Citroen is pacing up its operations in India. After bringing the C3 hatchback, the brand introduced the SUV version of the same vehicle last year. But the automatic transmission, which has now become very important in the Indian market was missing. The brand has now added the transmission to the C3 AirCross and we drove it around to bring you a first drive experience.
Citroen C3 AirCross: What has changed?
While manufacturers do not leave a chance to add features to their vehicles, the C3 AirCross is fairly new in the market. That’s why the car looks identical to the manual version of the vehicle. There are no changes, not even an automatic badge on the vehicle.
On the inside, the same story continues. No changes in the cabin too. We did a brief review of the Citroen C3 AirCross manual last year and you can check out the video to know all about the vehicle’s detailed looks, space and features.
So the only change in the vehicle is an addition of a torque convertor automatic transmission and a new remote feature that you can operate through a smartphone.
Citroen C3 AirCross: How is it to drive?
The new Citroen C3 AirCross gets the 6-speed transmission from Aisin. The gearbox is connected to the same 1.2-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine. Although the power remains at 110hp, the torque has increased to 205Nm, which is 15Nm more than the MT. The powertrain feels smooth and refined, pulling steadily all the way to the redline. The three-cylinder noise though is quite vocal, especially as it nears the redline.
The gearbox responds well to partial throttle inputs, showing eagerness in its response. However, during highway driving when you need a quick overtaking maneuver, pressing the accelerator is met with a moment of hesitation before it finally downshifts and accelerates. Driving it around the city, it feels alright and sufficient.
The C3 Aircross AT provides the option of manual control for the gearbox. Instead of paddleshifters on the steering wheel, it offers a tiptronic function on the gear lever. The manual shifter works effectively, allowing you to keep the engine in the optimal power range when needed.
The steering feedback of the C3 Aircross is another positive, especially in the city. It’s nice, light, and easy to turn in traffic. As you pick up speed, it becomes more substantial, providing the confidence and feedback you need. The C3 Aircross excels in ride and handling, making it one of the best riding SUVs in its class. It handles low speeds impressively, smoothly navigating rough edges, speed breakers and potholes. This set-up makes the C3 Aircross a comfortable ride. However, it maintains good straight-line stability and inspires confidence in bends. The C3 Aircross retains its attractive appearance with French flair both inside and outside.
The car comes with start-stop function but it starts the engine again as soon as you shift the mode from Drive to Park. The brakes also did not feel sharp in our media unit. Although, the brand has not fiddle with them in any way.
However, there’s a shortfall in terms of equipment. While it offers a 10.2-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone integration and a digital instrument cluster, it lacks features like a sunroof, ventilated seats, auto climate control, which are becoming standard in the segment.
The seats in the Citroen are comfortable, and finding the ideal driving position is easy. The second-row space is generous for six-footers, with a reclining backrest. The optional third row is tight and best suited for children or adults on short drives. Interestingly, the third-row seats can be completely removed, freeing up 511 litres of luggage space or used as picnic chairs. However, noticeable cost-cutting measures, such as simple door handles, a basic key, the absence of individual window controls for the rear, and chunky AC knobs, might not appeal to everyone.
Should you chose one for yourself?
No, if you want a feature-rich, plush cabin. However, if you’re looking for a smooth engine and transmission pairing, space, this can be your choice. But Citroen is yet to announce the price of the new C3 AirCross Automatic. We hope that the prices are very aggressive to take on the competition, which are loaded with features.