Car-buyers’ voracious appetite for SUVs means manufacturers are providing pumped up versions of existing models.
The latest is Citroen, which has unveiled a compact SUV variant of its C3 supermini launched last year. Called the C3 Aircross, it shares most of the styling cues of the hatchback, but adds a higher ride height and greater practicality.
Aimed squarely at younger buyers, C3 Aircross features splashes of coloured trim – the roof bars, rear side window Venetian blind effect, air vents etc. It’s a pretty little car with plenty of good points and some less good.
It rides well for such a short model, has a good-quality and versatile cabin with chunky controls and bags of rear head and legroom. There are a generous 410 to 520 litres of loadspace, depending on how you arrange the 40/60 split rear seats which can move backwards and forwards independently.
Engines are PureTech petrol units with 82 to 130 PS and diesels with 100 or 120 PS. I tried a 120PS diesel which was torquey but a little gruff, and conked out on us for no apparent reason. I also tried a 110 PS petrol unit which was refined and perky but struggled a bit with hills when laden with four people and their luggage.
The two-tiered lighting and high bonnet line look good, but reduce your view of kerbs and the road ahead, especially when you crest the brow of a hill. Substantial windscreen pillars also had us peering round them on bendy Corsican mountain roads at the car’s international launch.
Priced from £13,995 to £19,750, these are well equipped and stylishly youthful cars which have enough room to be family transport. But its view of the road was an issue with me, and I suspect it would be with others.
Citroen C3 Aircross Flair PureTech 110 manual
Top speed: 115mph
Combined mpg: 56.5
CO2 emissions: 115g/km