Citroen C3 Aircross (2017) Review

Citroen C3 Aircross (2017) At A Glance

4/5

+Very spacious with a flexible cabin. Soft ride quality means it's mostly comfy. Interesting looks.

-Dull driving experience. No four-wheel drive version. Many of the practicality and personality flourishes are optional. Not as cheap as it once was.

New prices start from £18,390, brokers can source from £16,096
Insurance Groups are between 12–18
On average it achieves 75% of the official MPG figure

In the classic Citroen spirit of being knowingly different, the company has called its C3-based crossover SUV the Aircross, rather than sticking an X on the end of it, or using the word ‘sport’ in addendum, like most manufacturers do.

Different it may be, but it’s actually quite the apt name: ‘air’ denoting spaciousness and ‘cross’…well, they’ve stuck an X on the end of it, basically. Still, this is one very airy crossover, designed very much in the spirit of a compact MPV – indeed, it replaces the C3 Picasso and Citroen has no intention of losing any of those customers when their leases run out.

The change from MPV to pseudo-SUV is a pure marketing move: the compact crossover is an ever growing market. That said, the Aircross is in no way an SUV because you can only get front-wheel drive versions, albeit a fancy traction control system with a setting for muddy surfaces is available plus there’s a good bit of ground clearance – 17.5cm more than a C3.

Still, while it’s pretending to be an off roader on the outside, inside it makes a good case for being a proper MPV. The Aircross has a bigger boot than the C3 Picasso it replaces, has just as much cabin space and the same sort of modular flexibility. That includes a sliding rear bench, roof rails and a front passenger seat that folds flat. 

Sadly much of that is confined to either top spec versions (the sliding rear bench) or the options list. Pick a basic C3 Aircross and not only are your rear bench and passenger seat fixed firmly in place, but the boot capacity drops from 520 litres to 410. 

The looks you can make your own mind up about, but it’s probably indisputable to claim this as one of the most interesting looking of the small SUVs. Sometimes forcefully so – on the one hand, 85 possible combinations of paint and contrasting roof colours is a good thing, but on the other some of the detailing is challenging, to say the least. Like the ‘venetian blind’ motif on the C-pillar.

The same goes for the interior. If you're willing to spend extra money brightening things up with a colour pack, that will do a decent job of masking what is otherwise a fairly uninspiring concretion of moulded grey plastic. In fairness to Citroen, the company has had a go – some of the shapes are interesting and there’s no lack of cubbyholes in which to deposit the litter that you and your trendy, urban lifestyle (so Citroen would have it) create.

There’s always a ‘but’ with Citroen though, right? So here it is. The driving position is still flawed, the touch screen is still a finger-bashing frustration and the handling is from the Limp Bizkit school: keep on rollin’. Usually side-to-side.

And yet, there’s a joy about the C3 Aircross that you don’t get with most of these small SUV things. It’s different. It’s fun. And it is so while being one of the most practical of the lot - possibly the most practical. And for many, that will be a winning and definitive combination – the fact that it doesn’t corner as flat as a Ford EcoSport is irrelevant. It’s big, bold and bouncy.

It’s cheap to run too, with power from either a three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol or a 1.6-litre diesel and average economy therefore ranging between 50-70mpg. Choose wisely and it’s relatively cheap to buy as well, starting at around £18,000 and topping out at around £20,000. As usual, the closer to the top end of that scale you buy, the more this feels like a high-tech, high-personality car.

But whatever you spend, the basics of a spacious, idiosyncratic small crossover are intact. And for that reason it’s quite easy to recommend the C3 Aircross.

Citroen C3 Aircross 2017 Road Test

Real MPG average for a Citroen C3 Aircross (2017)

RealMPG

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

75%

Real MPG

30–64 mpg

MPGs submitted

60

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Can you suggest an automatic car that handles potholes well?
"Due to a painful left knee, I need an automatic car. I currently drive a Kia Venga and I like the high driving position, although my husband says it’s too harsh over bumps, potholes etc. Can you suggest any cars, please? I have approximately £10,000 and the resale value on my 2010 Venga. Kind regards."
We'd recommend a Citroen C3 Aircross. It's a crossover SUV with a soft, comfortable ride and reliable torque-converter automatic gearbox. Also, consider a Suzuki Vitara or, if you don't want a crossover SUV, a Honda Jazz.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend a car to replace my Citroen C3?
"We are about to change my wife's 2014 diesel Citroen C3 Picasso. It is used primarily for short to medium journeys with occasional longer trips. We've been delighted with the Citroen, it suits our needs in all respects but we wish to switch to a petrol engine. My wife is short and I'm 6ft tall. We're looking for a fairly recent secondhand hand model. Open to all suggestions. "
Small MPVs like the Citroen C3 Picasso are now pretty rare as buyers (and therefore car manufacturers) have moved towards crossover SUVs. That's why the C3 Picasso has now been replaced by the C3 Aircross, which could be a good choice for you. Also look at the Skoda Kamiq or new Ford Puma. If you'd prefer a conventional hatchback, a Honda Jazz could be a good choice. The new model is a hybrid, which might suit your needs well. There are some good deals available on late examples of the old model, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can I reject my faulty car because of an issue with the infotainment?
"I bought my Citroen C3 Aircross from a Citroen dealer on 8 May 2019. It was a pre-registered car with 10 miles and had first been registered on 29 March 2019. It has had an ongoing problem with the infotainment screen freezing and then dying completely. It has been booked in on four occasions for this with my Citroen dealer, and each time has been recoded to no avail. It is currently in with my dealer again over the last 10 days and they are constantly awaiting “tickets from Citroen technical” and can do nothing until they hear from them. I have consulted Citroen Customer Care and they cannot get involved in the technical process. Do I have any remedies open to me? The Citroen dealer that the car is with is not the dealer that I bought it from. They are 250 miles away and to date, I have not consulted them as yet"
If they are unable to fix the vehicle then you can demand a replacement or start a process to reject it. In the case of rejection, the dealer will be entitled to make a deduction for the usage you've already had from the vehicle. For your consumer rights, see: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/how-to-reject-a-car-your-consumer-rights/
Answered by Dan Powell
Which small crossovers have the best ride comfort?
"My wife has a 2018 Vauxhall Mokka X with 18-inch wheels. We are disappointed with the ride comfort, At slow speeds over pitted road surfaces or over speed humps it can feel as though it has solid tyres. On undulating country roads, it seems to exaggerate the bumps rather than smoothing them out. We use 32psi as per Vauxhall`s tyre pressure table. Assuming that this is normal for a Mokka X and nothing can be done to significantly improve the ride, which similar or a little smaller SUV would you recommend that will have a comfortable ride? Petrol engine and auto is required."
You could try a smaller set of wheels with higher profile tyres, although the majority of Mokkas were sold with 18-inch alloys so finding a smaller set might be difficult. I'd recommend a Citroen C3 Aircross. It's a very comfortable little crossover with soft suspension setup. Also, consider a Skoda Kamiq or SEAT Arona.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Citroen C3 Aircross (2017) cost?

Buy new from £16,096 (list price from £19,625)