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Citroen C3 Aircross You! 2024 review: a brilliant SUV that’s also a bargain

Citroen’s entry-level You! Trim reduces the C3 Aircross’s price without sacrificing much in the way of kit or capability

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The Citroen C3 Aircross has always been one of our favourite cars in this segment, thanks to its roomy cabin, comfortable seats and frugal petrol engines. Now the new YOU! trim makes it more competitively priced than ever; its low list price makes it a fabulous choice for those who finance a car privately. But if you’re one of the overwhelming majority of new car buyers who pay through a PCP deal, then our class favourite, the Renault Captur, remains even better value.

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This is the Citroen C3 Aircross You! – a new trim level for the French brand’s compact crossover. We’ve seen the You! treatment applied to the smaller C3 hatchback before, and specified as such, it turned the C3 into one of the best budget superminis on the market, running the superb Dacia Sandero very close indeed in one of our Real World twin tests last year.

The formula for the Aircross You! follows the same one used so effectively on the C3: cut prices and add value. The result is that the You! starts from £17,470 on the road, which makes it the most affordable model in the lineup, undercutting the next cheapest version by £2,730.

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Now with such a big drop in price, you’re inevitably going to miss out on some standard kit. The most obvious difference comes inside, where instead of the nine-inch touchscreen display fitted to the Plus model, you get a seven-inch screen. We don’t really see this as a massive problem, though. Sure, the graphics aren’t quite as sharp and there’s no built-in satellite navigation, but the built-in setup in higher-spec cars isn’t as good as either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and you get both of those built in with the You!’s system.

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The You! also misses out on automatic headlights, but it still gets impressively bright LED units. There aren’t any roof rails, either, and there are no automatic wipers, which given how few of those systems work effectively, we’d argue isn’t such a bad thing. All of the safety and assist systems found on Plus trim are still fitted here, including cruise control, lane departure warning and rear parking sensors. 

Smaller screen aside, the cabin is much the same as before. The dash design is a little more quirky than some alternatives, build quality is fine if not quite as fancy as some — admittedly more pricey — rivals and. And for a car that measures just over 4.1 metres long, rear seat space is competitive, and the 410-litre boot volume is above average.  

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While you miss out on a little bit of kit, there’s no scrimping on the mechanical side of things. The You! Is powered by the same 1.2-litre turbocharged PureTech petrol engine that comes on the next trim level up. That means 109bhp and a healthy 205Nm of torque, plus a six-speed manual gearbox to work with. 

Performance is absolutely fine for a car in this class. Indeed, a 10.1-second 0-62mph time undercuts the equivalent Renault Captur by almost a second, and the Renault is also 45Nm down on the Citroen, so the difference can be felt in the real world as well as against the stopwatch. 

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The engine vibrates a little, but it’s fairly hushed even when worked hard. The six-speed transmission has reasonably long gearing, which means that the engine settles down nicely at a cruise. We averaged almost precisely 40mpg over a week of driving on a variety of roads, though our test car came to us with barely a couple of hundred miles on the clock.

Elsewhere, the C3 Aircross retains all of the driving characteristics that have impressed us in the past. Comfort is the primary focus here, and aside from a little low-speed fidget, the ride is forgiving, helped in no small part by the soft armchair-like front seats. Wind noise is a little intrusive at motorway speeds, but the engine and chassis setup make it a comfortable cruiser otherwise. The steering is too short on feedback for the Aircross to ever be considered fun to drive, but it’s light at low speeds so it’s easy to park.

The headline price certainly looks attractive at a first glance, and dive into the PCP figures and the Aircross still remains competitive. Place a modest £400 up front on a three-year PCP agreement with a 10,000-mile annual limit, and the You! comes to £324 per month. That beats the already competitively priced Plus model by £16 per month on matching terms. 

However, as cheap as it sounds on paper, our favourite in this class, the Renault Captur, actually undercuts the Aircross, with the entry-level model coming to £320 per month on matching terms – you can thank both a £2,000 deposit contribution from Renault, plus a lower rate of interest for that. If you can stump up a very heavy deposit of your own – at least £7,524 at the time of writing – then Captur buyers also benefit from zero per cent finance, meaning that the Renault could cost you as little as £74 per month on a two-year agreement. 

Model:Citroen C3 Aircross You!
Price:£17,740
Powertrain:1.2-litre 3cyl turbo petrol
Power/torque:109bhp/205Nm
Transmission:Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62mph:10.1 seconds
Top speed:114mph
Economy/CO2:47.9mpg/134g/km
On sale:Now
L/W/H:4,155/1,765/1,637mm
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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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