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Citroen C3 Aircross

Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Citroen C3 Aircross


On the inside

Layout, finish and space

Citroen has no interest in making cars that follow the usual black-technical automotive norms. Instead the company has developed a visual language of softly rounded oblong shapes, geometric surfaces, and seating and fabrics that resemble home furniture. It’s all very relaxing. Especially if you opt for one of the interior trim packages that add a panel of cloth to the dash and doors.

Those seats might look flat like sofas, but their padding is generous enough for most people to get comfy, unless they are sensitive to the driver’s seat’s sloping cushion.

It’s about the roomiest small crossover. The back seat, optionally, will split and slide and recline to divide space between people and boot. The boot floor itself adjusts to two levels, and the front passenger seat can fold forward. That’s the multi-purpose bit taken care of.

Don’t, then, be misled if anyone calls the Aircross a Juke competitor. Sure the Nissan was first into the little crossover market, but it’s hopelessly cramped for families or lifestyle. This C3 is better.

If you poke around the Citroen’s cabin there’s lots of cheap hard plastic. That’s what the company always does. But most of it, except on the doors, is where your fingers don’t normally fall. In this respect it’s better than the C3 hatch, the storage areas have rubber linings to stop your stuff sliding and rattling about, though there aren’t a huge amount of storage bins or cupholders around the cabin.

From mid-level Feel trim onward, the dash centre is occupied by a touchscreen. This can run Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, giving you nav, traffic and connectivity. The top level, Flair, has in-built sat nav but honestly, it’s hardly better.

The screen also operates the radio, car settings and bluetooth phone if you’re not using mirroring via USB. You also need to get into the screen menus for climate control.

The graphics and response of the screen are OK but we prefer the climate controls to have their own hardware buttons and knobs. Which incidentally they do have in the Vauxhall Crossland X. And in that one detail you have a good demonstration of how far the two companies have gone to distinguish their platform-mates. Maybe they could have just put the effort into improving safety kit for both.

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