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C3 Aircross has the right feel

CAR OF THE WEEK: Citroen C3 Aircross Feel PT110

I FIRST set eyes on the Citroen C3 Aircross at Westfield, Stratford City in London’s East End. No, it wasn’t in the car park rather it was being promoted in the shopping mall itself by some seriously excited marketing staff who were obviously keen to let the world know about the next big thing from the French car manufacturer.

Having spent seven days with the funky Sports Untility Vehicle (SUV) I can’t say I was as excited as the aforementioned PR team but I could, after my evaluation, give the car a telling nod of approval.

There’s the same range of frugal petrol and diesel engines that are found in the C3 hatchback, impressive levels of seating flexibility and the availability of a wide range of safety kit. The C3 Aircross reminds me of Kia’s Soul and to that end there is an array of customisation options available should you decide on a purchase.

There’s a 1.2-litre PureTech turbocharged petrol with either 81, 109 or 129bhp; CO2 emissions are below 120g/km for manual cars and 126g/ km for the automatics. Two 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesels are also offered, with 98 or 118bhp.

Five-speed or six-speed manual gearbox are available with the Aircross depending on your engine choice, as well as a six-speed automatic. Three trim levels are available; Touch, Feel and Flair.

The interior layout is relatively easy on the eye. Like plenty of other Citroëns, the C3 Aircross’s interior is certainly distinctive. A variety of colour and trim options are available to make it as garish or restrained as you like. Naturally, this customisation does cost extra.

The C3 Aircross may be fairly tiny by SUV standards, but it packs in plenty of practical touches. All versions get 60/40 split folding rear seats with a backrest that can be set at two angles. Boot space is generous. There are also plenty of storage solutions and even a handy shelf above the glovebox.

For such a short car, rear seat space is enough to fit a six-foot-tall adult behind another similarly tall driver without either feeling cramped. There’s loads of head room if you avoid the optional panoramic sunroof. Safety is guaranteed, thanks to a five-star Euro NCAP rating. The C3 Aircross is fitted with the usual airbags, but there’s also technology to help prevent a collision from happening in the first place.

Citroen is late to the funky SUV party, but it has a longer history of building small and practical cars than almost anyone else.

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