Citroën C3 Aircross Shine Pack (2023) - interior and quality

Before we hit the start button to tour the Citroën C3 Aircross Shine Pack, let's take a look inside. I am interested in the processing, the quality and the usability. It used to be said that good cars can be operated without looking at the manual.

Decades ago, so long ago! But since the Stellantis Group, like many of its competitors, no longer encloses a printed manual, I have a good reason for a cold start. How functional and intuitive is the C3 Aircross - without consulting the online manual?

You have to know: the series is one of the older offers in the Citroën range. The Aircross was thoroughly revised in February 2021, and the successor is already warming up. However, the fact that the French compact SUV is no longer brand new does not have to be a disadvantage. On the contrary, because some traditional analogue elements are even allowed to be celebrated.

Citroën C3 Aircross - how is the quality and interior?
Citroën C3 Aircross - how are quality and interior?

The interior of the Citroën C3 Aircross (2023)

The small Citroën is at home in the compact segment, the former avant-garde is the group's brand for the cheap entry. You notice that when you enter the SUV. Maybe not. Because the doors slam shut with such a loud noise that you look up in irritation. Honestly, is this really compact?

Is it! The interior uses plenty of cheap plastics, so there's no doubt. However, the material belongs to the friendly, authentic kind. Because on the one hand it is very well made, on the other hand there is never any doubt about its origin and the textile inserts distributed throughout make it look likeable. Cosiness comes up – and a feel-good atmosphere.

The processing of the C3 is surprisingly good. Negligence that was standard in our Berlingo cannot be found in the Aircross. Even my critical eye doesn't see any weaknesses, and that's rare.

Textile inserts - here on the dashboard - ensure comfort
Textile inserts - here on the dashboard - ensure comfort

Let's celebrate the analog elements

The fact that the C3 Aircross is no longer very young can be seen from various elements in the interior. Apart from a small display, the cockpit is pleasantly analogue. The eyes are happy, because there are still real fittings, not animated displays.

The 6-speed automatic has a real shift gate, just like generations of Mercedes customers once loved. Engaging gear is rewarded with haptic feedback, so much better than the small, unfeeling gear selectors that are now ubiquitous.

There will certainly not be anything like that in the successor, progress will eliminate analogue displays and shift gates. Let's celebrate these things while they last.

Analog instruments in new cars - you have to celebrate
Analog instruments in new cars - you have to celebrate

Interior economy Citroën C3 Aircross

The Citroën is actually only 4,16 meters long and 1,76 meters wide. This makes it a whole 4 millimeters narrower than a Saab 9000, which was said to be a space miracle in the luxury class 1000 years ago. How does Citroën deal with the interior, what do the French do with a small area?

6-speed automatic with shift gate
6-speed automatic with shift gate

Admittedly, I approached the compact SUV with a lot of reservations, but not every one of my prejudices can be upheld. In fact, 4 people can be comfortably seated in the C3 Aircross - even in the back seats. The front seats are smartly shaped so that there is room for long legs and tall people on the back benches. Of course, the space is bought by a small trunk – theoretically.

This shows again that Citroën can do two things. utility and flexibility. The rear seat bench can be pushed forward by 15 centimetres. By the way, without looking at the manual, everything is possible intuitively. The boot grows from 410 to 520 litres, and when you fold down the rear bench seat and front passenger seat, you get a flat loading area of ​​2,40 meters and have a cargo space of 1.289 litres.

Smartly shaped seats create space in the interior of the Citroën C3 Aircross
Smartly shaped seats create space in the interior

That's pretty impressive, especially since everything is playful to use. That Citroën in designing the interior of the C3 Aircross Even the smallest details are fine-tuned, which is also noticeable on the door panels. They are ergonomically bulged outwards and bring one or two centimeters more usable width. That counts in the compact class.

Usability of the Citroën C3 Aircross

Let's continue to stay away from the instruction manual. The new 9-inch touchscreen equipment can be found in many Stellantis vehicles and is exceptionally easy to use. Citroën sticks to control buttons located under the display. All important functions can be selected at the push of a button. The operation of the TomTom-supported navigation, automatic air conditioning, radio and the configuration of the assistance systems is intuitive.

New 9 inch touchscreen with control bar
New 9 inch touchscreen with control bar

The resolution is higher and more brilliant than in the previous system, the computing speed is not the fastest, but Stellantis has increased here too. One could criticize the fact that the interior temperature can only be set via the touchscreen, but the touch fields are large and, unlike some competitors, none of the important functions are hidden in a submenu.

Textile inserts also on the door panels

What I don't like about the Citroën

The interior, its usability and the design make a good impression. Some German competitors, whose image is placed above the Doppelwinkel brand, deliver less quality and attention to small details than Citroën does. The window areas are large, the optional sunroof reinforces the friendly, airy impression. You immediately feel comfortable in the interior.

But yes, there are details that could be improved. The small buttons behind the steering column, below the dashboard, which you need to fight your way through the display settings between the speedometer and the rev counter, are an impertinence. Luckily, you rarely need them. And the integrated handle in the tailgate is so ergonomically unfavorable that you can hardly close the non-electrically operated flap in one go. You could do that better at Saab with the 99.

The Advanced Comfort seats are an absolute recommendation
The Advanced Comfort seats are an absolute recommendation

And what is typically Citroën about the C3 Aircross?

Of course I'm always looking for typical Citroën features. The C3 Aircross does not afford small, nice quirks. It's kind of unfortunate, but then there's the Advanced Comfort seats. They are thickly padded, Citroën speaks of 15 millimeters of foam, and with a combination of artificial leather (vegan leather) and fabric related.

Nice double angles - attention to detail in the interior
Nice double angles - attention to detail in the interior

The seats, they are embroidered with nice double chevron symbols, were included in the Shine Pack at the time of ordering in the design shown. Today they are subject to a surcharge. They are a recommendation and they are worth every € invested. They are hard to beat in terms of comfort, even if the first impression says that the contact surfaces are too short. That's not the case, you don't want to get out anymore, you sit so comfortably in the compact Citroën.

Citroën promises a particularly high level of comfort for the C3 Aircross. The comfort concept includes the seats, the acoustic insulation and the chassis tuning, even if the small Aircross does not have an Advanced Comfort chassis. Add to that the compact wheelbase, so one wonders how the French intend to deliver on the promise? Then there's the engine. Elevated comfort and 3 cylinders - how is that supposed to work? Let's fire up the compact SUV and see how it drives.

- Sequel follows -

One thought on "Citroën C3 Aircross Shine Pack (2023) - interior and quality"

  • blank

    I think that reads well. The Citroën is becoming more and more likeable to me. Now I'm waiting for the driving report!


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