Our long-term test car runs on the PSA Groups three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol. Its an engine that can be found in everything from a crossover like this C3 Aircross to Peugeots 5008 SUV, and it looks here in its most powerful form. The power and output torque of 128bhp and 170lb ft should be suitable for a compact crossover, while the six-speed manual gearbox will hopefully be a better complement to the short and rev engine than the five-speed gearbox installed in our road test car.
The combined fuel economy is quoted at 54.3 mpg (NEDC), and although that figure would place it firmly among its peers, we expect a life in the center of the city and all the low-speed driving that goes with making achieving that goal something of a struggle.
More than half of UK buyers opt for the high quality Flair finish, so we have done the same. Its based on the medium specification Feel variants adding 17-inch alloy wheels, along with keyless entry and start, a sliding rear bench to give a temporary boost to the starting space, climate control, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. It also enhances the 7.0in infotainment touch screen with Citroën Connect Navigation, although with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay included as standard, Citroëns offering will have to impress if it wants to replace the Waze application as our preferred satellite navigation system.
We avoid loading our car with options, choosing only the blue paint and contrasting the white roof (£520). The silver-coloured package, a free option, added a new touch of colour to the rear-view mirrors, headlamp frames and roof rails.
You can buy a C3 Aircross with Grip Control, a £400 option that uses an electronic system to adjust traction control instead of four-wheel drive for off-road driving, but seeing that few customers feel the need for it, we decided we could live without it too.
With no child seats (in the immediate future, at least), we also refuse to add the Family Package (£490) and the flat, foldable front passenger seat. Well have to wait and see if well regret not ticking the box for the £650 Techno HiFi pack, which adds the charge of a wireless smartphone, a 3.5-inch colour instrument panel, an enhanced speaker system and a colour display. In this case, the dashboard conforms to a monochrome system.
This brought the total cost up to £20,105, which is on par with a Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 115 in FR finish – in our opinion, still the best compact and complete crossover available today. The point is, while the Seat may offer a better ride, it has a tenth of the personality of the Citroën. That certainly translates into the cockpit. The mica grey interior of our test car is the faintest colour option available, but the old spheres and extravagant shapes still make a good first impression.