Citroen C3 AIRCROSS test drive review in Malaysia

Cars

Published on October 5th, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Citroen C3 AIRCROSS, it is NOT a Mini Countryman

Yes, it looks very much like a Mini Countryman from the sides and also rear three quarter, but this Citroen is not trying to be a Mini, its just being itself. 

Showing its typically Citroen quirkiness in design which has been the highlight of Citroen cars from the time they were founded in 1919. 

History

Andre Citroen (the founder) looked at his rivals from France and the rest of Europe and decided to be different from day one. In 1934 Andre made a revolutionary technical change in the auto industry by releasing a mass produced front wheel drive car. The rest is history as Citroen became part of the PSA group and now we have technical shared drivetrains and platforms.  

The Japanese and Koreans have introduced some great rivalling products over the years but they all somewhat lacked in character & design and this is where the C3 AIRCROSS stands out in the car park.  

Citroen C3 AIRCROSS rear
Citroen C3 AIRCROSS front

Concept

The AIRCROSS exterior carries design elements that is truly Citroen. The product planners at Citroen are calling this C3 AIRCROSS a compact SUV, but we think its more like a family wagon. 

Styling

From the very first gaze, the C3 AIRCROSS appeals with its unique body styling, freshness and protective appearance. Its compact and high-set dimensions (4.15 m long, 1.76 m wide and 1.64 m tall) are well proportioned and showcase the car’s flowing and dynamic design lines. Citroen’s attractive compact SUV dominates the road. 

The design of the New C3 AIRCROSS is unique to the segment with its muscular bonnet, both short and high-set. It conveys a sense of robustness and underscores the front and rear light signatures while remaining free of aggression through its horizontal balance and generous forms. Standing firm on its large 17-inch diameter wheels, the C3 AIRCROSS has a ground clearance some 20 mm higher than the New C3, whose platform it shares. The new model’s wing extenders and protective skid plates also contribute to the dynamic and protective SUV styling. These visual features reinforce the car’s adventuresome aspect and express its singular personality.

Citroen C3 AIRCROSS side

At the front, the New Citroen C3 AIRCROSS sports Citroen’s classic graphic signature with two-tier lights. The headlamps strengthen the expression of the front end and confirm kinship with the Brand’s latest models. The upper part consists of LED daytime running lights connected to the chevrons via a double chrome strip, serving to express the entire width of the car. The lower part is home to the main light unit. Comprising square-yet-rounded lamps enlivened by a colour surround, this area also houses the fog lamps. A large air intake in the centre strikes a powerful note. At the lower part of the front end, a protective skid plate underscores the whole and confirms the SUV nature of the C3 AIRCROSS.

At the rear, the powerful shoulders of the C3 AIRCROSS emphasise its width and muscular character. The 3D-effect rear lights spell out the family connection with the new C3 and the C-AIRCROSS concept car. The sophisticated light units are complemented by Gloss Black inserts in the tailgate featuring the two-tone C3 AIRCROSS badge and Gloss Black chevrons.

This bold combination broadens the two light units and underlines the sense of width while firmly denoting the car’s high-tech nature. The imposing rear bumper topped by a protective skid plate echoes the front end and once again affirms the car’s robustness and SUV spirit.

Through its ingenious architecture, the New C3 AIRCROSS makes everyday life easier with absolutely no compromises on comfort or functionality. 

Cabin

Look inside this C3 and you will see a large living area. The cabin is home to broad and comfortable seats and offers class-leading spaciousness (best ceiling height, generous leg room), unrivalled modularity (sliding bench in two independent parts, flat-folding front passenger seat for a load length of 2.40 m) and exceptional boot volume (410 litres and up to 520 litres). 

Citroen C3 AIRCROSS interior
Citroen C3 AIRCROSS rear seats
Citroen C3 AIRCROSS spare tyre

This C3 AIRCROSS features ingenious storage spaces around the interior. C3 drivers get a dashboard that is ergonomically designed to allow for easy access to all functions. Women especially will love the easy access and exit even with short skirts and visibility is great with large expanse of glass and a high driving position. It is a pleasure to own and drive with good road holding and handling. It drivers like a large sedan despite its height and size and absorbs the worst road conditions with ease, thanks to the all-round coil spring suspension. 

Driving is made easier with automatic lighting, wiper and rear view mirror dimming controls. For the less experienced drivers, the C3 comes with anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and electronic brake assist (EBA) which minimize loss of vehicle control in adverse road conditions and ensure safe sure stops every time. 

Citroen C3 AIRCROSS seats
Citroen C3 AIRCROSS a/c vents

Engine

The 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 12 valves produces a respectable 112bhp at 5,500rpm and 205Nm of torque at 1,500rpm. Mated to a 6-speed adaptive automatic transmission it is smooth in town and on the highway allows for easy overtaking. Some might comment on the ability of the 1.2L engine to move this station-wagon with a full 5 adults on board up to any hill top resort. Rest assured it will do the job easily, remember this is a family car and not a hot hatch DS3.

Citroen C3 AIRCROSS engine

Underneath

Handling is pliant, firm and confident. This Citroen does not carry the legendary hydraulic suspension system which is well known for leaks and failures after a few years. This is a standard strut and spring system which is tuned for comfort and sure footed handling. 

Attraction

After a weekend with the C3 it was clear that it attracted enough curb-side attention to make you feel good. The space inside was appreciated by the family. The hypermarket shopping trip was done with plenty of room left for more personal shopping. The city driving fuel consumption was good and the highway fast run was done with little hesitation from the engine. 

Decision

The C3 AIRCROSS is priced right, feels right and delivers the right amount of ownership satisfaction until you meet the negativity coming from social media about the brand. Yes, Citroen has had a chequered past in terms of after sales but it has changed its workshop management to a completely new more dedicated team to ensure the brand success with this new model and also the recently launched DS range. 

C3 AIRCROSS 1.2L Specifications

Engine: 3-cylinder 12 valve

Capacity: 1199cc

Power: 112bhp @ 5500rpm

Torque: 205Nm @ 1500rpm 

Transmission: 6-speed auto with Tiptronic

0-100km/h: 10.4 seconds

Top speed: 200km/h

Price: From RM115,888

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