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Feature

CitroΓ«n C3 Aircross vs Kia Stonic vs Seat Arona

SUVs based on small hatchbacks have their flaws, but they’re getting better all the time. The CitroΓ«n C3 Aircross, Kia Stonic and Seat Arona are proof of that - but which is best?

Words By What Car? team

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CitroΓ«n C3 Aircross

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

As SUVs go, these are very cheap choices indeed. However, it’s worth noting that all three cost considerably more than the hatchbacks on which they’re based (the CitroΓ«n C3, Kia Rio and Seat Ibiza).

Then again, you probably won’t choose to pay in one lump sum. Finance packages are extremely popular in this class and, if you sign up to a three-year PCP deal, the Arona will cost you the least in monthly repayments. You’ll need to budget an extra Β£7 a month if you want the C3 Aircross, while the Stonic will cost you an eyebrowraising Β£49 more each month.

The Arona is also the cheapest option if you plan to lease, with the Stonic once again the dearest by a big margin. Meanwhile, company car drivers will sacrifice the smallest amount of their salary in benefit-in-kind tax by choosing the C3 Aircross, although there’s only around Β£70 a year to split all three cars (for those in the 40% tax bracket).

If you do have the wherewithal to pay cash, the C3 Aircross will make the smallest dent in your purse after haggling. The unwillingness of Kia dealers to barter so soon after the Stonic’s launch makes the Korean car the most expensive to buy at the outset. However, factor in all the bills you’re likely to face during three years of ownership, including depreciation, real-world fuel economy, insurance, tax and servicing, and the Arona will actually end up costing you the least. The Stonic remains the most expensive choice in the long run.

As for what you get for your money, there isn’t a great deal to split our trio; all come with alloy wheels, electric windows all round, manual air conditioning, cruise control and dusk-sensing headlights; only the C3 Aircross misses out on rear parking sensors. If personalisation appeals, the Arona stands out because you get a choice of five paint colours, including several metallic ones, along with a contrasting roof, should you want one – all for no extra charge.

Spend an extra Β£250 on your C3 Aircross and you’ll get an Exterior Colour Pack that turns the roof rails and door mirrors orange (as pictured) or white and adds some decals on the rear three-quarter glass area. Disappointingly, the Stonic isn’t available with any personalisation options unless you upgrade to a pricier trim level, while the only standard paint colour is brown.

At the time of writing, none of our contenders had been appraised for safety by Euro NCAP. However, it’s disappointing that the Arona is the only one with automatic emergency braking and driver attention alert (these aids cost extra on the C3 Aircross and Stonic). That said, there is no alarm in the Arona. Both the Arona and C3 Aircross will warn you when you’re about to stray out of your lane, while the latter even displays the speed of the road you’re driving down on the dashboard, so you’ll have no excuse if you get a ticket through the post.

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