This is a tale of two cars that might appeal differently to certain buyers in how they go about their businesses.
Built by the folks at Citroen, the C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross models were launched in 2019 when the local arm of the French marque relaunched in SA after exiting the market back in 2016.
I had the opportunity to sample both of them back to back and I was left impressed with how both cars attested themselves.
My colleague Ntlhe was left slightly disappointed with the range-opening C3 in Feel guise, uncomfortable seats and sluggish powerplant yet a very good-looking piece of metal.
The subcompact C3 Aircross is like what the Cross Polo is to the Volkswagen brand and it somehow rectifies the flaws left by the C3 model.
It boasts a raised ground clearance, high-set driving position, large 17-inch wheels as well as roof bars.
There is just nothing wrong with the C3 Aircross in the Shine trim that my test unit came in. Styling is on point, however, it takes a few glances to get used to its looks.
The interior has a somehow funky element such as the colours on the dash and seats.
The C3’s seven-inch infotainment system carries over and comes with on-board Navigation and Apple CarPlay functionality.
Space inside the C3 Aircross is nothing to worry about as it accommodates five passengers with so much ease. There is plenty of head and legroom, thanks to the increased dimensions of the vehicle.
Boot space is measured at 410 litres and if you think that is not enough, sliding the rear bench forward expands it to 520 litres (on Shine model only). Total load volume with the rear seats folded down is an impressive 1 289 litres.
In terms of driving, the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 81 kW and 205 Nm delivers adequate shove while the six-speed auto box is smooth yet can get jerky under slow-moving traffic.
It picks up speed with so much ease. The steering is direct, you get an idea of what the front wheels are up to.
The Citroen C3 Aircross is priced from R345 900.
With regards to the C5 Aircross Shine, this model tops the entire range of Citroen range and I must say, it remains my absolute favourite till this day. It has impressive space which is normally what buyers of SUV often look for when wanting to buy a car.
It comes with three individual slidings, folding and reclining rear seats plus a boot measured at 520-litres to 720-litres (depending on second-row seat position).
The seats fold down to provide a perfectly flat floor thanks to the dual-level boot floor. It also offers ample storage space, with its central armrest, its glove compartment, panoramic roof, and its wide door pockets.
The Citroën C5 Aircross gets a bigger eight-inch touchscreen that incorporates USB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Aux input.
Unlike the C3 Aircross, the C5 Aircross employs a 1.6 THP turbocharged petrol engine with 121 kW of power and 240 Nm of torque coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox.
On the road, the C5 Aircross shines in this department. It is comfortable, thanks to Citroën’s Advanced Comfort package, which includes ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushions’ on each shock absorber to help keep suspension controlled and give the SUV a pillow-soft ride and Citroën got it right.
The engine offers adequate shove with strong pulling power in all six gears.
In the safety department, the C5 Aircross comes equipped with Park Sensors, Coffee Break Alert, Keyless Entry and Starting, Electric Parking brake, Reversing camera with rear 180°camera, Fog lights with static corner function, Active Safety Brake, Active Lane Departure Warning System, Driver Attention Assist, Active Blind Spot Monitoring and Hill Start Assist.
The C5 Aircross is priced from R474 900.
- Design is spot on
- Responsive engines
- Competitors offer better options
What I think
Competition is stiff in the segment where the C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross are. Rivals may offer better alternatives than the French folks do but it all comes down to what puts a smile on your face and I do not see anything wrong with these two cars. If your budget fits, then go for them.
This article first appeared on @Whipdt