Citroen C3 Aircross makes global debut; India launch in late 2023

    Citroen’s fourth product for India, the Creta-rivalling C3 Aircross SUV, gets both 5- and 7-seater configurations.

    Published On Apr 27, 2023 03:24:00 PM

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    Citroen C3 Aircross exterior
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    The new Citroen C3 Aircross SUV has made its global debut in India and is the brand’s fourth model for India after the eC3C3 hatchback and C5 Aircross SUV. The new C3 Aircross SUV will go on sale in India in the second half of 2023 and will bring in additional traction for Citroen in India. 

    Speaking to Autocar India at the launch, Citroen Brand CEO Thierry Koskas said, “Ours is a progressive growth and you must remember we have 30 dealers, but very soon, we will double that with the Aircross launch and by the end of the year we will have 100.”
    1. C3 Aircross SUV has 90 percent localisation
    2. Gets two seating layouts
    3. 110hp, 1.2-litre turbo-petrol sole engine on offer

    Citroen C3 Aircross platform details

    The C3 Aircross is built on the brand’s CMP modular platform and is the second product in its C Cubed programme that it announced for India. While it shares its C3 moniker, styling cues and powertrain with the C3 hatchback, the Aircross is significantly larger in length and has a longer wheelbase too and will compete in the midsize SUV space.

    Citroen C3 Aircross exterior styling

    While the brand has shared limited details of the new C3 Aircross SUV, we know that it will be 4.3 metres long, which means its length is on par with the Creta. As far as styling is concerned, the C3 Aircross has unmistakable styling cues from the Citroen family, and the C3. However it differs from the hatchback significantly in size with a much larger footprint. 

    Like most Citroens, the logo in the front has been integrated into the grille, which has a two-layer design replete with chrome and piano black inserts. It also gets the Citroen signature Y-Shaped daytime running lamps with the headlamps sitting right under. The Aircross, however, only gets halogen headlamps even in fully-loaded guise while most rivals offer full-LEDs in their top-spec trims. The front bumper is tall and gets its dedicated air intake vent surrounded by round fog lamp enclosures. There’s also a prominent chin finished in brushed aluminium.

     
    In profile, the C3 Aircross gets round wheel arches, and a 2,671mm wheelbase, which is longer than the Creta. It also gets added cladding just below the doors, on the wheel arches and doors, which is similar to other Citroen models. The C3 has 200mm ground clearance, which is more than the Creta. The doors look big, but come with traditional lift-type door handles instead of popular pull-type units. Higher variants will come with dual-tone exterior paint and chunky 17-inch alloy wheels with a stylish X-shaped design. At the back, it gets a large tailgate, tall bumpers with adequate cladding and squarish tail-lamps that, though similar to the smaller C3, are larger in size.
     

    Citroen C3 Aircross interior and tech

    The Citroen C3 Aircross gets not one but two seating options. There will be a standard five-seat iteration along with a three-row layout with a 5+2 seating configuration. As far as cargo room goes, Citroen claims that the 5-seat C3 Aircross offers a 444-litre boot and the 7-seater variant gets 511 litres with the third row folded flat.

    As far as the dashboard design is concerned, it's carried over unchanged from the C3 hatchback, but there are new colours and textures to bring about some differentiation. The 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment remains unchanged too, and continues to be slick in operation with clear graphics and good touch response.

    Notably, the interior does feel like a step up from the C3 hatchback. Citroen has also finally included electric adjustment for the wing mirrors and the all-digital instrument cluster is also much improved over the C3. The graphics are a lot more vivid and crisp and there’s much more information on display as well. The leatherette upholstery and padding on the door armrests on the top-spec trim also add to the feel-good factor.

    However, overall quality and equipment levels are still far behind rivals or what’s normative of the segment. The lack of climate control, even on the top-spec trim, is a huge miss, let alone the fact that manual rotary knobs for the AC feel coarse to use and are not well damped at all. It also misses out on features such as ventilated seats, wireless charging and crucially, a sunroof, which are big attractions for buyers in this segment. Roof-mounted AC vents also mean there isn’t a provision for a sunroof at all.

    Overall build and quality of plastics, too, are not up to class standards – there are plenty of hard surfaces all around the cabin. What’s also a big irritant in the second row is that the rear power window controls are located in between the front seats, and it’s quite a reach to operate them.

    Overall space, however, is decent and the seats are comfortable too. The third row, however, is best left to kids or for short journeys. The rear quarter glass area is too small to even be called a window, the seatback is quite upright and you sit in a knees-up position. You do have a couple of USB chargers to keep your devices juiced up and two small cup holders.

    Citroen C3 Aircross engine, gearbox

    The C3 Aircross comes with a sole 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine that is good for 110hp and 190Nm of torque. This is the same powerplant that does duty in the C3 too. As far as gearbox options go, the C3 Aircross will go on sale with a six-speed manual initially. There will also be an automatic, although our sources indicate that Citroen is struggling to secure units from supplier Aisin. However, there will be no diesel engine on offer which is still a popular fuel choice in this segment. 

    The C3 Aircross's sole petrol engine on offer is comparable with the entry-level, naturally aspirated petrol engines of its rivals, or the 1.0-litre turbo-petrols on the VW-Skoda duo. All rivals additionally offer larger displacement turbo-petrol engines with a lot more power on tap, or even hybrid powertrains as in the Grand Vitara and Urban Cruiser Hyryder. 

     

    Citroen, however, is confident of its powertrain. “The engine is really great and there is no need for a more powerful engine, and even when you test it against competitors, you will find we are really well placed,” said Koskas.

    What will, however, be unique to the C3 Aircross is that it will get an all-electric powertrain at a later stage, just like the C3 hatchback. The company claims that it has managed to package the batteries cleverly, so even the all-electric variant can be offered with three-rows of seats.

    Citroen C3 Aircross rivals, price and launch timeline

    The C3 Aircross, upon launch, will compete with well-established rivals like the Hyundai Creta, the Kia Seltos, the Maruti Grand Vitara, the Toyota Hyryder, the Volkswagen Taigun and the Skoda Kushaq. Price announcement for the C3 Aircross will take place in the second half of this year. Given that the Aircross is light on features and comes with a smaller and less powerful engine than its rivals, aggressive pricing will be key in luring buyers. This, afterall, is one of most fiercely fought segments in the market with nearly every major manufacturer having an appreciable share of the pie. We could expect the C3 Aircross to be priced between Rs 9.00 - 15.00 lakh. 

    Also see:

    Citroen C3 Aircross image gallery

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