Citroën is back in 2020

Just when you thought the car market was settling down to enjoy burning fossil fuels for the last lap before the new technology takes over a beloved old marque returns to our shores for a third time. The Citroën brand has officially re-launched in South Africa after exiting the country at the end of 2016. This may have something to do with the new assembly plant in Namibia or with Brexit, or both. Time will tell.

This time as part of the PSA group and as a sister brand to Peugeot and as such will be serviced at any Peugeot Accredited Dealership nationwide.

Style and space seem to be the cornerstones of the new range. The cars certainly look a little different.
The range initially includes three model lines: the C3 hatchback, C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross.

For peace of mind a five-year/100 000 km service plan is included across the range, along with a warranty of the same length. Citroën will share dealership space with its sister brand, Peugeot.

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C3 hatchback

“With its unique body style, personalised features and connectivity, the new C3 is a bold, fresh, modern car. It illustrates the ongoing Citroën product offensive!” said Xavier Peugeot, Citroën Brand Product Director

The C3 is built on the PSA Group A platform and includes a lot of tech like advanced driver assistance systems for lane departure alert and driver attention alert as well as a coffee break alert.

Mirror screen technology duplicates the driver’s smartphone screen directly on the vehicle’s central screen, whether Android or Apple.

The C3 line-up has a pair of 1,2-litre three-cylinder petrol engines, the first offering a naturally aspirated flavoured 60 kW and118 Nm linked to a five-speed manual gearbox and the other a turbocharged engine with 81 kW and 205 Nm mated with a six-speed automatic box.

The manual comes in Feel specification for R239 900, while the automatic is offered in Shine trim (for R289 900). Three body colours will be available – White, Platinum Grey and Sand – each in combination with a red roof.

C3 Aircross

The C3 Aircross, also comes in a choice of three colours: Platinum Grey, Soft Sand and Natural White, complete with “Spicy Orange” trim. There are two variants: Feel and Shine, both using the turbocharged 81 kW version of the 1,2-litre petrol engine linked to a six-speed auto box as standard.

Citroën’s Advanced Comfort® programme for enhanced spaciousness, modular design and brightness is a key element of the Aircross.

The C3 Aircross will cost you R339 900 in Feel trim and R359 900 in Shine.

C5 Aircross

The C5 Aircross SUV is Citroën’s new flagship and a key lever for the international growth of the brand,” says Linda Jackson, Citroën CEO.

The C5 Aircross, which comes in two forms and in three colours, Arctic Steel, Pearlescent White or Platinum Grey). The base model Feel costs R469 900 while the flagship Shine costs R509 900. Both employ the PSA 1,6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 121 kW and 240 Nm via a six-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.

Citroën claims the new C5 Aircross SUV is the most comfortable model in its segment, thanks to the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme, Progressive Hydraulic Cushions® suspension and Advanced Comfort seats. Hydraulic buffers at either end of the suspension setup have all but eliminated bounce from the car’s drive, they say. This could be quite a big deal.

Aircross is highly modular with three individual sliding, folding and reclining rear seats, and best-in-class boot space. With the seats folded down there is 1 630 L, up from the 520 litres of space with seats and as far back as possible. Citroen says it has aimed for maximum practicality, building in cubby holes and stowage spaces all around the cabin.
There’s space inside for five adults.

The Citroën brand has always stood for technical and design innovation and quirky looks. It is the brand for someone who wants something a little different, a little chic.
Vive le difference!

Citroën C3 Aircross Feel Compact SUV

The French connection is here once more. Saucy Citroën is showing a bit of leg again as it were.

Citroën C3 Aircross Feel Compact SUV at Audacia on the R44 near Somerset West.

The first of their three new models which we are looking at is the Citroën C3 Aircross which is based on the C3 supermini but with a longer wheelbase and of course a taller stance. It is interesting just how many people said it looks like a Mini to them.

Taking a step back, Citroën have only recently returned to our market after having temporarily withdrawn three years ago when their previous distributor messed up. They are now taking advantage of being part of the big Peugeot – Citroën – Opel group and piggybacking on the existing Peugeot dealer network and spares infrastructure. The Aircross is built at an Opel factory in Spain.

“With its unique body style, personalised features and connectivity, the new C3 is a bold, fresh, modern car. It illustrates the ongoing Citroën product offensive,” said Xavier Peugeot, Citroën Brand Product Director.

The C3 aircross has got good space for this niche and has the largest boot in the segment with a standard volume of 410 litres which can be increased to 520 litres thanks to the split rear sliding seats. The boot is fairly easily accessible via the large-opening tailgate and benefits from a low loading sill.

Total load volume with the rear seats folded down is 1 289 litres.

A nice touch is the dual-height boot floor which provides a flat floor when the rear seats are folded down.

We drove the base or Feel version, which is still a well equipped vehicle. Standard kit includes alloys, LED running lights, cruise, air con, and USB phone mirroring. It runs on 16-inch alloy wheels.

If you need or want navigation (but don’t want to use your phones), keyless entry and start, park assist, 17” wheels and optional sunroof consider the Shine model for around R20 000 more than the Feel trim level we tested, although I think the Feel hits the sweet spot.

The Mirror Screen function including Android Auto, Apple Car Play™ and MirrorLink® lets you take advantage of the multimedia content and apps of your smartphone in safety, by duplicating them onto the 7-inch touch screen for easy use.

This new-generation navigation function comes with connected services such as TomTom Traffic, for real-time traffic information, service station and car park location and prices, weather forecasts, and a local point-of-interest search function.

Annoyingly you have to use the touch screen every time you want to adjust the air conditionioning.

I thought the materials used, layout and seats is geared to make you feel at home. The interior is pleasant and the seats feel comfortable.

The Aircross has decent ground clearance and soft long-travel suspension, with the weight over the driving wheels giving acceptable handling and road holding. The three-cylinder 81kW 1.2 L turbo-petrol mill coupled to a new 6-speed automatic transmission is a little noisy at times but does provide adequate power and fuel consumption of just under 9 L/100km, although Citroën claims 6,5 L/100km.

Citroën C3 Aircross Feel Compact SUV

This car does better in and around town than on sweeping mountain passes, but is a cinch to park and manoeuvre in tight spaces.

The Citroën C3 Aircross Feel is listed at R339 900. The Shine is  R359 900. Included in the price is a 5-year or 100 000 km warranty and service plan, courtesy car, guaranteed parts basket and licence renewal reminder.

The Opel Crossland is in fact a sister model to the Aircross. Also look at the Renault Captur, Nissan Juke, New Hyundai Kona, Suzuki Vitara, Kia Stonic and VW T-cross.

Citroën C4 Aircross HDI review

Citroen Aircross Diesel 004 Citroën C4 Aircross HDI

Interesting cars. Citroëns.

Take the Aircross.


The Aircross is a very economical, smallish, high riding station wagon. The ideal car for business and family. Although it is a small station wagon it looks like an SUV.

The Aircross is about versatility. It has very good use of space so for example with the rear seats in place you get 384 litres of boot. With the rear seats folded forwards additional loading volume is available.

There is a choice of 2.0petrol, 1.6 turbo diesel, manual or CVT. You also get a CVT petrol 4×4.

Citroen Aircross diesel

Citroen Aircross diesel

All Aircross models come with high specification levels including multifunction trip computer, daylight running lights, multifunction steering wheel EBD and front airbags. The basic trim is called Attraction and is well specced. The top Exclusive trim is fully equipped from Xenon lights to climate controlAs with all Citroëns theses cars come with a full safety suite and five star rating.

The interior is very pleasant. The front seats are fully adjustable and comfortable. There is a certain flare and almost charm about the cabin. . Needless to say there are numerous storage compartments and cup holders.

The Aircross is a handsome car with beautifully balanced lines.

Citroën claim a combined fuel consumption under 5 litres/100km for the diesel. Expect under 7 l/100km, even in town. The petrol models are also very frugal and should give you a figure around 8 l/100km.

With the automatic (CVT) model acceleration is laboured unless you go to manual mode. The ride quality is betwixt and between. Because the Aircross rides a little higher than a normal car it tends to sway and pitch a bit to the point where one could feel carsick. I feel the ride borders on harsh and the tyres generate more road noise than they should.

Citroen Aircross diesel

Citroen Aircross diesel

It is an excellent size car. Not too small, not too big. A good compromise between an economical size and a useful one.

The range starts with the 2.0 2wd Attraction petrol atR308 900. The base automatic is R355 900. AWD starts at R382 900 for the HDi 115 Comfort diesel. The top model is the 2.0i 4wd Exclusive automatic at R405 900.

The competition includes all the SUV crossover little station wagons like the Ford Kuga, Renault Duster, VW Tiguan and so on. It is not off-road capable.

All models come standard with 3 year or 100 000km warranty and 5 year or 100 000 service plan.

Citroën C4 Aircross

Citroën’s latest addition to their local line-up takes the famous French company into a new segment in South Africa – the rapidly growing compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) market.

Although there have been Citroën station wagons in South Africa before there has never been an SUV. The newcomer, the C4 Aircross, is a compact five-seater with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive with three trim and equipment levels: Attraction, Seduction and Exclusive.

All models are powered by a 2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine developing 113kW of power and 198Nm of torque. The Attraction and Seduction models are equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, while the Seduction and the range-topping Exclusive are available with a continuously variable “automatic” transmission.

The intelligent 4WD on demand system is available on the range topping Exclusive model. It senses wheel slip and adjusts the split of power optimally between the front and rear wheels for maximum traction. The centre differential can be locked in really tough conditions to provide a 50:50 split between the drive to the front and rear wheels.

LED daytime running lights on the Seduction and Exclusive models are integrated vertically into aerodynamic vents and make a vertical light signature, visible by day and night, in the same way as it does with the DS3 and C1 models. The rear windows are dark tinted.

This new model features a raised driving position giving a clear view of the road, with the controls and instruments ranged around the driver in an efficient, ergonomic fashion. The steering wheel houses controls for the audio system on all models, with cruise control and Bluetooth hands free telephone operation on Seduction and Exclusive models.

A multi-function onboard computer provides the driver with information regarding the current and average fuel consumption, range on remaining fuel, average speed and distance covered.

Comfort and convenience features include manual air conditioning on the Attraction, with climate control in the other variants, together with automatic switching of the headlights and windscreen wipers, rear parking sensors.

The big appeal of the interior is its spaciousness. Besides up to five occupants it houses a host of storage compartments. The large glovebox is lit and chilled (by the automatic air conditioning), while the front and rear armrests have two cup holders each.

A 12V socket, USB port and auxiliary audio jack are all included in the standard specification on the top two variants. The audio streaming function allows music stored on a Smartphone or compatible audio drive to be played through the audio system using a wireless Bluetooth connection.

The front seats provide excellent support and are multi-way adjustable. The rear seat backrest has two rake positions, while the rear seat backrests are split 60:40 and can be folded flat to increase luggage space, which is already generous at 384 litres with a full size spare wheel chosen especially for local road conditions and consumer demand.

A large, glazed panoramic sunroof with UV protection and a one-touch electric blind is an optional extra on the Seduction and Exclusive models. It not only lets the occupants enjoy a view of the sky and adds to the feeling of spaciousness, but at night there are LED lights built into the guides of the sunroof that turn it amber. This novel ambient lighting can be adjusted for brightness of turned off.

The running gear of the C4 Aircross has been fine tuned to provide the ride comfort one expects from a vehicle bearing the Citroën logo, while still providing very good road holding.

The front suspension is of the Macpherson strut type with a coil-sprung multi-link system at the rear that incorporates a substantial (18mm diameter) anti-roll bar. Steering is by an electrically-assisted system. The Attraction and Seduction variants are fitted with 16” Flinders-style alloy wheels, while the Exclusive gets 18” Kanji-style wheels.

Anti-skid ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA) are standard on all models, while the Exclusive also get an electronic stability programme (ESP) with hill start assist.

All models have front fog lamps, while the Exclusive is fitted with Xenon headlamps. Headlamps are manually adjustable in the Attraction and Seduction variants and automatically adjusted on the Exclusive.

“The Citroen C4 Aircross is the first foray for Citroen into the compact SUV market on South African soil as a segment of vehicles that currently reflects the second highest growth percentage behind the B segment. As a country which shows a buying bias towards SUV, this product is significant and essential to place Citroen on the map and thus a fundamental access card into the South African buying psyche,” says Grant Bowring GM Marketing for Citroen South Africa.

“With a booming compact SUV segment, the timing could not have been better to capitalise and further strengthen our position and build on the exciting products within the Citroen stable that have graced our shores in recent years. The introduction of a compact SUV has worked remarkably well for many Brands locally and we believe the C4 Aircross will allow us to reap the benefits that this type of vehicle is reflecting in our market.”
The Citroën Aircross range is covered by a 3-year/100 000km warranty and a 5 year 100 000km service plan with the option to upgrade the warranty to 5-years/100 000km, while FreeDrive, includes the extended warranty and also incorporates a 100 000km maintenance plan.

Pricing: (including VAT)
2.0i Man Attraction 2WD                   R269 900
2.0i Man Seduction 2WD                  R294 900
2.0i CVT Seduction 2WD                  R309 900
2.0i CVT Exclusive 4WD                   R369 900