When Citroën returned to South Africa in October 2019, it did so with three models: the C3, C3 AirCross, and C5 AirCross. Recently, the C3 AirCross Shine came in for scrutineering.
Having attended the launch in 2019, we gathered initial impressions of Citroën’s new range, including the C3 AirCross. At said event, the crossover impressed with its sure-footedness and above-average build quality.
But having spent a few days with the car, does it uphold the garnered impressions? And should we, as the buying public, give the C3 AirCross a fair chance?
A 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine powers the C3 AirCross. The power outputs do not set any records alight, but turbocharged motor's 81kW and 205Nm is adequate for application in this car. On the road, the engine feels somewhat delayed to throttle inputs, despite the torque being available at a lowly 1500rpm.
The six-speed automatic gearbox cogs over smoothly - with no hesitation - but first and second gears are relatively short and quick to upshifts. The C3 AirCross allows for drivers to engage Sport mode, but it does not spur on the engine’s eagerness other than holding gears for more extended periods before selecting the next one.
Citroën has always been known for creating fun-themed interiors on their cars and it’s good to see the C3 AirCross continuing that theme. From the off, one gets the blatant idea that the C3 AirCross has that theme in mind. Citroën managed to blend the blackened interior quite nicely with red inserts around the air vents and on other panels.
It works, because one is absorbed into the ambience of the cabin. The seven-inch multimedia screen sitting atop the dashboard is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and features satellite navigation. You can also operate the air conditioning from here, as the tech-laden system has been set up in that way.
While all the seats are covered in cloth, it is the front units that offer more support and comfort. During one of the many drives in the Citroën, the passenger sitting on the middle rear seat noted discomfort because of the seatbelt mechanism.
Regardless, the cabin is quite spacious and the luggage compartment offers decent storage room of up to 410L (520L when the rear seats are moved forward).
2020 Citroën C3 AirCross. Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond
The Citroën C3 AirCross Shine retails from R369 900 and is well-specified with everything except the kitchen sink. Features like hill start assist and a tyre pressure sensor are standard, which goes a long way in justifying the price.
But this crossover is a left-field option in a segment filled with the likes of Volkswagen T-Cross and, to a degree, the Hyundai Venue. It is not a bad option to consider and it should give consumers food for thought on what the market has to offer.