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C4 Aircross does the job in style

QUICK TEST: Citroën C4 Aircross HDi 115 Seduction

Sharing is caring, as the old adage goes, and this is hugely apparent in the motoring world where car companies are constantly forming alliances and sharing platforms.

The C4 Aircross has some distinctive design touches.

Citroën's answer to the Sportage clan, the C4 Aircross, is a case in point.

Rather than basing it on the C4 hatch, Citroën went the alliance route for a dedicated crossover product and as a result the Aircross (along with its Peugeot 4008 sibling) shares its platform and most of its bits and pieces with the Mitsubishi ASX.

Despite this, Citroën did a good enough job in setting it apart on the outside with a totally unique front end, snazzy boomerang taillights and an “inverted shark fin” C-pillar design that creates the impression of a floating roof.

PERKY DIESEL

From late last year, the Aircross has also set itself apart from its Mitsubishi and Peugeot brothers by offering the option of a turbodiesel engine.

This comes in the form of a 1.6-litre unit that delivers 84kW at 3600rpm and a decent 270Nm from the 1750 mark. While none of that sounds earth-shattering, the little engine does punch above its weight to offer meaty performance in the urban jungle and acceptable grunt on the open road.

Citroën claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 4.6 litres per 100km and urban sipping rate of 5.3 l/100km, but as with all cars we've tested the real world begged to differ and our one averaged in the region of 8.0 l/100km in a mostly-urban cycle. That's still not too bad by any means, given that this is a crossover-type vehicle.

Although its 200mm ground clearance will keep you in good stead on rough dirt paths, the lack of an all-wheel drive option in the diesel model does limit its ultimate off-road potential. Like most models in its segment, drive is through the front wheels, via a smooth-shifting six-speed manual gearbox.

The Aircross offers a comfortable driving experience all round, with a smooth-enough ride quality and neat, predictable road holding.

PRACTICAL

The diesel model is sold with the mid-spec Seduction trim level. Though you don't get leather seats or a touch-screen, it is otherwise generously equipped with features like cruise control, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers as well as a six-speaker audio system. On the safety front, it comes with ESP stability control as well as seven airbags, including one for the driver's knees.

At the helm, its Mitsubishi ASX origins become blatantly clear and while there is an upside in the 'carved-from-granite' feel of solidity, it does lack some of the design pizzazz you'd expect from a Citroën product.

It is rather practical though, the cabin offering loads of rear legroom and a rear bench that reclines for long-journey naps. The boot is a little tighter than you might expect in this type of vehicle, with a total volume of 384 litres, but that is partly because local models have a full-sized spare wheel.

VERDICT

The Aircross HDi is a likeable all-rounder offering a solid feel, refreshing design and decent diesel performance. But within its price context, it is perhaps asked too many questions by its closest rivals - particularly the Kia Sportage that offers a far more potent diesel cocktail for similar money.

FACTS

Citroën C4 Aircross HDi 115 Seduction

Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel

Gearbox: Six-speed manual

Power: 84kW @ 3600rpm

Torque: 270Nm @ 1750rpm

0-100km/h (claimed): 10.5 seconds

Top speed (claimed): 182km/h

Consumption (claimed): 4.6 l/100km

Price: R361 900

Warranty: Three-year/100 000km

Service plan: Five-year/100 000km

ALTERNATIVES

GWM H6 2.0 TCI Lux (105kW/310Nm) - R369 999

Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi (130kW/382Nm) - R368 995

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi (78kW/240Nm) - R307 300

Ssangyong Korando D20T (129kW/360Nm) - R339 995

VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI Trend&Fun (81kW/280Nm) - R342 100

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