Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
There are just three engines to choose from for the Citroën C3 Aircross – a 1.5-litre diesel and two turbocharged 1.2-litre petrols, the more powerful of which is available only with an automatic gearbox.
The cheapest is the Puretech 110 petrol, which is punchy enough to make the Puretech 130 feel unnecessary, although the latter’s auto ’box does take the effort out of town driving.
On the other hand, buying the diesel C3 Aircross doesn’t make much sense at all. Yes, you’ll spend less at the pumps, but it’s slower than both petrols and you’ll have to cover a lot of miles to save enough on fuel costs to make up for its higher purchase price.
Suspension and ride comfort
The softly sprung Citroën C3 Aircross initially fools you into thinking that it’s going to be a comfortable companion. Once it gets above 30mph, though, you become acutely aware of your torso bobbing up and down and your head tossing from side to side. To make matters worse, it tends to crash over potholes.
As a consequence of its soft suspension, the Citroën C3 Aircross leans more dramatically than most of its rivals through bends. What’s more, it feels less stable and composed along bucking and bounding country roads.
Remote-feeling steering doesn’t help matter, and it’s not always easy to trust that the front wheels are going where you are trying to point them. If you want to have fun behind the wheel, the Ford Puma and Skoda Kamiq are much better choices, as is the Seat Arona.
Noise and vibration
A nasty cocktail of a numb clutch pedal, a light accelerator and a vague manual gearshift means driving the Citroën C3 Aircross smoothly at low speeds requires the sort of concentration needed to thread a needle. Changing gear and pulling away is so much easier and more instinctive in the Ford Puma, Skoda Kamiq and Seat Arona.
More positively, Citroën's petrol engines are reasonably hushed and don't send too many vibrations through the soles of your shoes. Road noise is also well isolated, although there’s a fair amount of wind whistle on the motorway.
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