The 2022 Citroen C3 Aircross has had a bit of a facelift with some new wheels and some changes to the interior. When we last tested the C3 (but not the Aircross model) it came across as a Euro car that could mix it with mainstream cars.

Has the new and improved C3 Aircross got even closer to the Big Boys out there? Time to spend a week behind the wheel to find out.

What We Like and Dislike About The 2022 Citroen C3 Aircross Shine

What we likeWhat we don’t like
Engine can sound good at times
Engine has so much character
Great visibility
Seat comfort
Ride quality is excellent
Funky design
Advanced Comfort Seat
Heads-up display
Day-to-day driveability
Self-parking
Headlight performance
Engine can sound noisy at times
Audio reverts to radio
No adaptive cruise control at $40K

What’s In The 2022 Citroen C3 Range?

New Zealand sees just one model of C3 Aircross, the $39,990 Shine. It’s fitted with a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that manages 81kW of power and 205Nm of torque at a very low 1,500rpm.

That little engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. We’ve seen this combo before, in the Peugeot 208 GT and the 2021 review of the C3, among others.

2022 Citroen C3 Aircross Shine Standard Equipment Highlights

  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Hill Start Assist
  • Programmable Cruise Control With Speed Limiter
  • Front and Rear Parking Sensors with 180° Colour Reversing Camera
  • Park Assist (semi-auto)
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Speed Limit Recognition and Recommendation
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Active Emergency Brake (AEB) With Pedestrian Detection
  • Driver Attention Alert And Forward Collision Warning
  • Eco-LED Headlights with High Beam Assist
  • Welcome And ‘Follow-Me-Home’ Light Function
  • Leather Steering Wheel And Gear Knob
  • 2-Position Modular Boot Floor
  • Keyless Access And Start Push Button
  • 9″ Capacitive Colour Touchscreen With 3D Navigation
  • Bluetooth®, Apple CarPlay™ And Android Auto Connectivity
  • Voice Recognition Function And Steering Wheel Controls
  • Black Roof Colour
  • Black Colour Pack
  • Advanced Comfort Seats
  • Heads-Up Display

You can pick from 7 colours for your C3 Aircross;

  • Bianca White
  • Khaki Grey
  • Cumulus Grey
  • Nimbus Grey
  • Nera Black
  • Pepper Red
  • Voltaic Blue

Citroen claims there are 92 possible variations for your C3 Aircross, due to options around mirror cap colours, and the colours of the third-window finish. There are two options for wheels, with 17” Black Orahami as a no-cost option. The roof is black as standard, but you can option a white roof at no cost. In these days of everything costing extra, it’s great to see Citroen going against the grain and offering to personalise your C3 Aircross for $0.

For a full list of specs and options available for the Citroen C3 Aircross Shine jump on over to the Citroen New Zealand website.

All prices below exclude the refund or additional cost of the New Zealand Clean Car Programme (*CCP)

Make/ ModelEnginePower/
Torque
kW/Nm
SeatsFuel
L/100km
Boot
Space
litres
Price
(excl CCP)
Citroen C3 Aircross1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol81/20557.3410$39,990
Renault Arkana Zen1.3-litre, 4-cylinder turbo-petrol115/26256.7485$37,990
Ford Puma ST Line1.0-litre, 3-cylinder petrol-turbo92/17055.3410$37,990
Mitsubishi ASX VRX2.4-litre, 4-cylinder petrol125/22658.8393$35,990
Toyota Yaris Cross GX1.5-litre, 3-cylinder petrol88/14555.4390$32,990

First Impressions Of The 2022 Citroen C3 Aircross Shine

Even finished in a flat grey that Citroen calls Khaki Grey, our C3 Aircross test car sure stood out from the crowd. While exterior changes for 2022 only include a new face, new rear side windows and new 17” alloy wheels, it’s still a car that looks like no other. Opinions during my week with the car were divided, but the majority thought it looked excellent.

It seems relatively small in the flesh, with echoes of a MINI Countryman at the rear. The front of the car is well executed, although it is pretty busy with angles and lines all over the place.

Overall, it’s high marks from me for the first impression of the C3 Aircross.

What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 Citroen C3 Aircross Shine?

New for 2022 is black leatherette and grey cloth upholstery, Citroen’s Advanced Comfort Seats, and a grey cloth dashboard. The 9” centre touchscreen is new too, with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and SatNav now as standard. The screen itself is nicely integrated into the cloth dashboard.

A cloth dashboard might sound strange, but it sure looks good. Every passenger I had felt the need to touch it. It not only looks good, but also lifts the perceived quality of the interior. A relatively small change, but one that is so much better than black plastic.

The Advanced Comfort Seats (which we last saw in 2020) now have 15mm extra padding, and a driver’s armrest is now standard. The centre console has had a design change with a repositioned handbrake and the cup holders have moved to beside the handbrake. The cup holders are still pretty tiny.

Interesting the Citroen has stayed with a manual handbrake and not an electric one, but this is a midlife refresh, not an all-new model. Climate control air-conditioning is also now standard.

At the base of the dash is the same layout as we saw in 2020. There’s a single USB-A port, along with a single 12-volt power socket. In front of the passenger is a rubberised shelf for cellphones and other junk, very handy and pretty wide too. Like other Citroens (and Peugeots) on the same chassis, the glovebox is very small. While the glovebox door is large, storage is not.

Along with the cloth on the dashboard, there’s a good mix of materials in the cabin, and it’s one of the highlights of the car. Piano black is used on the console and steering wheel, but it’s not as susceptible to fingerprints as you’d expect.

The whole interior of the 2022 Citroen C3 Aircross is light and airy, making the car feel bigger inside than it is. Rear legroom is a little tight – but headroom for all passengers is surprisingly good. Rear seat passengers have a single 12-volt socket to plug into, and in the boot is a full-size steel spare wheel, a welcome sight. The boot floor is split level, so you can remove the floor to carry taller items if you need to.

What’s The 2022 Citroen C3 Aircross Shine Like To Drive?

For 2022, Citroen has made no mechanical changes to the C3 Aircross, so it carries across that honey of a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder motor. While this engine can be a bit rattly – especially at a cold idle – overall it’s a gem. With 205Nm of torque, acceleration is effortless at most speeds. And while it can sound a bit noisy at times, if you need to wind it out a little to pass someone, you’ll be rewarded with a nice engine note, especially at its 5,500rpm rev limit.

At 100km/h, the engine is super-quiet, and wind and road noise are very well subdued for a small car. I’d happily drive the C3 Aircross from Wellington to Auckland and return.

Mated to the 3-cylinder engine is a 6-speed automatic, again, a carry-over from the previous model. It’s a straight automatic so no dual-clutch setup here. On the whole it’s good, although it can be a bit jerky between some gear changes, but didn’t feel as bad for me as the one I last tested a few years ago.

Like the interior design, the motor is a highlight of the car. It has so much character and makes city and motorway driving a breeze.

When you add to this superb visibility on all sides, the 2022 C3 Aircross comes in as an excellent Daily Driver. The car also has a tight turning circle at just 10.8 metres, and the ease of driving this car is a real plus. I found living with it day to day all too easy.

The Shine model has a heads-up display (HUD), although it is the “poor man’s HUD” – so a flip-up piece of plastic that comes out of the dashboard. Still, it’s better than no HUD at all, and will give you your current speed, as well as the speed limit and your cruise control options.

The dashboard on the car is identical to the one previously tested, so that means nice, simple and clear gauges, along with a simple trip computer between the speedo and rev counter. There’s no 50km/h marking on the speedo, but it’s not really necessary with you having your speed constantly shown on the HUD.

Like the previous car we tested, the latest has Citroen’s Advanced Comfort Seats. These are supremely comfortable, with the softness bordering your sofa’s level. There isn’t too much side support, but the C3 isn’t for blasting around the twisty bits, anyway. The C3 Aircross is more about practicality and comfort, and in fact, the press release for the car says it focuses on three main selling points: Design, Comfort, Customisation.

So the seats have nailed the comfort side of things for the car, and so has the ride quality. Like the previous model, the 2022 Citroen C3 Aircross glides over most bumps and irregularities in the road without drama, and without crashes and bangs coming into the cabin.

Assisting in that Daily Drive is semi-automatic parking; the C3 Aircross will do either parallel or angle parking, and you can use the system to extract yourself from a particularly tight parallel park. It is a semi-automatic system, so you will need to do the brakes, accelerator sand gear changes yourself – the system will do all the steering inputs. The only downside to using the auto parking on the C3 Aircross is that you have to go into the menu system on the centre screen to activate it. If you are, for example, on the Media screen, you’ll need to hit the Home button, go into Vehicle, go into Parking, and then select what type of parking manoeuvre you want (parallel or angle). A physical button somewhere to go straight to this screen would be much less hassle, especially if you have traffic stopped waiting for you to park.

The infotainment system is the same as before, so that means reasonable clarity, but some lag between screens. Sometimes I’d flick between songs on Bluetooth, and it would take ten seconds for the system to catch up. The worst thing – that hasn’t changed – on the C3 Aircross is that the car will always revert to radio when you turn the car off. This is painful as if you have your volume at X level on your phone but volume up on the car, when you get back in and start it, the radio will blast out very loudly. For me, this was one of the worst aspects of using the C3 Aircross.

The C3 Aircross does not have adaptive cruise control, which is a real shame. Still it works fine, and even though it’s controlled by a stalk to the left side of the steering wheel, is relatively easy to use. I wish the controls were on the wheel itself, but the steering wheel hasn’t changed from the last model.

The car does have automatic headlights and automatic wipers. On the plus side of things, the high beams are excellent, penetrating far and wide into the darkness. The automatic wipers are a little painful, as you have to turn them to automatic every time you get in the car. It’s a simple matter of tapping the wiper stalk downwards, but it would be nicer if they just stayed on automatic forever.

Like the previous model, the throttle can be a bit touchy and it took me a day to get used to this. I had the same experience in the previous model, and when you get into another car, it feels like a slug. Perhaps this is part of Citroen’s marketing plan.

The car isn’t supposed to handle well, but it does ok. It’s still a bit roly-poly in the corners, but the grip from those Bridgestone tyres is there, even in the wet. Safe and predictable is how I would describe the handling of this car.

Like before, to put the car into Sport mode, there is a tiny ‘S’ button down on the lower part of the centre console. It’s a long reach for the driver, and all it seems to do is hold the gears longer. Really, with this much torque, Sport mode is unnecessary. The other thing with Sport mode is that the only indication it’s on is an absolutely minuscule ‘s’ on the dashboard – easily missed while driving.

Fuel economy for my time with the C3 Aircross worked out at 7.3L/100km over 600Km of mixed driving conditions. I’m happy to say that 7.3 is exactly what Citroen says the car should return, and that doesn’t happen often. Is 7.3L/100Km good for a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder car? Tough call to make, but we do see that sort of figure out of cars like the 1.5-litre Honda Jazz Crosstar, or compare it to the 6.4L/100Km we got out of the Toyota Yaris Cross GX.

2022 Citroen C3 Aircross Shine – Specifications

Vehicle Type5-door, small Crossover SUV
Starting Price$39,990
Price as Tested$39,990
Engine1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol-turbo Puretech 110
Power, Torque
kW/Nm
81@5,500rpm
205@1,500
Transmission6-speed automatic
Spare WheelSpace saver
Kerb Weight, Kg1,188
Length x Width x Height
mm
4160x1756x1637
Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,
Litres
(seats up/seats down)
410/1,289
Fuel tank capacity,
litres
45
Fuel Economy,
L/100km
Advertised Spec – Combined – 7.3
Real-World Test – Combined – 7.3
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Towing Capacity
Kg, unbraked/braked
620/840
Turning circle
metres
10.8
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
Warranty5 Years or 100,000Km
5 Years Roadside Assist
3 Years 45,000Km Service Plan $1,590
5 Years 75,000Km Service Plan $2,790
Safety informationRightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – C3 AIRX

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Driver Tech
6
Economy
7
Handling
7
Infotainment
6
Interior
8
Performance
7
Ride
8
Safety
7
Styling
8
Value
6
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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.
2022-citroen-c3-aircross-shine-car-review<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>French cars are often considered to be quirky, and not for the average person. French cars in the last few years have moved into mainstream, with more of them being seen on the roads. I’m going to quote a Citroen car dealer here that I was talking to one day. When I asked if they got buyers from other brands who have long delivery times, he said absolutely, yes.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>He went on to say what often happens is that a couple go to buy a Japanese or Korean car and find out they’ll have to wait a long time. So they talk about it and then decide to go drive a Citroen, just so they can say they did, and “we didn’t like it”. But then they drive a Citroen and find it’s not what they thought it would be like - and often buy it. </p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>So COVID has been good for French brands? Not my call, but I suggest if you want something a little more fun and funky, you add the 2022 Citroen C3 Aircross to your must-drive list.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

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