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Driven: Citroen plays it simple with C3 Aircross

One highly specified grade for C3 Aircross small SUV as Citroen goes upmarket

Citroen logo19 Apr 2019

CITROEN Australia has followed in the tyre tracks of the C3 light hatch with the C3 Aircross small SUV, opting for a simplified line-up with a single highly specified grade, the Shine, priced from $32,990 plus on-road costs.
 
The C3 Aircross commands a $6000 premium over the C3, which itself is now $3500 dearer following a model-year update that increases its standard specification to be more or less in line with its sibling.
 
Speaking to journalists this week at the C3 Aircross national media launch in Sydney, Peugeot Citroen Australia (PCA) public relations and corporate affairs manager Tyson Bowen said the French brand considered a second, more affordable grade for the new model but decided against it.
 
“We start in what you would call ‘tier three’,” he said. “This is the everything-available car – without a sunroof.
 
“Going one level down, the car starts to lose what we’re trying to do with the brand, which is be characterful. You lose the body style stripes, you lose the colour packs, you lose the wheel size and all those sorts of things.
 
“The car starts to become something we don’t believe the brand stands for, but also what our customers don’t buy. When you look at the vehicles where we’ve offered a mid or price-point car, we just don’t sell many. They constitute three per cent of the model mix.
 
“So, taking that away and fishing where the fish are, for lack of a better description, we can be true to ourselves and offer the real value and packaging, rather than having something that sits in the garden and no-one looks up.”
 
Mr Bowen said that while PCA has an internal volume plan for the C3 Aircross, it is not going to publicly commit to a sales target for its first 12 months on sale.
 
“To peg a defined number is also putting your finger up in the air and saying, ‘We’ll do that’,” he said.
 
“At the same time, we have to be realistic about what we’re doing. We’re not going to force any numbers; we’re going to grow organically and do it the right way.
 
“With a brand like this, being so small, it’s an opportunity to do things differently and also not do it unsustainably.”
 
Measuring in at 4154mm long, 1756mm wide and 1637mm tall with a 2604mm wheelbase, the C3 Aircross is on the smaller side for a small SUV, primarily pitching it against the Mazda CX-3, which itself is based on a light car – the Mazda2.
 
The C3 Aircross is motivated by a 1.2-litre PureTech turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine that produces 81kW of power at 5500rpm and 205Nm of torque at 1500rpm.
 
An Aisin-sourced six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission sends drive exclusively to the front wheels, as an all-wheel-drive option is not planned for the Australian market.
 
Sprinting from standstill to 100km/h in 10.6 seconds, the C3 Aircross has a top speed of 183km/h, while its braked towing capacity is 840kg.
 
Claimed fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions on the combined cycle test are 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres and 149 grams per kilometre respectively.
 
As with other models based on the PSA A platform, the C3 Aircross’ suspension set-up consists of MacPherson-strut front and torsion-beam axles, while its electromechanical power steering has a variable ratio.
 
Standard equipment includes dusk-sensing halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, diamond-cut 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 205/50 Goodyear EfficientGrip tyres (with a space-saver spare), rain-sensing windshield wipers, power-folding side mirrors and roof rails.
 
Inside, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, DAB+ digital radio, a six-speaker sound system, wireless smartphone charging, a flip-up head-up display, a monochrome multi-function display, single-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear selector, and Grey Mica cloth upholstery feature.
 
Advanced driver-assist systems extend to camera-based autonomous emergency braking (works up to 30km/h), lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, driver attention alert, speed limit recognition, park assist, a 180-degree reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, high-beam assist, cruise control, a manual speed limiter, tyre pressure monitoring and hill-start assist, plus six airbags (dual front, side and curtain).
 
Only one option is available, with metallic paintwork (Passion Red, Sand, Ink Black and Breathing Blue) costing $590. Natural White is the only no-cost hue available. Each is contrasted with a colour pack that highlights certain exterior trims.
 

While a panoramic sunroof is offered overseas, PCA declined to make it available on the Shine due to how much it would its increase pricing.

 

However, 20 Launch Edition examples of the C3 Aircross ironically feature it at no extra cost alongside Passion Red metallic paintwork and Metro Grey and red fabric upholstery.

 

PCA said the panoramic sunroof may return in the future, likely bundled in again with another special-edition variant.

 
The C3 Aircross comes with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and five years of roadside assistance, while its service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever occurs first.
 
The C3 Shine’s aforementioned bump in kit covers camera-based autonomous emergency braking (works up to 30km/h), blind-spot monitoring, satellite navigation and keyless entry and start, although its alloy wheels are now an inch smaller, at 16 inches. It is now on sale.

2019 Citroen C3 Aircross pricing*
Shine (a) $32,990
Launch Edition (a) $32,990

*Excludes on-road costs

 

2019 Citroen C3 pricing*

Shine (a) $26,990

*Excludes on-road costs


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