By Charleen Clarke
Every so often, car companies launch a vehicle that truly polarizes opinions. Take, for instance, the Nissan Juke, Toyota C-HR and Elon’s Cybertruck.
The Citroën C3 Aircross sport utility vehicle (SUV) is another of those cars; the styling of this potential contender for the 2021 World Urban Car (the finalists have yet to be announced) is totally out of the ordinary – especially those black panels. The colour scheme of the Citroën C3 Aircross is quite rad too – those so-called “Spicy Orange” accents aren’t for everyone. I adore the whole package. Whenever I walked out to the car, it made me grin (and hey, in a year like this one, I will do pretty much anything to find happiness).
But I am ready to accept that my feelings on the exterior design are purely subjective; others may hate the car’s look – and I respect that. Having said that, here are five less subjective things that you cannot fail to love about the Aircross:
1. The engine
The 1,2-litre PureTech petrol engine – which generates 81 kW of power and 205 Nm – isn’t new but it really does a great job. Sure, you can hear that it’s a three-cylinder, but the sound isn’t bothersome at all (the same cannot be said of other three-cylinders). The engine is turbocharged, and I found it extremely willing and able both while travelling around the city and also on an excursion to the bush. It is coupled to a six-speed auto. Some people will probably be grumpy at the fact that no manual is available; I couldn’t give a hoot because the auto is great.
2. The comfort
I don’t normally quote marketing stuff. It’s not my style. But I’m going to break that rule now. According to the folk at Citroën (who put it so much better than I ever could), this delightful SUV “delivers unrivalled comfort levels to each passenger”. “Using new technology and intelligent design, it’s an approach that keeps you relaxed and refreshed in body and mind. In typical Citroën style, everything that contributes to comfort has been carefully considered and rethought. Four core themes are used to create the perfect driving environment: soft contact points and noise levels, interior space and versatility, intuitive and useful technology and pure, calm comfort all round,” they claim.
It sounds like a load of crock, right? But it’s not. I dare you to find a more comfortable car in this price range.
3. The spaciousness
The Citroën C3 Aircross isn’t actually a big car (as you will realise when manoeuvring it around the city or into tight parking bays). But hop inside and you’ll discover that it’s surprisingly spacious inside. I’m told that this is thanks to the vehicle’s so-called “high-set architecture”, whatever that may be. Never mind, what’s important is this: it has the most spacious interior in its segment and you can seat five adults in comfort, without needing to chop off their legs. Importantly, it boasts lots of head, leg and knee room irrespective of whether you’re sitting in the front or back.
4. The exclusivity
The chaps at Citroën aren’t going to be happy with me pointing this out but, sadly, the C3 Aircross isn’t selling particularly well. This is bad news for Citroën and its dealership network but utterly outstanding for someone who does NOT want a run-of-the-mill car. You want to be the only one in the parking lot with a particular car? Want to drive something different? The C3 Aircross is a sure bet.
5. The price
Pricing for the Citroën C3 Aircross starts at R366 900. I reckon that when you look at the total package – the price is very fair. It isn’t the cheapest vehicle in its segment. Far from it. You can opt for a Volkswagen T-Cross (from R379 900) or the ridiculously cheap Ford EcoSport (from R288 300). But both of these two SUVs sell exceptionally well – so forget about the idea of driving something different.