The uncomplicated seven-inch touchscreen is used to operate the dual air con, radio, telephone and sat-nav controls. While we would prefer to operate the HVAC using physical buttons and dials rather than prodding at a screen, it is simply not available for love nor money. Just one USB socket is located in the area at the bottom of the centre console alongside a 12V socket.
The sat-nav features connected 3D navigation with voice recognition. Citroën’s Connect Nav is a new-generation navigation system that comes with connected services such as TomTom Traffic, for real-time traffic information, service station and car park localisation and prices, weather information, and a local point-of-interest search function. There is also an accident blackspot warning.
Another noteworthy fitment is the Citroën Connect Box. Incorporating Citroën’s Emergency & Assistance system, this piece of equipment links to a specialised assistance platform in the event of a breakdown or accident.
Small SUV, big boot
There are plenty of cubby holes to stash stuff, including a wireless smartphone charging area on the central console. A ‘penholder’ space on the passenger side of the dash can accommodate slim objects such as keys, pens and coins. The front door pockets have enough room for 1.5-litre bottles of water. Rear passengers have extra storage spaces behind the front seats although the door panel storage bins are on the small side. The central section of the rear seats can fold down to create an armrest with cup holders. This also features a ski flap for carrying long objects.
The boot’s standard volume of 410 litres can be increased to 520 litres with the rear sliding 60/40-split seat bench pushed to the fully forward position. The total load volume with the rear seats folded flat is 1,289 litres. The boot liner features a removable (false boot floor) luggage shelf that can be stored in a vertical position behind the rear seat bench when loading taller objects. The dual-height boot floor provides the option of a flat floor with the rear seatbacks folded down.
Customers can choose from a trio of specifications in the new model range: C-Series, Shine and Shine Plus.
C-Series: The re-designed centre console provides enhanced stowage and cup holders, and the Graphite Grey upholstery combines with white stitching and satin chrome trim for a premium feel. Infotainment features include a six-speaker infotainment system with DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity, all controlled via a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Shine: The Mica Grey cloth upholstery and chrome trim feature inside. Practicality is enhanced by the ‘Flex Load / Pull Out’ boot floor, while connectivity is boosted by a larger nine-inch infotainment touchscreen with Citroën Connect Nav (includes a three-year subscription to Real Time Traffic and alerts). Advanced safety is provided by Active Safety Brake with Forward Collision Alert (see below).
Shine Plus: Front parking sensors and a rear vision camera aid low-speed manoeuvring, while keyless entry and start deliver enhanced convenience. Practicality is boosted by a flat-folding front passenger seat and sliding 60/40 split rear bench. The folding front passenger seat gives the model a maximum load length of 2.40m – ideal for transporting long objects such as furniture and sports equipment.
Advanced driver assistance systems
In terms of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), the C3 Aircross is available with rear reversing camera, an active parking assistance system (for parallel and perpendicular parking), an active safety brake (with a sound and visual alert to reduce the risk of frontal impact, plus the ability for the system to brake in place of the driver), lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring system, speed sign recognition, intelligent beam headlights and driver assistance alert. The latter monitors driver behaviour using the multi-function camera on the upper part of the windscreen and alerts them to potential fatigue. This system assesses the driver’s attention level by comparing the direction of travel relative to the road markings. The C3 is also equipped with a ‘coffee brake alert’ that recommends a break if driving non-stop for two hours at speeds over 43mph.
It is not often that we come across polycarbonate (PC) glazing on cars but the C3 has some. Compared to the shape limitations of glass, PC glazing is highly versatile. It is also lighter by as much as 50 per cent and has high impact resistance. Suppliers claim that a total weight reduction of more than 20kg is possible when replacing all glass windows (except the windscreen) for a standard minivan. The lighter weight of PC glazing is not the only benefit, however. Automakers can now consider 3D-shaped windows using PC along with innovative designs, locations and new opening and closing mechanisms.
The C3 Aircross incorporates PC rear quarter windows, distinguished by a ‘Venetian blind’ white film print. Previewed on the C-Aircross Concept, it creates a graphic contrast on the C-pillar while concealing the inside of the car’s boot from prying eyes.
The PC glazing part is produced and supplied by Freeglass GmbH. In late 2007, Saint-Gobain acquired the share of Freeglass GmbH that it did not own from its joint venture partner Schefenacker German Holding for an undisclosed sum. The Freeglass venture has become well known in Europe as the supplier of PC glazing for the Smart ForTwo.
On the road
Our press review C3 Aircross Shine Plus features plenty of kit to keep all occupants connected and comfortable on short and long journeys. Its ace card is the cavernous space available for carrying people and luggage. While there are lots of scratchy interior plastics, we have come to expect that in this segment regardless of the brand. Rival models include the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Vauxhall Crossland. Voila.