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Taking a step back, Citroën have only recently returned to our market after having temporarily withdrawn three years ago when their previous distributor messed up.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 DS4 VTi 120 Style review

Citroën DS4 VTi 120 Style

Citroën DS4 VTi 120 Style

Citroën DS4 VTi 120 Style

Style. This car has style. In fact, she is a stunner. The DS4 just looks sooo good, inside and outside. It really looks like a million bucks in the metal. Pictures do not do it justice. It as if it has been sculpted out of metal.

It is a pity therefore that it does not quite deliver on its promise. Don’t get me wrong. It is a pleasant car to be in and to drive. It just is not the performance car it promises to be from outside.

I could not fault the interior, especially the dash and front seats. It is smart, functional, comfortable and exudes Gallic style. There are a few small niggles though, more of which later. The overall impression is one of quiet luxury.

The DS range has all sorts of tech aids. Blind spot monitoring, extra light when cornering, sound system which adjusts itself to the ambient noise and so on.

Design

Citroën DS4 VTi 120 Style

Citroën DS4 VTi 120 Style

The exterior is stunning. There are very few cars more handsome than the DS4. She is attractive from any angle.

The three quarter view is near perfect.

The VTi 120i, the model we dove, accelerates leisurely through the gears and from a stop. We assume that at altitude the performance would be a little lethargic to say the least. The turbo diesel model packs quite a punch though. If you live on the Highveld consider the diesel or the 2.0 petrol models.

The windscreen extends far up into the roof. There are two sun screens and sliding panels.

The windscreen extends far up into the roof. There are two sun screens and two sliding panels.

Niggles

This car is very good, but not perfect.

The rear windows cannot open and legroom is limited. Space at the back seat is a little cramped. It needs to be thought of as a big two seater with a huge parcel shelf rather than a four seater.

A big problem in summer is the metal bits on the steering wheel and gear knob. They get very hot, making it awkward to change gear or even steer.

Speaking of heat. The air-conditioner does cool the car down eventually but is not a very powerful unit. It blows cool rather than cold.

Summary

Retail price as tested is R340 900. The Sport pack adds R15 000.

Citroën DS4 VTi 120 Style

Citroën DS4 VTi 120 Style

The top model is the automatic diesel HDi 160 Sport at R383 900. The best buy is probably the THP 200 Sport at R370 900.

The 5 year or 100 000km maintenance top-up plan is R24 500.

The warranty is for 3 years or 100 000km and a service plan for 5 years or 100 000km is included.

 

 

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 DS3 VTi 82 vs Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost

Dynamite comes in small packages

The era of small 3 cylinder turbo boosted petrol engine cars has dawned quite quietly. We test two of them, the luxury orientated Citroën DS3 VTi 82 and the practical Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Titanium.

In the previous edition of Your Business we discussed the change in the way we have to look at engines (and especially their capacity) with the introduction of new green technologies. Here we look at two cars which demonstrate this perfectly.

Citroen_ds3_frontishCitroën DS3 VTi 82

The DS range is the chic “upmarket” offering from Citroën. As such the DS3 has all the bells and whistles you would expect in a little luxury car, including cruise control, scented air freshener and automated lights. It does not have hill stop control.

I never quite got the hang of the clutch and gears during the week I drove it. The clutch and the brakes take very high. I assume this is for high heels, as the DS3 is very much a ladies car with in the case of the test car a pretty eye candy two tone purple and white colour scheme.

I did not like the cruise controls and remote audio control hidden behind the wheel. The car has no headroom.

Some of the fit and finish seemed to be decidedly economic. The handles for the seats are flimsy.

Space at the back is suitable only for pre-teens. It is also a mission to get in and out of the back.

The engine is more than adequate with 60kW and 118Nm at 2750rpm.

Fuel consumption is claimed to be 4.5litre /100km, but I only managed 6.5litre /100km.

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost TitaniumFord-Fiesta_tight-frontish

The overall impression of the Fiesta is solid. Build quality appears to be very good. The cabin is pleasant, has good space, headroom, practical cup and other holders and the ergonomics are very good. Aircon works well and the front seats should be adjustable for any size.

The gears, clutch, brakes and steering are all well set up and work as expected.

I particularly liked the hill stop control.

Interestingly the engine switches off when in neutral (at a red traffic light for example) and switches on the moment you press the clutch.

When the turbo kicks in she pulls better than the 1.4 engine it replaces. It’s a joy to drive.

The engine produces 92kW and 170Nm between 1400 and 4500rpm. Thats pretty decent.

Claimed fuel consumption is 4.3litres /100km. I got 6.6litre / 100km.

A little expensive, but if you want to go green, a really good option.

Summary

Citroën DS3 VTi82 costs R199 900  – 3yr 100 000 warranty, 4yr 60 000km service plan

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost costs R231 500 – 4yr 120 000km warranty, 4yr 60 000km service plan

I prefer the Fiesta. To me it is the better car. Smoother gears, better clutch and excellent road manners. It also has more space and feels solid. The Ecoboost engine also packs a punch.

Citroën C4 Aircross review

Citroën C4 Aircross

A few moths ago we wrote about the C4 Aircross when it was released in South Africa. Last week we had the opportunity to drive the 2WD manual version.

In the looks/ style department it is a winner, both inside and out. I just loved it.

Sitting in the driver’s seat (which is very comfortable) almost everything is in the right place . It looks and feels right. Driving around town the car feels almost nippy. It is an excellent town car. The 2.0 petrol engine puts out 110 kW/197 Nm and a combined claimed fuel consumption cycle of 7.7 L/100 km from the five-speed manual or 7.9 L/100 km from the CVT version. I got just under 9 L/100 km.

Driving impressions

In town the Aircross is superb. All the controls are easily to hand and work well. It has a very well mated clutch and gearbox. It is one of those cars which are easy to drive, except for the problem in the niggles section.

Niggles

There are three dodgy aspects to the Aircross we drove. The computer or trip selector button is hidden behind the steering wheel in a slightly awkward position, but I suppose you will get used to it.

Overtaking on the open road needs a little bit of planning. You may have to change down to third to get any real acceleration if you are at altitude. The engine is willing but not completely up to the task of hauling the Aircross effortlessly across the highveld.

The third niggle is the rear axle. It has a nasty tendency to wheel hop which may be caused by many problems, including excessive unsprung weight, insufficient shock damping, or poor torsional axle control.

When we got the car the rear wheels were inflated to in excess of 3 bar. We deflated to 2.2 bar which improved matters but still a horrible clunking can be heard when cornering and driving over corrugations or uneven road surfaces. Not a car for gravel surfaces.

This is a problem you will possibly get used to after a few weeks and not bother you further.

Interior

I personally like the interior. Not too much hard plastic of the grating kind and very pleasant variety in the textures. Well thought out generally. The driving position is very comfortable and the seats are good.

There are all sorts of nooks and crannies to store things. Space inside is satisfactory, from the front to the rear seating with its ample legroom. Luggage space looks fine.

Exterior

This car just has French flair. It is really attractive with well balanced lines. A joy to behold. The C4 Aircross is related to the Mitsubishi ASX and Peugeot 4008 and is built in Japan.

In summary the C4 Aircross is more style than substance. Looking at the car I was impressed. Diving it unfortunately less so.

Prices

2.0i 2WD Attraction R269 900

2.0i 2WD Seduction R294 900

2.0i 2WD Seduction Auto R309 900

2.0i 4WD Exclusive Auto R369 900

All C4’s have a 3 yr/100 000km warranty and  5 yr/100 000km 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