I like three cylinders! If you are in an old Saab if they work on 2 strokes. Our Citroën C3 Aircross also has a three-cylinder under the hood. With turbo, a 130 hp Group engine from the PSA family, as used in the Opel Astra and various Citroën and Peugeot models.
After several months of using the C3 Aircross in the family, it's time for my first assessment. How is the compact Citroën on the road in everyday life, does it still enjoy all the sympathies and does it make you happy? To be honest, I use it again and again, especially in those moments when it's blocking the Saab garage.
Then I spontaneously reach for the French car and leave the Saab behind.
Happy with the three-cylinder?
Admittedly, I'm not a fan of the modern three-cylinder engines. They are a downsizing dictate from Brussels, due to the environmental balance sheet and bureaucracy. But there is no escaping them, and there are good and not so good representatives of their kind.
In the Citroën C3 Aircross, when cold, the engine does not hide the missing cylinder. After the start, it sounds as uninspiring as is generally the case. But warmed up the sound is lost, the drive runs more harmoniously, and if you are not aware of what is working there, you do not guess it.
In addition, the Doppelwinkel brand has given the C3 Aircross (Link) missed a good noise insulation. For a compact, the Aircross is pleasantly quiet. The 6-speed automatic and three-cylinder harmonize quite well, the automatic skilfully covers up the conceptual weaknesses and the Citroën drives quite maturely.
What the C3 Aircross can and cannot do
In fact, the C3 Aircross is the ideal car for the city. The turning circle is small, visibility is high, and perhaps we could have given up the optional reversing camera. You don't really need them.
In contrast to some competitors, the cockpit still has buttons, the automatic has a shift gate. With the predecessor, there was repeated criticism of the suspension, which was felt to be too tight. It's still tight and sporty, unfortunately this model doesn't have an advanced comfort chassis, but the tightness leads to a misjudgment.
One might think that the Citroën C3 Aircross is a sporty car.
It's definitely not that, which you notice at the latest when you want to go around the corner a little more quickly. Neither the chassis nor the steering has any talent for this. The latter leaves behind a synthetically undefined feeling, as is often the case with modern vehicles today and which is only noticeable if you are otherwise mainly driving analog sheet metal.
The chassis refuses any sportiness, the C3 Aircross wobbles more around the corners than it drives - it just doesn't like it. He doesn't have to! Because it is primarily a talented city car and definitely not a sports car.
The Advanced Comfort seats of the C3 Aircross
The Advanced Comfort seats of the Citroën are worth explaining. In almost every test report in the motor press, the too short seat surface is criticized. If you read that, then it is an indication that the writer has not really dealt with the car.
In fact, the seats are too short. Absolutely. What is the first impression.
At the latest after the first 10 kilometers the impression is gone. The seats, which are upholstered in a similarly elaborate manner as an Emma mattress, have the potential to make you feel good. You feel secure, you never want to give them up again, and you can travel the longest distances with them without back pain.
This feel-good effect that sets in in the Citroën C3 Aircross and spreads a gentle hint of the comfort of years gone by.
The compact Citroën completed the first few months without incident. No unscheduled defect forced into the workshop, which was almost always the case with German premium products in the company fleet. Our Citroën rolls through life without any problems and without any rattling noises. It is pleasant to drive.
Maybe for my taste it lacks the special feature of a Citroën, which you only miss if you come from the hydropneumatic age like me.
What is annoying about the Citroën C3 Aircross
However, there are also some things that get on your nerves. They are not necessarily to be blamed on Citroën, they can be attributed to the frenzy of regulation in Brussels. The automatic air conditioning is generally out of order with every restart, which of course brings efficiency and probably climate bonus points. It's just annoying in the hot season, because it's switched on via the menu on the screen - not via a simple button.
The start-stop automatic is also always active, it has to be switched off manually each time via the menu. This is also an efficiency story. But the responsible EU citizen should be credited with being so intelligent that he only shuts down the system permanently on days with a plus of 30 degrees.
The handle integrated into the tailgate has nothing to do with Brussels and the frenzy of regulations. Saab drivers know the optimal grip that allows the tailgate to be slammed shut in one go. At Citroën you saved a few cents, but this requires an additional work grip on the sheet metal, which is annoying when the vehicle is wet or dirty.
Of course, these are small things, like the screen between the analogue instruments, which becomes illegible in sunlight and which displays some symbols too small.
But it's just these few things that detract from the impression of a well-made, recommendable and in many things very well thought-out car.
- Sequel follows -