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First Drive: Citroen C3 Aircross

The story: The former Company Car Today CCT100 Award-winning small crossover gets a mid-life cosmetic and spec makeover, with a sharper new nose featuring LED headlights for the first time.
Category:Small Crossover
Key rival:Ford Puma
Efficiency:47.1 mpg
On sale:Now

A new nose and interior enhancements mark out the revised Citroen C3 Aircross, a car that’s its third most important in the UK after the C3 and the larger C5 Aircross.

Citroen has sharpened the rounder lines of the pre-facelift car into a more angular and slightly more aggressive look, with the big square lighting embedded into the bumper gone as the car gets LED headlights for the first time. The front skid plate is also redesigned as part of a whole new bumper.

First Drive - August 2021 - Citroen C5 Aircross - Image 2The other main change is on the inside, where the top-spec Shine Plus model in particular gets a significant upgrade. Citroen predicts that more than three-quarters of C3 Aircross buyers will plump for the highest of the three trim levels, and that car gets the brand’s Advanced Comfort seats, as already seen on the C5 Aircross and new C4 models. They’re certainly comfortable, feeling like a big armchair, although lateral support isn’t their strongest suit. But for the type of car the C3 Aircross is, they’re a positive addition, and are an option on the middle Shine trim.

All bar the entry C-Series model also get a 9.0-inch touchscreen, up two inches on the previous model, and new small central stowage bin with a sliding lid – adding covered stowage to the cabin for the first time, as well as other minor tweaks to make the cabin more functional.

First Drive - August 2021 - Citroen C5 Aircross - Image 5The Shine trim level hasn’t changed price compared to the outgoing model, but the additional new equipment of the Shine Plus, including the comfortable seats, raise it by £700. Citroen has always been aggressive with the pricing of the C3 Aircross, and it remains an eye-catching bargain in an increasingly competitive small SUV field.

What also stays the same is the engineering side, which means it rides well, and the engine delivers decent performance for its 100hp, although isn’t the quietest under acceleration, and both brake pedal and, in the automatic, accelerator are snatchy at low speed.

The functionality of a car is also unchanged, which is good because it remains one of the most practical small crossovers. A big boot yet good rear passenger space, plus sliding 60:40 split rear seats and a front passenger seat that folds flat, all add up to a versatile car.

paul barker



The verdict

Styling upgrade and spec enhancements to top trim level in particular make the C3 Aircross an even more likeable and practical crossover.