VIVA LA DIFFERENCE: CITROEN C3 AIRCROSS SETS STANDARD FOR SMALL SUVS
The Citroen C3 Aircross is much more than a beefed-up version of the standard C3 hatchback. It’s a highly competent small SUV, says Paul Connolly
WHAT’S NEW? This car is new, actually. The C3 Aircross is a new model – a small Suv/crossover from Citroen C3 hatchback family that replaces the earlier C3 Picasso, a small and once-loved people carrier.
Rivals include the likes of Hyundai Kona and Kia Stonic, but they need to watch out: the C3 Aircross is a formidable competitor.
However, there are new features like the higher driving position, improved driving dynamics, better gearbox and other features that make it, in my opinion, superior to its C3 sibling. LOOKS AND DESIGN From the front, it shares many attributes of the C3 hatch, but it’s when you look at the vehicle as a whole that you’ll notice the difference.
Mercifully, Citroen has seen the error of its ways and there are no ‘airbumps’ on the side of the doors as seen on ‘Cactus’ models (although apparently Citroen has promised Cactus fans that airbumps are not dead).
The car is rough and chunky, in a petite sort of way, with heavily-trimmed wheel arches and a square, planted stance. The look is eye-catching and appealing in a funky-ish sort of way.
Citroen is on a bit of a design roll these days, and you’ll appreciate the stylish colour combinations – eight colours and three exterior roof colour packs. Continued on Page 2 >>
My review car was a funky Passion Red, with an Ink Black roof and matching wing mirrors and bumpers.
BEHIND THE WHEEL Citroen has gifted the C3 Aircross with two main engines, petrol and diesel, in a variety of outputs, all of which do the job very well.
This is a family crossover, so don’t expect huge power and performance. Nevertheless the units serve the car well.
The Flair S&S trim test car came with a three-cylinder 1.2-litre Puretech 110 petrol powerplant; it’s a direct injection turbo affair with max power at 5,500 revs and torque of 205NM at 1,500rpm.
Mated to this was a 5-speed, all-synchromesh, manual gearbox. All in, the engine pulled well, the gears were slick and easy, and overall handling was grippy and confident.
The stats don’t really do it jus-
electric child locks, coffee break alert, opening panoramic roof, park assist pack, start-stop, grip control and urban red ambiance to name but a few.
Talking of the ambience, this refers to the interior styling, often two-tone, and there are four others: Metropolitan Grey, Hype Mistral, Hype Colorado and Standard, each with their own colours and textures.
There are three trim levels: Touch, Feel and Flair, with prices ranging from £14,700 to £17,995.
The cost of our SUV Flair S&S Puretech 110 test car, fully loaded with extras, is £20,490.
THE latest version of the farmers’ favourite pick-up, the Isuzu D-max, has now arrived in Northern Ireland showrooms and looks set to continue the model’s ascendancy in agricultural communities and homes and workplaces across the country. Isuzu have taken an already excellent vehicle with a hard won reputation for reliability, workrate and value for money, and improved it still further.
Already crowned 2018’s Pick-up of the Year this latest model now has trailer sway control as standard, a welcome addition to an already high standard specification which includes hill start assist and descent control to ensure maximum safety (particularly beneficial for newcomers to towing). Renowned for its legendary pulling abilities D-max 4x4 hauls a class-leading 3.5 tonnes, and importantly the unladen weight is below 2040kgs thereby avoiding the frustrating 50mph limit imposed on much heavier pick-ups from Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen.
There’s a redesigned rear suspension engineered from stronger materials and 10kgs lighter, improving ride quality and comfort, and reducing cabin noise levels. Three striking new exterior colours join the line-up, and inside there’s an improved premium feel with lots of clever soft-touch finishes and attention to detailing. The new D-max range is powered by the same tremendously capable 1.9 turbo diesel that has benefitted from over a century of Isuzu research and development, requiring no Adblue to surpass emissions regulations and avoiding all the frustrations of Adblue limp-mode, environmental hazards, mess and additional expense that the additive brings to less well engineered competitors. D-max’s clever variable chamber turbo design spools up quickly to eliminate lag, and fuel economy exceeds 40mpg (combined).
Isuzu only build commercial vehicles, manufacturing more diesel engines than any other brand globally. Turn the key, hitch up your trailer, and it shows. Drive is through 6 speed automatic or 6 speed manual gearboxes – with both transmissions delivering a pleasing amount of engine braking. Married to a steel outrigger chassis there’s no doubting Isuzu build a superior pick-up and 2WD/4WD and Hi/lo ratios are standard across the range.
Don’t take our word for how capable the Isuzu D-max is, contact your local Isuzu NI dealer and ask for an invite to their VIP launch preview tomorrow Thursday 16th August, 4pm through 9pm. (Call 03303 118 385 for local centre). There are special offers on servicing, accessories, used vehicles and surprises on the night, including a £1,000 voucher for any new D-max retailed at the event.
Isuzu dealers stock a wide range of accessories to tailor your pick-up to your exact specifications, and a diverse range of canopies is available for every need. With a five year/125,000 mile warranty, and five year Euro Roadside Assist for complete peace of mind everywhere on this island and much further afield, if you’re in the market for a new pick-up then be sure to visit your local Isuzu D-max specialists tomorrow night.
Don’t forget to tell your dealer the “Belfast Telegraph” sent you!