The Citroen C3 Aircross (left) and C5 Aircross (right) are the two SUV offerings available initially.  A new-generation C3 hatchback is also offered.
The Citroen C3 Aircross (left) and C5 Aircross (right) are the two SUV offerings available initially. A new-generation C3 hatchback is also offered.
Citroen C3.
Citroen C3.
Citroen C3.
Citroen C3.
Citroen C3.
Citroen C3.
Citroen C3 Aircross.
Citroen C3 Aircross.
Citroen C3 Aircross.
Citroen C3 Aircross.
Citroen C3 Aircross.
Citroen C3 Aircross.
Citroen C5 Aircross.
Citroen C5 Aircross.
Citroen C5 Aircross.
Citroen C5 Aircross.

JOHANNESBURG - Peugeot Citroen South Africa pulled the plug on the Citroen brand at the end of 2016, but there was always a long-term plan to bring the quirky French brand back to South Africa when the timing was right.

And that timing is now, with the importer having just launched three brand new Citroen models in South Africa: C3, C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross. The crossover-heavy line-up is of course a sign of the times, and Citroen will also be hoping to capitalise on the colourful and funky looks that these three Citroens have.

As before, the Citroen models share their underpinnings and engines with the equivalent Peugeot models, but they have completely unique styling inside and out.

The line-up starts at R239 900 for the cheapest C3 hatchback, rising all the way to R509 900 for the range-topping C5 Aircross, and each model is available in three derivatives.

Let’s take a closer look at the three vehicles on offer:

Citroen C3

The C3 is a B-segment hatchback based on the Peugeot 208 but sporting a quirky design inspired by the C4 Cactus.

It is available in two variants, with the 1.2 Feel retailing at R239 900 and the 1.2T Shine model hitting the market at R289 900.

Both are powered by Peugeot’s 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, but it’s normally aspirated in the case of the five-speed manual Feel model, with 60kW and 118Nm on offer, while the Shine derivative gets the more sophisticated turbocharged variant, with 81kW and 205Nm, and a six-speed automatic gearbox. 

As for spec, the Feel comes with automatic air conditioning as standard, as well as cruise control, a 17.8cm touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a multi-function steering wheel, six airbags and ESP stability control. 

The Shine has a similar spec sheet, but adds rear park assist and rear electric windows, while upgrading from 16” to 17” alloy wheels and gaining ‘airbumps’ on the doors.

Citroen C3 Aircross

As the C3 hatchback’s SUV sibling, the C3 Aircross is actually 158mm longer and 163mm taller, while also sporting a larger boot - with a capacity of 410 litres versus 300.

Its exterior body panels are entirely different, but the crossover follows a similar design path to the C3 hatch, and the same goes for the cabin.

The C3 Aircross is only available with the aforementioned 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo engine option, with 81kW and 205Nm, and the six-speed autobox is also standard.

Once again, buyers can choose between Feel and Shine model grades, priced at R339 900 and R359 900 respectively.

What are the spec differences then?

Both come with the same 17.8cm touchscreen infotainment system as the C3, in addition to cruise control, multi-function steering wheel, rear parking sensors, six airbags and ESP.

The Shine model adds automatic air conditioning (replacing the manual aircon in the Feel), as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, navigation, sliding rear seat, electrochromatic rearview mirror and a rain sensor. Both roll on 16-inch alloy wheels, but the Shine can be ordered with 17” rims.

C5 Aircross

Larger and less quirky than its C3 siblings, the C5 Aircross takes aim at the C-segment SUV market, where it will rival the likes of Kia’s Sportage and Toyota’s Rav4.

As you might have guessed by now, you can have it in two spec derivatives - Feel and Shine - with the former costing R469 900 and the latter retailing at R509 000.

Both are motivated by the PSA Group’s 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbopetrol engine, which is rated at 121kW and 240Nm.

But what sets the C5 Aircross apart from regular SUVs is its trademarked Progressive Hydraulic Cushions suspension system, featuring hydraulic buffers at either end to all but eliminate suspension bounce, according to Citroen. 

The French car brand also promises superior soundproofing, thanks to extensive insulation measures, as well as above-average seat comfort.

On the subject of comfort, standard features include a 20.3cm touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital instrument cluster, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, rain sensor, rear parking sensor, six airbags, ESP and 18-inch alloy wheels.

To that tally, the Shine adds a panoramic glass roof, keyless entry and start, wireless phone charging, partial leather seat trim, Active City Brake, Blind Spot Monitoring, front parking sensors and a reverse camera. 

All Citroen models are sold with a five-year/100 000km service plan and warranty.

IOL Motoring