Citroen C3 Aircross First Drive Review – Features & Performance

Note: If you prefer watching the review in Hindi instead of reading it in English, then you can play the following video:

2023 Citroen C3 Aircross – Exterior Review

We recently drove the 7-seater version of the C3 Aircross. Still, in this article, we’ll briefly highlight the 5-seater version’s details wherever necessary. We have covered the Citroen C3 Aircross before, so you must be familiar with the basic design of the car, which remains consistent between the 5- and 7-seat versions. To know our thoughts about the C3 Aircross design, you can watch our following walkthrough video of the SUV:

Therefore, in this review, we will only discuss a few noteworthy design and exterior elements.

Headlamps

To start with, the C3 Aircross comes with halogen reflector type headlamps and fog lamps. While it does have two-part LED DRLs, the turn indicators are just regular bulbs. By design, the C3 Aircross is an SUV and gets a faux skid plate in the front, it doesn’t have very thick cladding around it to add to the visual mass.

2023 Citroen C3 Aircross

Its side proportions are pleasing with an almost horizontal roofline, an upright stance, 200mm ground clearance and 17-inch alloy wheels. I particularly like how the C-pillar is thick. It blends into the quarter glass and the windshield behind it, making the C3 Aircross appear longer than it really is.

Door Handles

What I found unpleasant are the flap-type door handles, thin all-around cladding and the small rear door plastic moulding.

2023 Citroen C3 Aircross

The design around the back is simple and elegant. The tail lamps are also halogen bulbs, but they have a frosted shell, giving them a modern appearance.

Spare-wheel

It’s worth noting that both the 5-seater and 7-seater versions of the C3 Aircross have a smaller 16-inch spare tyre mounted beneath the floor.

Cabin

With the 3rd row upright, there’s a barely-usable, 44 litres of storage space – suitable just for shopping bags. The third row is completely removable and it’s quite easy to get these two seats out individually.

Boos Space

The 7-seater C3 Aircross has 511 litres of boot space with the 3rd row removed. In the 5-seat version, the boot space is 444 litres, mainly because its middle row has 40mm more leg space. We will compare the interior space of these cars in the next section.

Boos

Overall, the exterior design of the C3 Aircross is appealing, mostly due to its pleasing proportions. However, in several places, you’ll find elements suggesting that the car might be produced to a specific budget, like flap-type door handles and halogen bulbs for both headlamps and fog lamps.

Rear Seats

To compensate, Citroen offers this in both 5- and 7-seat configurations, allowing you to pick the type of boot or cabin space you desire. The question now is whether there’s evidence of cost-cutting inside the cabin and if the seating configurations provide the practicality you’re looking for? Let’s find out.

C1-SEGMENT SUVs | DIMENSION COMPARISON

 

C3 AC

Elevate

Seltos FL

Creta

Gr. Vitara

Hyryder

Astor

Kushaq

Taigun

Length

4323mm

4312mm

4365mm

4300mm

4345mm

4365mm

4323mm

4225mm

4221mm

Width

1796mm

1790mm

1800mm

1790mm

1795mm

1795mm

1809mm

1760mm

1760mm

Height

1665mm/1669 (7S)

1650mm

1645mm

1635mm

1645mm

1635mm

1650mm

1612mm

1612mm

Wheelbase

2671mm

2650mm

2610mm

2610mm

2600mm

2600mm

2585mm*

2651mm

2651mm

Ground Clearance

200mm

220mm

190mm*

190mm*

208mm

208mm

180mm*

188mm

188mm

Boot Space

444L/44L

(511L 5S)

458L

433L

433L

373L (265L Hybrid)

373L (265L Hybrid)

448L*

385L

385L

Tyre Size (top)

215/60 R17

215/55 R17

215/55 R18

215/60 R17

215/60 R17

215/60 R17

215/55 R17

205/55 R17

205/55 R17

*Estimated

Citroen C3 Aircross Petrol – Interior Front Review

Interior

The C3 Aircross comes with a dual-tone beige-black interior. In its top Max variant, the dashboard also has copper, brushed aluminium, and glossy black detailing. We had covered its interior during its reveal just like we did with the exterior – so in this review, we will mainly discuss the cabin quality, feature experience and space-related aspects.

Dashboard

Starting with quality, the main touchpoints, meaning the dashboard, steering wheel and gear lever, are chunky and they both feel good to hold. Using small door lock controls, air con knobs, exposed USB ports and AC vents feels like you’re in a car from a lower segment.

Infotainment System

Talking about the screens – its 10.25-inch infotainment system has good touch sensitivity and feedback. Although it doesn’t offer many controls, it feels good to use. The audio output is satisfactory, and it can also pair wirelessly with phones. However, it doesn’t have a wireless charger. We believe that any car offering wireless smartphone pairing should also have wireless phone charging to make the connectivity experience feel complete.

Instrument Cluster

Moving to the second screen – the instrument cluster. It’s not very large and doesn’t appear very high definition either. But it has several settings and themes that I believe users would like to personalise.

Front Seats

The driving position is vital. From the driver’s seat, you can clearly see the flared parts of the bonnet. Many drivers who prefer seeing the bonnet from the driving position will appreciate it as it gives the SUV vibe. Its windscreen is quite raked, so some drivers might find it small. I found the overall seat cushioning and size perfect for my height and I believe most buyers will also find it comfortable.

Tilt Steering

To achieve a good driving position, the steering wheel offers tilt adjustment, and the driver’s seat has height adjustment. From the driver’s perspective, other notable features are:

  • Rear parking camera
  • Integrated seat armrest
  • Power mirrors
  • Audio and instrument cluster controls on the steering wheel
  • Engine start/stop buttons

Steering

However, it lacks features like:

  • Auto-dimming inside mirror
  • Power folding mirrors
  • Cruise control
  • Auto AC
  • Keyless entry
  • Telescopic steering adjustment

Dashboard

So we feel it could carry a competitive price since these features are common among C-segment SUVs.

Citroen C3 Aircross – 2nd Row Interior Review

With the front seat adjusted to a 5-feet 8-inch driver’s comfort, there’s just adequate knee space for me and sufficient space under the front seat for my feet.

Rear Seats

This being the 7-seat version, the middle row has 40mm less knee space compared to the 5-seat version, making the latter feel more spacious. However, the 7-seat C3 Aircross does have:

  • Roof-mounted rear AC vents
  • Reclining rear seatback
  • Slightly protruding neck cushion for the middle passenger

It’s worth noting that the rear AC vents only work as blowers, essentially pushing cool air from the front cabin to the rear. So, it doesn’t have a separate compressor to cool the rear cabin

Rear-Headrest

In the 5-seat version of the C3 Aircross, there’s an integrated rear seat armrest, and its fixed rear seatback angle is almost as much as the maximum recline angle of the 7-seater. Due to the extra kneeroom and armrest, the best 2nd-row experience is in the 5-seat version.

Both seating configurations provide middle row passengers with:

  • 2 USB ports
  • 1 cup holder
  • Power window controls

Rear USB & Powered Window Control

These controls are placed quite far, and the 2nd row passengers may need to stretch a bit to access them.

I find enough headroom for myself, and the shoulder space is decent as well. The 2nd row seat base cushioning is good. Despite a slight bucketing and protruding transmission tunnel, you can sit in the middle seat, but I believe it is comfortable for at most 2 adults and a child.

From the perspective of rear passengers, this car should have had features like:

  • Curtain airbags
  • Thorax airbags
  • Rear AC vents in the 5-seater version
  • Middle armrest in the 7-seater
  • Door-mounted power window controls

Let’s now move to its third row seats.

Citroen C3 Aircross – 3rd Row Interior Review

The 2nd row seats of the 7-seater C3 Aircross split in a 60:40 ratio, but only the one beyond the front passenger tumbles, making third-row access relatively easy. The 3rd row seats are on the floor, so you’ll have to crouch to sit, and the leg space is limited. For someone of my height, there isn’t much headroom, and the seats are also upright because their top part almost touches the boot. Clearly, these seats are only suitable for kids, and I doubt even they would find them comfortable.

I was surprised to find that the 3rd row in the 7-seat version has 2 cupholders and 2 USB charging ports. Removing the 3rd row seats is easy, but their hooks remain exposed afterward.

If I had to choose between the 5-seat and 7-seat C3 Aircross, I’d opt for the 5-seat version because it offers a better 2nd row seat experience – even without the rear blower. This is despite it missing out on the reclining function and 3rd row seats. The 3rd row seats appear suitable only on rare occasions.

Overall, the C3 Aircross lacks some features we now expect in cars of this segment. Thus, when sitting inside, you feel that it’s not up to the C-segment SUV standards in terms of features. Let’s now drive it.

Citroen C3 Aircross Petrol Manual – Engine Performance And Drive Review

Engine

The C3 Aircross comes with a 1.2L, 3-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine that produces 110PS of power and 190Nm of torque. This is the same engine as the C3 turbo, in the same state of tune. The power-to-weight ratio for the C3 Aircross 7-seater is 86PS/tonne, and the torque-to-weight ratio is 149Nm/tonne. So on paper, its torque output looks impressive.

The peak torque of this engine starts at just 1750rpm, and the engine feels lively even below that rpm – meaning the car almost always feels responsive. As a result, its in-gear acceleration is good, and you won’t need to downshift frequently to pick up pace. Talking about outright performance, we did a brief 0-100kmph test on it, which it completed in around 12 seconds – it’s not lightning-fast, but it’s commendable.

Having driven it primarily on highways, we felt that it could handle long distance cruising with ease – though we wished it had cruise control. At 100kmph, it cruises in the 5th gear at around 2500rpm and also features a sixth gear. In the 6th gear, the cruising rpm at 100kmph is 2000 – which is quite relaxed, especially since you won’t need to downshift for overtaking.

Bonnet Hook

In terms of driving experience, its turbo-petrol engine feels somewhat like a turbo diesel engine – making the drivability very pleasant. Being a 3-cylinder engine, you can feel its vibrations in the cabin at idle, but it smoothes out as you start moving.

Clutch

Moving to the gearbox – as of now, this engine is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission. Its gear shifts are short and relatively smooth. However, the clutch felt a little heavier than we’re used to in other turbo petrol cars.

Alloy Wheel

The primary reason you would want to drive the C3 Aircross daily is its ride quality, which stands out, especially on bad roads. Driving it on such terrains feels as if the suspension isolates the car from the road, handling everything independently. I believe the ride quality is this car’s biggest highlight – it’s that good.

2023 Citroen C3 Aircross

We drove it mostly on straight roads, with light traffic – so as of now, its stability and braking performance seem apt. We intend to drive this car more extensively later to provide a better opinion on its ride, handling, braking, and fuel efficiency. Speaking of fuel efficiency, its claimed figure is 18.5kmpl, which is only surpassed by the Grand Vitara and Hyryder hybrid in the lower power output C1-segment SUVs. Now, let’s move on to the review’s verdict.

C SEGMENT SUVs | PETROL ENGINE SPECS

 

C3 AC

Creta

Seltos

Gr. Vitara / Hyryder

Gr. Vitara / Hyryder

Kushaq

Taigun

Astor

Engine

1.2L Turbo

1.5L

1.5L

1.5L

1.5L Hybrid

1.0L Turbo

1.0L Turbo

1.5L

Cylinder

3

4

4

4

3

3

3

4

Displacement

1199cc

1497 cc

1497 cc

1462cc

1490cc

999cc

999cc

1498cc

Power

110PS @ 5500rpm

115PS @ 6300rpm

115PS @ 6300rpm

103PS @ 6000rpm

115.5PS

115PS @ 5000rpm

115PS @ 5000rpm

110PS @ 6000rpm

Power:Weight

89PS/t (86PS/t)

92PS/t

94PS/t

90PS/t

90PS/t

97PS/t

97PS/t

NA

Torque

190Nm @ 1750rpm

144Nm @ 4500rpm

144Nm @ 4500rpm

137Nm @ 4400rpm

141Nm

178Nm @ 1750 – 4500rpm

178Nm @ 1750 – 4500rpm

144Nm @ 4400rpm

Torque:Weight

154Nm/t (149Nm/t)

115Nm/t

118Nm/t

119Nm/t

109Nm/t

150Nm/t

150Nm/t

NA

Manual

6-speed

6-speed

6-speed

5-speed

NA

6-speed

6-speed

5-speed

Manual FE

18.5kmpl

16.8kmpl

17.0kmpl

21.11kmpl (19.38kmpl AWD)

NA

17.76kmpl

19.87kmpl

NA

Automatic

CVT

CVT

6TC

CVT

6TC

6TC

CVT

Auto FE

16.9kmpl

17.70kmpl

20.58kmpl

27.97kmpl

18.09kmpl

18.15kmpl

NA

2023 Citroen C3 Aircross SUV – Verdict

After spending around 5-6 hours with the C3 Aircross, what impressed us the most is its ride. It feels like it floats on bad roads, ensuring a high level of comfort inside the vehicle. The cabin space and its road presence are also commendable. Given that its top variant isn’t brimming with features, we hope its pricing would be aggressive, hopefully starting around Rs. 10.0 lakh. The 5-seat version will come in 3 variants, while the 7-seat version will only go on sale in the top 2 variants.

2023 Citroen C3 Aircross

For most buyers, we believe the 5-seat version will be the better choice because it offers a superior rear seat experience among the two seating configurations. If priced right, we feel the C3 Aircross could offer better value than its normal petrol competitors, positioning it as the affordable C1-segment SUV to purchase.

Here’s a look at the ex-showroom expected prices for the 2023 Citroen C3 Aircross: Citroen C3 Aircross Expected Price Range With Logic


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