Small SUV of the Year 2019: Citroen C3 Aircross
The Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2019 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the Dacia Duster and Volkswagen T-Cross commended
Citroen’s C3 Aircross is something a bit different to the norm in the Small SUV class, but it’s all the better for it. Rather than following convention, it takes a more individual, characterful approach, with its quirky looks and a focus on the things that really matter to customers in this class.
Comfort is a huge factor for buyers of small SUVs, because they’ll be used every day for tasks such as the school run or a commute, and the Citroen is top of its class here. The soft suspension means that the French model soaks up rough tarmac, only losing its composure over really rough roads; and while the C3 Aircross isn’t the most dynamic small SUV, the sacrifices made here pay dividends elsewhere.
It’s light and airy inside the cabin, helped by the car’s lofty roof, which also means that there’s plenty of passenger space in both the front and rear. The interior design is much more interesting than any of its rivals’, adding an injection of flair to lift the mood, and it’s backed up by solid build and decent material quality. You can also add equipment to its list of attributes, because many models get a seven-inch colour touchscreen with the latest smartphone connectivity, which is well integrated.
Depending on spec, sliding rear seats mean that the Aircross has between 410 and 520 litres of boot capacity. That flexibility lets you prioritise either passenger space or luggage room depending on your needs. Such practicality, mixed with good ride comfort, makes it work really well as an everyday car.
The Citroen also features a range of economical and punchy three-cylinder PureTech petrol engines. There’s even a 1.5-litre diesel, but we’d stick to the 1.2-litre petrol range, because the motor is peppy and offers good performance despite its small capacity. The tiny turbo also boosts the power on offer to deliver solid economy and low running costs.
It’s admirable that Citroen has looked to its heritage and individuality for inspiration for the C3 Aircross without becoming a pastiche of itself. This model is a stand-out car because it treads its own path incredibly successfully.
Citroen C3 Aircross PureTech 110 S&S Feel (£17,855)
We’d go for the 108bhp three-cylinder petrol C3 Aircross, because the engine is punchy and you’ll save money over the higher-powered 128bhp model (which only adds a small amount of extra performance in reality). It’s also economical, while Feel trim gets a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, which you can use as a sat-nav.
If maximising value for money is your thing, the Dacia Duster is by far the top choice. This is the cheapest car in its class, yet it’s also very practical, with a big boot and lots of rear-seat space. It’s decent to drive and one of the best off-roaders in this price bracket, too, plus this updated model is even more comfortable and gets some advanced tech.
The VW T-Cross is stylish and spacious, and has plenty of standard kit. It’s better to drive than the C3 Aircross, yet it doesn’t sacrifice too much comfort. The quiet engines are another reason to choose the Volkswagen, but some budget plastics inside mean that the Citroen is still better value for money.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2019
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- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK today? The 2019 New Car Awards have the answer...
- 2Car of the YearThe Auto Express Car of the Year for 2019 is the all-electric Tesla Model 3
- 3City Car of the YearThe Volkswagen up! is the 2019 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2019 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
- 5Convertible of the YearThe MINI Convertible is the 2019 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
- 6Compact Family Car of the YearThe Skoda Scala is the 2019 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla commended
- 7Family Car of the YearThe Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is the 2019 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius commended
- 8Compact Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 3 Series is the 2019 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Mercedes C-Class commended
- 9Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 5 Series is the 2019 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
- 10Estate Car of the YearThe Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2019 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended
- 11Small SUV of the Year - currently readingThe Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2019 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the Dacia Duster and Volkswagen T-Cross commended
- 12Mid-size SUV of the YearThe Skoda Karoq is the 2019 Auto Express Mid-size SUV of the Year with the Peugeot 3008 and Toyota RAV4 commended
- 13Large SUV of the YearThe SEAT Tarraco is the 2019 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq commended
- 14Small Premium SUV of the YearThe Range Rover Evoque is the 2019 Auto Express Small Premium SUV of the Year, with the Audi Q3 and Lexus UX commended
- 15Mid-size Premium SUV of the YearThe BMW X3 is the 2019 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Porsche Macan and Volvo XC60 commended
- 16Large Premium SUV of the YearThe Land Rover Discovery is the 2019 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne commended
- 17MPV of the YearThe Citroen Berlingo XL is the 2018 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer and Renault Grand Scenic commended
- 18Roadster of the YearThe Mazda MX-5 is the 2019 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the Audi TT and Porsche 718 Boxster commended
- 19Coupe of the YearThe Alpine A110 is the 2019 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Porsche 718 Cayman and Toyota Supra commended
- 20Hot Hatch of the YearThe Honda Civic Type R is the 2019 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Cupra Ateca and Ford Fiesta ST commended
- 21Performance Car of the YearThe Porsche 911 is the 2019 Auto Express Performance Car of the Year, with the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera and McLaren 600LT commended
- 22Luxury Car of the YearThe Mercedes S-Class is the 2019 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Continental GT and Range Rover commended
- 23Affordable Electric Car of the YearThe Kia e-Niro is the 2019 Auto Express Affordable Electric Car of the Year, with the Hyundai Kona Electric and Nissan Leaf commended
- 24Premium Electric Car of the YearThe Tesla Model 3 is the 2019 Auto Express Premium Electric Car of the Year, with the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace commended
- 25Affordable Hybrid Car of the YearThe Toyota Corolla is the 2019 Auto Express Affordable Hybrid Car of the Year, with the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in and Toyota Prius commended
- 26Premium Hybrid Car of the YearThe Mercedes E 300 de is the 2019 Premium Hybrid Car of the Year, with the Range Rover P400e and Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine commended
- 27Pick-up of the YearThe Ford Ranger is the 2019 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara commended
- 28Van of the YearThe Vauxhall Combo Cargo is the 2019 Auto Express Van of the Year, with the Citroen Berlingo Van and Peugeot Partner commended
- 29Technology AwardLand Rover wins the Auto Express 2019 Technology Award for its ClearSight Ground View system
- 30Driver Power AwardLexus has scooped the 2019 Driver Power Award after taking the customer satisfaction survey by storm once again
- 31Design AwardWe asked you what your favourite car design is for 2019, and the Alfa Romeo Tonale has taken the crown
- 32Auto Express New Car Awards: previous winnersA look back at previous winners of the Auto Express New Car Awards