Citroën aren’t exactly known for their ability to make SUV’s. Small, sporty, insane hot hatches yes – big, comfy, quirky sedans most definitely. But it would seem that the French have left the realm of SUV’s to the rest of the world…until now.
The C4 Aircross is its name and let me not beat around the bush with this one – it is undoubtedly my favourite of the crossover bunch. Even if its underpinnings are nicked from Mitsubishi’s ASX – a French touch has set this crossover apart.
From the outside the Aircross hides its roots well, while a comparison with other rivals would be like comparing my ability with a paint brush to that of Michelangelo. There’s a refreshing appeal offered by the Aircross, a stark contrast to the sea of grey, nondescript blobs that mull about our roads.
Hop inside and you’re met by a simple, elegant dashboard and matching dials. While a lot has been carried over from its Japanese sibling, the Citroën’s soft touch materials make all the difference. There’s nothing massively fancy in here I must admit, nor will the technology on offer wow the pants off anyone. But there is a radio, a CD player, a spot for your iPod connection and an air conditioner – all you will ever need quite frankly (and all that the competitors offer too).
The running gear on the Aircross has been fine tuned to provide the ride comfort one expects from a vehicle bearing Citroën’s double chevron grille. It’s not a complete softy though, providing decent, predictable handling along with the compliant ride. My only objection is the amount of wind noise at highway speeds.
Power comes from a two litre, four cylinder petrol motor that delivers 113kW and a surprisingly nice amount of torque. It’s a very usable combination, which may sound like an odd thing to say, but a lot of crossovers require you to rev the nuts off the thing to get moving. Not the Citroën. All this goes toward helping fuel consumption too.
As usual with a model from the Citroën stable there has been strong focus on safety aspects, including a massively strong passenger cell, soft spots at the front end for bumping into pedestrians, countless airbags and the usual driver aid acronyms.
So if you’re in the market for a small crossover, I implore you to go drive a C4 Aircross. Starting at R269 900 it’s exceptionally well priced, looks great, has tons of space and drives rather well. But beyond all of that, it’s something a little different.
First published in Autodealer KZN