Hot on the heels of the C5 Aircross reveal at the Shanghai Motor Show in April, Citroën continues its SUV offensive with the C3 Aircross compact SUV, revealed in Paris earlier today.
Replacing the outgoing C3 Picasso MPV, the new C3 Aircross was inspired by the C-Aircross Concept shown in Geneva earlier this year. Targeting a more youthful and adventurous demographic than the C3 Picasso, the C3 Aircross will enter a market that has seen explosive, five-fold growth just in the past four years.
The C3 Aircross is the first collaborative result of the PSA’s buyout of General Motors’ Vauxhall and Opel operations in Europe, as the new Citroën rides on the same chassis as the recently released Vauxhall Crossland X in the UK.
Exterior styling and design
If there’s one thing the new C3 Aircross is unlikely to do, is blend in. The unique body styling of the C3 Aircross borrows heavily from the (un)conventional Citroën C3 launched in the UK late last year. With its raised stance, high-set driving position, front and rear skid plates and wheel arch cladding, the adventure lifestyle design language is enhanced by touches of colour on the roof bars and ‘Venetian blind’ rear quarterlights. This time though, there are no side airbumps.
With ‘personalisation’ a continuing buzzword at Citroën, choices to expect on the C3 Aircross model configurator include eight body colours, four roof colours and four ‘colour packs’, along with five interior design schemes. Apparently, there are 90 possible exterior/interior combinations which offer a high degree of uniqueness, but if overdone, will likely prove challenging when selling the car on.
Interior design and layout
Trims will consist of the familiar Touch, Feel and Flair grades and inside, the linear dashboard design deployed in the C4 Cactus and C3 is evident although there are several design touches unique to the C3 Aircross. Vertical air vents bookend a stylish, uncluttered dashboard with dual centre vents sitting atop the infotainment screen which is set quite low.
Oddment storage space is generous throughout the cabin and rear luggage capacity is good for its class at 410-litres, which increases to 520-litres when both sections of the rear bench seat are set forward to their maximum 150mm. A dual-level boot floor assists with practicality. Fold row two and load space increases to an impressive 1,289-litres, while the front passenger seat folds to accommodate items of luggage up to 2.4 metres in length.
Citroën’s own ‘Advanced Comfort’ programme continues in the C3 Aircross and focuses on areas of seat comfort and suspension settings with particular attention given to soundproofing and acoustics.
Engines and transmissions
There will be three petrol and two diesel engines available with the C3 Aircross and all are Euro6 compliant.
The award-winning PureTech petrol engine range – all of which are three-cylinder – will see the recently-introduced 130PS unit paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox, while the familiar 110PS engine is available with a five-speed manual gearbox, or the EAT6 automatic. The entry-level C3 Aircross model will be powered by the now tried-and-very-tested 82PS engine also paired with the five-speed manual ‘box.
On the diesel front there will be a four-cylinder BlueHDi engine offered in two states of tune-100PS or 120PS-and both will be available with the 6-speed manual box. There will be no automatic gearbox option available with either diesel engine.
Following on from and allied to the ‘Advanced Comfort’ programme, there will be several intuitive technologies available on the C3 Aircross including keyless entry and start, colour head-up display, reversing camera, park assist, active safety brake, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, speed limit recognition system and recommendation, automatic high-beam headlights, driver assistance alert and coffee break alert.
For the more adventurous, there’s added safety in the form of grip control with hill descent assist.
In keeping with the ‘out and about’ nature of the C3 Aircross, occupant connectivity is assured via the seven-inch touchscreen, which is also home to the air conditioning, radio, telephony and satnav controls.
To stay connected, there’s a wireless charging dock for Smartphone, mirror screen function with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink.
Citroën’s Connect Nav offers connected 3D navigation with voice recognition, TomTom Traffic, service station and carpark locality along with parking prices, weather information, and a local point-of-interest search function. There’s also a ‘Dangerous Areas’ function.
For added safety and security, there’s the Citroën Connect Box emergency and assistance system which puts the driver in contact with a specialised assistance service in the event of breakdowns or accidents.
Pricing and availability
Manufactured at Citroën’s Zaragoza plant in Spain, UK orders will open for the new C3 Aircross on 1st August, with first UK deliveries scheduled for 1st November this year.
Main rivals for the C3 Aircross will be Nissan’s Juke, Fiat’s 500X, Renault Capture and Vauxhall’s own Mokka X.
Confirmed prices will only be announced next month, but to compete favourably with it’s already well-established competitors, I estimate a price of around £13,950 for the entry-level Touch trim level.
I’ll bring you more details on the new C3 Aircross as soon as they become available.