Small SUVs may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they’ve gone from strength to strength. With their funky looks, compact size and low running costs, it’s not hard to see why they’re so popular.
The C3 Aircross is Citroën’s offering in this class. With chunky styling and off-roader-inspired accessories, including roof bars and extra black plastic body cladding, it’s a tough-looking and desperately cute little thing that neatly superseded the boxy, MPV-like C3 Picasso.
The engine options start with an 82bhp 1.2-litre petrol, then get more exciting with two turbocharged 1.2-litre petrols that make 108bhp and 128bhp. There are also two 1.5-litre diesel offerings, producing 99bhp and 118bhp.
Post-2020 models give you three engines to choose from: the same 1.2-litre turbo petrols plus an updated 1.5-litre diesel with 108bhp. The more potent units offer a six-speed automatic gearbox as well as the standard six-speed manual.
There were initially three trim levels: Feel, Origins and Flair. Even the most basic is well equipped, with a touchscreen infotainment system, air conditioning and cruise control. Origins offers mainly cosmetic upgrades, while Flair owners can boast of keyless entry and start, rain-sensing wipers and climate control.
The range later became C-Series, Rip Curl, Shine and Shine Plus.
Citroëns ride well, right? Well, the C3 Aircross’s soft suspension and squishy seat cushions do initially seem inviting, but you find yourself being tossed from side to side on rougher surfaces and the body rolls quite a lot when you’re cornering.
It’s quite refined, though, and it’s pleasant enough to drive, although the steering is vague and the numb clutch takes some getting used to.