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Old 29th January 2024, 11:30   #1
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Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review



Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_exterior_01.jpg

Since the Citroen C3 Aircross has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on changes made to the Automatic variant. To read the full official review, click here.
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2023_citroen_c3_aircross_exterior_01.jpg

Introduction



Citroen launched the C3 Aircross in 2023. However, it could not make an impact in the lucrative C2 segment, which is dominated by cars like the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos. Since August 2023, Citroen has managed to sell only 253 units of the crossover per month on average. This is despite huge discounts being offered. One of the many reasons for this poor performance in the Indian market was that the car was available with a manual gearbox only. With every passing year, Indians are favouring automatic transmissions more.

Now, Citroen is launching an automatic variant of the C3 Aircross in an attempt to get the sales of the car to pick up. Powering the car is the same 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that does duty in the MT variant. It produces an identical 109 BHP as the MT, but the torque has been upped from 190 Nm to 205 Nm. The automatic transmission is a proper torque converter 6-speed unit sourced from Aisin.

Apart from the gearbox, Citroen has added some features such as remote engine start and remote A/C operation. The C3 Aircross AT 5-seater will be available in Plus and Max (mid & top) variants, while the 5+2-seater will come only in the Max variant. It will come with a standard warranty of 2 years/40,000 km, which can be extended up to 5 years.

Citroen C3 Aircross AT Price & Brochure


Bookings for the C3 Aircross AT opened earlier this month. Prices of the different variants will be announced soon. Citroen claims that this will be the most affordable AT in the segment. This should be achievable as the car will be produced at Citroen's Thiruvallur (Tamil Nadu) plant with 90% localisation.

You can download the Citroen C3 Aircross AT brochure here - C3 Aircross AT Brochure.pdf

Last edited by Aditya : 30th January 2024 at 12:58.
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Old 29th January 2024, 11:30   #2
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Citroen C3 Aircross AT Exterior Review


The AT variant looks almost identical to the MT. There is nothing, not even a badge, that distinguishes it from the MT:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_exterior_02.jpg

You must've noticed that the ORVM is not gloss black but body coloured. This is part of the optional 'Vibe' pack that comes factory-fitted:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_exterior_03.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 30th January 2024 at 12:58.
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Old 29th January 2024, 11:30   #3
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Citroen C3 Aircross AT Interior Review


Just like the exterior, the interior is unchanged except for the AT-related bits. These include the gear shifter, MID and pedals:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_interior_01.jpg

No engine start/stop button. Not even a keyfob with a foldable key. Just an old-fashioned unit:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_interior_02.jpg

Instrument cluster is the same as the MT except for the gear position indicator. In manual mode, a gear shift indicator appears:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_interior_03.jpg

Gear shifter looks smart. It gets a glossy black surround around the console:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_interior_05.jpg

Gear positions are etched on the top of the knob:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_interior_06.jpg

Gear knob gets a brushed aluminium insert with a hole:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_interior_07.jpg

Gear positions are indicated on the console as well. Move the shifter to the left from the "D" position to engage manual mode. Unlike most cars, you need to move the knob backwards to shift up and forwards to shift down:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_interior_08.jpg

Pedals are well positioned. Dead pedal is useable:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_interior_09.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 30th January 2024 at 13:02.
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Old 29th January 2024, 11:30   #4
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Driving the Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2L Turbo-Petrol AT


1.2L turbo-petrol engine makes 109 BHP @ 5,500 rpm and 205 Nm @ 1,750-2,500 rpm:
Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-2024_citroen_c3_aircross_at_engine_01.jpg

The C3 Aircross is powered by a 1.2L turbo-petrol engine that belongs to Citroen's EB family of engines. This 3-cylinder unit is mated to a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission and puts out 109 BHP and 205 Nm (15 Nm more than the MT). The car has a kerb weight of 1,256-1,309 kg depending upon the variant. This gives it a maximum power-to-weight ratio of 87 BHP/ton and torque to weight ratio of 163 Nm/ton.

Release the brake and the C3 Aircross AT moves off the line without any drama. The throttle response is good too. The Aisin-sourced 6-speed automatic transmission is smooth and compliments the engine well. It masks any sign of turbo lag nicely. The car moves off seamlessly from a standstill. Once you're moving, light accelerator input is all you'll need to commute in the city. The gearbox shifts up early and smoothly. Driving with a light foot or even medium throttle, you'll never even know that the gears are being changed. It's only the change of pitch in the engine noise that indicates a change of gear. The gearbox is in the right gear most of the time and is never confused. The turbo-petrol offers brisk acceleration, with the power & torque on offer making the gearbox's job easier. Closing a gap to the vehicle in front is easy. For bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions, there is a fair amount of 'crawl' available too. Just lift your foot off the brake pedal in 'D' and the C3 Aircross will crawl forward at 7 km/h, allowing you to drive in thick traffic with just one pedal (the brake). The powerful turbo-petrol engine, combined with the smooth AT, light steering, good ergonomics, useable dead pedal & clear frontal visibility makes the C3 Aircross AT easy to drive in the city.

Thanks to the powerful engine, the C3 Aircross AT is a competent highway performer too. It can easily hit triple-digit speeds. Thanks to the strong mid-range, overtaking is not a problem either. However, kickdown response time is slow. If the revs are on the lower side, and you floor the accelerator, it takes well over two seconds for the gearbox + turbo to react. Since the transmission tends to shift up early, this can happen frequently. The problem can be solved by being less aggressive with the throttle. The gearbox is quite responsive to medium throttle inputs and once the AT & turbo respond, the car is very peppy. When the engine is in the meat of the powerband, the reaction times are lesser. In terms of cruisability, the C3 Aircross can do 100 km/h with the engine spinning at ~1,800 rpm, while 120 km/h is seen at ~2,200 rpm.

Manual mode is useful when you want to prepare the car for overtaking a fast vehicle on a 2-lane highway, or when you desire engine braking. Move the gear lever to the left to engage manual mode. The response time to your commands is quick. That said, there is a slight lag between the gear actually shifting and the change being reflected on the MID. What we found disappointing was that, even in manual mode, you can take the revs to just ~5,800 rpm (which is way short of the start of the redline i.e. 6,500 rpm) before the transmission shifts up on its own. Also, keep in mind that it's tuned very conservatively & won't allow aggressive downshifts if the rpm level is higher than ~3,200 rpm. We would have also liked to see paddle shifters here. Some cars even from a segment below are providing them.

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)



There is a slight body shake on cranking the engine. At idle, the turbo petrol is surprisingly silent, and the typical 3-cylinder vibrations are masked quite well. However, you will feel some vibrations on the steering. There's not much noise and the cabin is silent. While driving around calmly, the engine sound doesn't intrude into the cabin. However, rev the engine hard and you'll hear the engine a lot more in the cabin. Unfortunately, the engine note is not something enthusiasts or regular folk will like. It sounds more strained than sporty at high revs. At highway speeds, wind noise is kept at a minimum, but road noise and tyre noise do creep into the cabin.

Mileage & Fuel economy



As we are already aware, turbo-petrols are sensitive to throttle input and you will be visiting the fuel station more often if you have a heavy foot. But drive sedately and you should see some acceptable FE figures. The C3 Aircross turbo-petrol AT's ARAI-certified fuel efficiency is 17.6 km/l. The car gets an auto start-stop feature which should help fuel efficiency while driving in the city. This system functions seamlessly and is not as intrusive as we have seen in some other cars.

Suspension


Ride Comfort



The C3 Aircross comes with a McPherson strut suspension at the front and a twist-beam suspension with coil springs at the rear. Right off the bat, this is a very likeable suspension tune. In comparison with the C3, the Aircross feels a tad bit soft, but the setup is very compliant. The ride over small potholes and uneven roads in the city is pretty good. The C3 Aircross dissipates shocks very evenly over the front and rear which gives you a feeling of gliding over bad roads. Moreover, the suspension works silently too when going over bumps. Large potholes do register themselves in the cabin, but the C3 Aircross handles them well. Overall, the ride quality is very absorbent.

Handling & Dynamics



This is where the C3 Aircross springs a pleasant surprise. The French sure know a thing or two about tuning the suspension just right. Straight-line stability is good and the passengers probably won't even know that you're cruising at 120 km/h.

The C3 Aircross is a good handler. It holds its line nicely in long curves. There is some amount of body roll, but it never gets excessive. Hit an unexpected expansion joint on the curve and the car doesn't get unsettled easily. Start pushing on twisty roads and you will appreciate the balance of the chassis. The turn-in is sharp and there is a hint of understeer. You can also feel the extra bit of weight you are carrying at the rear. With the turbo-petrol under the hood, you can really enjoy the car with this suspension. Changing directions from one corner to the other also doesn't unsettle it and the transition is smooth. The 215/60 R17 OEM tyres feel just about adequate for the C3 Aircross and provide fair grip levels.

Steering



The C3 Aircross' electric power steering is a very user-friendly unit. It's light in the city and most owners will appreciate that. While driving, the C3 Aircross masks its dimensions well and feels compact. The turning radius of 5.4 metres is slightly wider than expected. The steering weighs up nicely as you gain speed, but we'd have liked it to have more heft as it still feels a little light while cruising at 100 km/h on the highway. Enthusiasts won't like the disconnected feeling of the steering and the vagueness in the centre.

Braking



The C3 Aircross is equipped with ventilated disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. The performance is as expected and the car comes to a halt without much drama. The pedal feel is very progressive and smooth.

Last edited by Aditya : 30th January 2024 at 13:20.
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Old 29th January 2024, 11:30   #5
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line.

Last edited by Aditya : 29th January 2024 at 11:33.
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Old 29th January 2024, 11:47   #6
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post

Gear knob gets a brushed aluminium insert with a hole:
Attachment 2564472
Is the color wearing off from the aluminium insert?

Is the NVH improved over the MT? When I was in the market last month I found the NVH extremely sorry, even though it is 3 cylinder. I have a Sonet 1.0 Turbo Petrol, which is also a 3 cylinder, but NVH was way better than C3 aircross.
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Old 29th January 2024, 11:55   #7
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

A nice review of a nice option from Citroen.
Im sure this will be much better than its competition from Tata and Maruti and Hyundai. I hope this helps bring Citroen out into the mainstream.
It is good that they seem to have been taking notice of general feedback and acting upon it.
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Old 29th January 2024, 12:28   #8
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

When competition is offering ADAS, Ventilated Seats, Panoramic Sunroof & a myriad list of features, Citroen comes out with a AT gearbox. Even if its priced upto 2L less than Creta / Seltos, the Indian buyer may not be attracted towards it. This should have ideally been Citroen's 1st launch 2-3 years back - AT only mid size crossover with sorted ergonomics, peppy engine & excellent ride quality. Only those urban folks who're very strict on budget & need a 7 seater automatic SUV might consider this, only if they're not liking the Carens, Ertiga / XL6 cousins. Probably they should just focus on exports & sell in those market where such products have a demand.
With new set of investments coming in & Stellantis rationalizing platforms across brands, hopefully next set of products are something more aspirational. But that is at least 2-3 years away. Now it seems, Honda is doing relatively better in product planning, execution and positioning.
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Old 29th January 2024, 12:50   #9
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

What about the hatchback C3 model? Wasnt it supposed to get the AT as well?
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Old 29th January 2024, 13:45   #10
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Im sure this will be much better than its competition from Tata and Maruti and Hyundai.
I am Curious to know what makes this better than Tata, Maruti and Hyundai Models. Can you please elaborate
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Old 29th January 2024, 13:47   #11
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

I feel there is no point in reviving the existing lineup of Citroen, as the Indian market has never accepted a flop product.

Instead, they should focus on the C3X crossover and launch it with all the features that customers look for these days. They should let go of the cheap mindset and learn from other OEMs like Hyundai, Kia, and Tata.
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Old 29th January 2024, 13:54   #12
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Bookings for the C3 Aircross AT opened earlier this month. Prices of the different variants will be announced soon. Citroen claims that this will be the most affordable AT in the segment. This should be achievable as the car will be produced at Citroen's Thiruvallur (Tamil Nadu) plant with 90% localisation.
Looks like Citroen have not learnt the lesson that even Tata had to learn the hard way and is well known. Just being 'Most Affordable' does not automatically mean people will go for it. Indian customers need to see value for the money paid and in this segment that basically means that the car should be loaded with tons of features. The feature list on this car is quite bad. While it seems to have what is needed, lot of obvious things are missed. I mean-who in 2024 does not give an Automatic Climate Control in a car that would be costing 15-16L at least.

Although hard to judge quality, that AT Level with the etched markings looks horrendous. There are good bits-A nice engine, a proper TC gearbox but the AT should have been there on Day 1 itself. Too little too late.
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Old 29th January 2024, 14:38   #13
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

Thanks for the review. The key disappoints the most. Did this have any additional features? What actual milage can we expect?
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Old 29th January 2024, 14:54   #14
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review

I still maintain that Stellantis made a strategic mistake in launching the Citroen brand in India instead of Peugeot.

Peugeot's design language is really something that makes it stand out even in Europe among all the big German brands, as well as the Asian ones. The design language and the upmarket shift in interiors+feature sets on the cars has helped Peugeot punch above its weight in certain segments quite successfully even against the German cars here.

The Citroen cars in India seem so poorly equipped compared to what you can purchase here in France. If the asking price for a C3 AirCross is 16L in India, it is actually higher in PPP terms than what you would pay for in an entry-level model here which comes loaded with more features.

I echo the sentiments of others on this thread in that it is too little, too late at this point for Citroen's current strategy in the country.
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Old 29th January 2024, 15:57   #15
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Citroen C3 Aircross Automatic launched at Rs 12.85 lakh

The Citroen C3 Aircross is now available with an automatic transmission. The SUV comes in three variants – Plus, Max and Max 5+2-seater, with prices starting at Rs 12,84,800 (ex-showroom).

Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-citroen-c3-aircross-suv-at_1.jpg

According to the company, the C3 Aircross AT is the most budget-friendly automatic mid-size SUV in India. It features an Aisin-sourced 6-speed automatic transmission that has a manual gear selector mode.

Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-citroen-c3-aircross-suv-at_2.jpg

Powering the C3 Aircross Automatic is a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that produces 109 BHP @ 5,500 rpm and 205 Nm @ 1,750-2,500 rpm. As you may have noted, the engine has a higher torque rating, offering 15 Nm more than the manual version.

Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-arpkcitoren_interiorexterior7seater_side_cut_v4.jpg

The C3 Aircross Automatic is available with a 5-seat or 5+2 seat configuration with up to 511 litres of luggage space. It comes equipped with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone connectivity, a new 7-inch digital instrument cluster and USB charging. The SUV also has more than 40 connected features, including remote engine start and remote AC preconditioning.

Citroen C3 Aircross AT Review-aramcitorenrearseatwitharmrestopenshotv5.jpg

Citroen C3 Aircross Automatic ex-showroom prices:


  • Plus AT 5-seater – Rs 12,84,800
  • Max AT 5-seater – Rs 13,49,800
  • Max AT 5+2-seater – Rs 13,84,800

Link to Team-BHP news
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