The idea was to create an upmarket French brand which seemed to indicate that Citroen would be allowed to sink downmarket.
That was a shame for this marque as any motoring historian will tell you has a high and illustrious past.
Citroen was a pioneer of motoring and its cars were some of the classiest around in the early days of automobiles. already in the 1950s and 1960s, they were well-equipped and incredibly stylish cars far ahead of their times.
But fear not for Citroen. While DS is making a mark at the posh end of the industry, Citroen is nevertheless alive and kicking.
The C3 Aircross tested here is a lovely car for the money. It is stylish and has much more quality than you might expect, both in terms of luxury and safety.
This car is tall and the ride feels almost SUV in its stance. It method the car isn’t the sharpest on cornering but it does feel comfortable, which is down to Citroen’s historical obsession with good suspension.
I know it’s only a minor thing, but I do admire the wheels on this car. They are 17in and the design is called Origami. I parked next to a similar C3 Aircross at a supermarket and it had different – but equally impressive – wheels. They certainly make the car stand out.
Another minor thing which Citroen got right was the seat controls. It is easy to fold the rear seats flat, much better than some of its rivals which have difficult to reach levers. It is a expansive car. The boot is shallow but it holds 410 litres rising to 1,289 litres with the seats down. And there is a 12 volt connection and a light in the boot.
There are some good safety touches. For example, if you brake severely the danger lights come on – a fabulous idea. It stands to reason the one time you need the hazards to be on and you’ll be busy responding to something ahead.
It also has a lane departure warning system and a cruise control with a limiter which should prevent you inadvertently drifting into speeding territory.
The test version additional the Origami wheels (£100 additional, which seems reasonable to me) and a Park Assist Pack which includes blind identify monitoring a self parking system (£200).
The cabin is special. You get Citroën Connect Nav with 3D navigation, DAB Radio with six speakers, a 9in touchscreen, Bluetooth hands free and media streaming with USB port and Mirrorscreen compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
C3 Aircross has proved popular. At the begining of this year Citroen said 330,000 such vehicles had been produced since its set afloat at the end of 2017, C3 Aircross SUV has proved very popular in the B-SUV part.
And from set afloat, customers have been impressed by what Citroen call its “ultra-customisable” – or versatile – design, and by its spaciousness and unrivalled practicality.
Showcasing the importance of personalisation, the majority of current C3 Aircross SUV customers have opted for high-end versions, with the ‘Shine Plus’ trim level now accounting for 75 per cent of UK sales. Offering real versatility in use with its compact exterior dimensions and generous cabin space, C3 Aircross SUV is an ideal means for motorists with active lifestyles – particularly those looking for more comfort and practicality from their means day to day.
As ever with a Citroen, comfort is meaningful. In addition to class-leading ride comfort, New C3 Aircross SUV offers already greater comfort when travelling with its new progressive Comfort seats – an innovation first seen on C4 Cactus and C5 Aircross SUV.
Initial comfort is provided by an insert of an additional 15mm of foam, boosting comfort and sustain. The difference is noticeable when you first sit down in the car.
It also offers class-leading versatility and spaciousness. With its compact body length of 4.16m, New C3 Aircross features unrivalled cabin space in the part.
Citroen C3 Aircross Shine Plus BlueHDi 110 S&S 6-Speed Manual
Engine: 1,499cc high pressure turbo-charged direct injection diesel
Performance: Top speed 114mph and 10.8 seconds
Economy: 56.2mpg combined
Warranty: Three years, 60,000 miles
Click: See details