area in the boot were welcome, as was the overall sense of refinement.

However, there were foibles. The central touchscreen operates too many functions, so something as simple as changing the cabin temperature is actually an overly complex process. Also, the fact that the lane-departure warning engages every time the car starts, no matter that you’re nowhere near a motorway, is deeply infuriating, although a common complaint.

Average economy of 39.9mpg wasn’t quite as high as we’d hoped, and there wasn’t quite enough stowage space around the cabin for what is a machine aimed at family buyers.

Still, the back seats were adjustable, and folded down to leave a completely flat area when needed, while the overall look of the car was superb, especially in our bright orange hue.

As we said, lots of positives, just let down by a couple of little details.

Euan Doig

Tester's notes

1. On sunny days, the auto lights keep flicking themselves on and off every few seconds. If I’d had the car longer, a dealer trip would have been undertaken.

2. Hot days caused a great deal of loud whining and wheezing from under the bonnet, as though the alternator and air-con systems were struggling to cope with the demand.

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 39.9mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

Update - 29th May 2019

I’ve talked in the past about how I believe the C3 Aircross is a bit of a looker.

The front looks like nothing else in the class, and the interior offers a great blend of style and useability (touchscreen excepted). It appears that I’m not alone.

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Fourth Report - 29th May 2019 - Main Image - neighbours admire the striking looksThree neighbours have been drawn to my orange Citroen; two are considering one as their next company car, and one is pondering a private purchase.

It’s being considered to replace a Ford Fiesta, Mini Clubman and Volvo V50, which merely demonstrates the breadth of its appeal. The facts that it’s comfortable, roomy and quiet just makes my neighbourly trio want to test drive one even more.

Euan Doig 

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 39.6mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

Fifth Report - 15th May 2019

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Fifth Report - 15th May 2019 - Main image - Suspension on the C3 Aircross is reminiscent of the floating air cushion ride on the old 2CV

A few decades ago, the old Citroen 2CV was famed for its ability to carry a basket of eggs across a ploughed field with nary a single shell broken. Well, I reckon the C3 Aircross could almost be its modern equivalent.

No matter where I am, be it on the scarred surfaces of outer London where my girlfriend lives, or on the decidedly rough lanes of Berkshire where I’m based, the C3 Aircross deals with it all.

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Fifth Report - 15th May 2019 - Image 2 - The bag hooks in the boot are a decidedly odd shape and slightly too low, which makes it difficult to hook shopping bags on to them, and also means those same bags can quickly become unhooked of their own accord.

The bag hooks in the boot are a decidedly odd shape and slightly too low

It’s the longer-travel suspension that makes it a great all-rounder – in urban areas it deals with bumps as well as an executive car, yet the C3 Aircross has none of their bulk, and on roads that would make a hot hatch nervous, the C3 glides along.

Better still, where the old 2CV flopped around like a yacht on a stormy day in corners, the C3 Aircross stays on an even keel, so there’s no motion sickness from passengers.

On the downside, the ventilation system still frustrates. I use the air recirculation function whenever I suddenly see smoke ahead, but the number of screen presses needed to get out of Apple CarPlay, switch it on, then return to CarPlay is nonsense.

Euan Doig

Tester's notes

  1. I was slightly concerned that the light grey fabric of the C3 Aircross’s interior would start to show signs of use, but it’s still as bright and stain-resistant as the day the car arrived.

  2. The bag hooks in the boot are a decidedly odd shape and slightly too low, which makes it difficult to hook shopping bags on to them, and also means those same bags can quickly become unhooked of their own accord.

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 39.6mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

Update - 17th April 2019

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Fourth Report - 17th April 2019 - Main image - Automatic full-beam headlights don't seem to dip quick enough to stop dazzling on-coming traffic

Having driven the C3 Aircross through the country lanes where I live in the depths of winter, I have to say I’m unconvinced by the headlights on dipped beam.

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Fourth Report - 17th April 2019 - Image 2 - Headlights don't seem bright enough around unlit country lanesTo me, they’re simply not bright enough, and the beam cuts off too near the car. Everything’s peachy when full beam’s engaged, but when the automated system dips the lights as a car approaches, it can feel like you’re driving on sidelights. And no, they don’t need to be cleaned.

Also, the automatic lights don’t always dip quickly enough, either when I catch up with a slower vehicle or when a car approaches me, which is annoying for both drivers and invariably results in me getting a flash.

Euan Doig 

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 39.6mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

Fourth Report - 3rd April 2019

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Fourth Report - 3rd April 2019 - Main Image - Design language is out of the ordinary, in a good way

I have to say I absolutely love Citroen’s latest design language. The C3 Aircross looks so out of the ordinary, both inside and out, that it truly stands out in a class of cars that can be quite ubiquitous and dull. Yes, I’m looking at you, Volkswagen Group.

However, while the dashboard may look fabulous, it isn’t what you’d call the last word in practicality. There’s a small central cubby that has two cupholders, although these can be removed to leave a more practical space. However, the two remaining shelves are so small as to be almost unusable.

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Fourth Report - 3rd April 2019 - Image 2 - Plenty of room in the back for taller passengersThat said, the rest of the inside is very usable indeed, because there’s loads of space all around. My girlfriend’s sons are 17 and 14, and 5ft 10 and 6ft 2 respectively, but the four of us never have any problem fitting in to the C3 Aircross. It must be pretty comfortable because we never get the dreaded ‘Are we there yet?’ cries from the back seat. Best of all, there’s room for all of our stuff in the boot, too.

If this combination of flair and practicality isn’t the epitome of good-quality design, I don’t know what is.

Euan Doig

Tester's notes

  1. This is a minor niggle, but the windscreen washer bottle is pretty small. I live in the country and need to clean the screen regularly in winter, which means I’m having to refill the washer fluid irritatingly often.

  2. I’m a definite fan of the slick clutch and gearbox action, because they make smooth gearchanges extremely easy indeed.

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 39.6mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

Update - 6th March 2019

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Third Report - 6th March 2019 - Main image

As I’ve said before, technology is great when it helps your life unobtrusively. It’s less so when it doesn’t.

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Third Report - 6th March 2019 - Lane Departure Warning - Second imageThe lane-departure warning in the Citroen is a case in point. This is a system designed to stop you wandering out of your lane on the motorway. Fabulous. However, I don’t live anywhere near a motorway, and instead cover quite a few miles on A- and B-roads before even getting to a dual carriageway.

However, the system beeps irritatingly any time I get near a white line on such roads, so I switch it off. It’s then off when I get to a motorway. Wouldn’t GPS integration be a great solution?

Euan Doig 

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 39.4mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

Third Report - 20th February 2019

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Third Report - 20th February 2019 - Main image

Life with any car is about ups and downs, and so it is with the C3 Aircross, because as the mileage goes up, the average economy figure is coming down. Odd.

Long Term Test - Citroen C3 Aircross - Third Report - 20th February 2019 - Image 2I started off getting around 42mpg, but over the course of the past couple of months, that figure has dropped to an average of 39.4mpg, despite the fact that over the festive period I undertook a lengthy trip up north to see family and friends in Scotland.

Other ups include a decent-sized boot area, with its removable floor. You can either use the area below the floor as a place to keep items hidden, or you can remove the false floor entirely and make use of the extra space; we did the former and it gave us great peace of mind.

However, the more I live with the Aircross, the less I like the touchscreen. The fact that you have to come out of the audio or navigation functions to change the cabin temperature is plain daft. Likewise when you want to recirculate the air. It takes a couple of screen presses to do so, and then another couple to get back to where you were, especially if you’re using Apple CarPlay, as I do. Were separate controls really ever that bad?

Euan Doig

Tester's notes

  1. The tall, bluff front end is actually quite tricky to judge – frequently I think I’m parking close behind the car in front only to get out and see there’s a huge gap ahead. That’s a fault of me, not the car, though.
  2. I still love the bright orange colour scheme and white highlights. It’s impossible to miss the car, even in a busy car park.

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 39.4mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

Update - 2nd January 2019

Citroen C3 Aircross - Long Term Test - Update - 22nd January - Main Pic

The C3 Aircross has been in the wars.

As I was driving along a B-road near where I live, a van came towards me and braked to turn into an entrance, at which point an unsecured ladder bracket shot off Citroen C3 Aircross - Long Term Test - Update - 22nd January - Image 2his roof, hit the road ahead of me, and went straight through the front bumper.

We exchanged details, so I need to get an estimate, which I suspect will not be cheap. The bumper has a hole in it and has been dislodged at one point, the grille is broken, and the bonnet is dented. Ouch.

Euan Doig

 

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 38.5mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

Second Report - 12th December 2018

Citroen C3 Aircross - Long Term Test - Second Report - 12th December 2018 - Main Pic

Getting to know a new car always involves discoveries, hopefully mostly good, but some not so rosy.

So it is with the C3 Aircross. Every time I drive it I am impressed with the engine; it may be only a 1.2-litre turbo, and has just the three cylinders, but it has more than enough punch to make every journey easy. Pulling out of junctions? Plenty of zip. Citroen C3 Aircross - Long Term Test - Second Report - 12th December 2018 - Second Image - Packed BootOvertaking at higher speeds? Not an issue (as long as you plan ahead). It even sounds good, when you can hear it, which is only under acceleration. Otherwise, the motor is virtually silent. Tremendous.

Cabin space is also good. There’s plenty of space for me, my girlfriend and her two teenage sons, and the boot is more than big enough to cope with the product of an intensive weekend trip to the tip (left).

However, despite doing a mixture of town motoring, plus A- and B-road trips and plenty of motorway work, I’m averaging only 38.5mpg, which is a little less than I was hoping for. On top of that, the relatively small 45-litre tank means I’m struggling to do more than 360 miles between refills. Still, at least they’re quiet and comfortable miles.

Euan Doig  

Tester's notes

  1. The cupholder at the rear of the centre console is too shallow. On more than one occasion a cup or bottle has tipped over when I’ve been accelerating or braking. Thankfully, no liquid has yet been spilled.
  2. The seats may look fairly flat and uninviting, but they are actually pretty comfortable on longer journeys. The driver’s armrest helps, too.

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 38.5mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

Update - 14th November 2018

Citroen C3 Aircross - Long Term Test - Update 14th November 2018 - Main Pic

The running-in period has been completed, and I can start to enjoy the C3 Aircross.

Citroen C3 Aircross - Long Term Test - Update 14th November 2018 - 2nd Image - BinacleThe three-cylinder engine may only be a 1.2-litre turbocharged unit but it certainly has plenty of punch.It develops 110hp and 151lb ft of torque, which endow the car with a decent turn of pace – you never feel like you’re struggling to keep up with traffic. The engine is also incredibly quiet; aside from a faint thrum under acceleration, the motor is nigh-on silent, which is making for an excellent motorway cruiser.

Economy is currently around the 42mpg mark, which is reasonable, although the small 45-litre tank means I’m filling up every 300 miles or so.

 

Euan Doig

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 42mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

First Report - 31st October 2018

Citroen C3 Aircross - 2018 Long Term Test

The C3 Aircross is here, resplendent in bright orange paintwork with white highlights. Given that the car is a funky-looking take on the small-SUV genre, I reckon the bright hue suits it perfectly.

Under the bonnet lies Citroen’s three-cylinder 1.2-litre engine, which develops 110hp and 151lb ft of torque, all the while emitting just 115g/km and sipping unleaded at the rate of 56.5mpg.

Citroen C3 Aircross - Long Term Test - Preview - 31st October 2018 - Image 2Inside, we’ve gone for Metropolitan Grey Ambience fabric on the dashboard and seats, which is enlivened by the odd bright orange highlight on the steering wheel and vents.

Initial impressions are generally positive. The C3 Aircross is light and easy to drive, and the engine is near silent, although we’re still running it in so haven’t yet extended it fully. Road and wind noise are also minimal.

Despite the big alloy wheels, the ride is comfortable, especially on the motorway.

There’s a decent amount of standard kit, too, including touchscreen infotainment system that comes with sat-nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. Automatic lights and rear parking sensors are also fitted.

As for practicality, the rear seat can be slid backwards or forwards to vary legroom and boot space as required. The boot is reasonable, with a flat floor.

All in all, the next six months with the car look like they’ll be pleasant.

Euan Doig

Tester's notes

  1. The engine’s red line is at the 5500rpm mark, which seems very low for such a modern powerplant.
  2. There are a couple of shallow shelves, but in-cabin stowage space seems to be pretty limited.

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 37.9mpg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km

Preview - 3rd October 2018

Citroen C3 Aircross - Long Term Test - Preview - 3rd October 2018 - Main Image

It’s fair to say I’m looking forward to the next few months with the Citroen C3 Aircross. Unfortunately, I’m still looking forward to it mainly because it isn’t here yet; apparently it’s so popular that Citroen can’t build enough of them.

Citroen C3 Aircross - Long Term Test - Preview - 14th November 2018 - Image 2The Company Car Today example of the 2018 CCT100 Small Crossover of the Year should be the ideal C3 Aircross. It has the more powerful 110hp 1.2-litre PureTech engine, so will be decently punchy while emitting just 109g/km of CO2. An average of 56.5mpg isn’t to be sniffed at either.

Spicy orange paint with white highlights will set off the exterior, while I’ve added the Safety Pack, complete with Autonomous Emergency Braking, plus some trim tweaks.

It’ll be great. When it gets here.

Euan Doig  

The stats

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Feel

P11D: £17,190

Official combined mpg: 58.9mpg

Our combined mpg: n/ampg

CO2: 109g/kmg/km