The French are known for their love for wine, fashion, and crème brûlée (I searched the correct spelling for this one). They are also known for the quirks in their cars, and Citroën is no different. Citroën launched the C3 Aircross a few months back, which was available only in a stick shift variant. However, responsive to feedback from the media, customers, and dealer partners, Citroën has decided to extend its repertoire by offering an automatic transmission option for the compact SUV. This strategic move aims to broaden the appeal of the C3 Aircross, providing a more convenient driving experience to a wider audience. How is it to drive? That’s what we are gonna find!
At first look, the gear lever gives you a déjà vu of an AMT lever (we don’t know why?). The unit on offer is a 6-speed torque converter. Brownie points to Citroën for not using an AMT or a CVT. The torque converter generates an additional 1.5 kgm of torque compared to its manual counterpart, totaling 20.9 kgm, which honestly is not a bad figure considering it is paired to the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine. This boost translates into improved performance and a more engaging driving experience.
The 6-speed AT with the turbo petrol offers a good amount of drivability. The gear shifts are fairly smooth, and the shifts are responsive. Under normal driving conditions, the transitions between gears are seamless, contributing to a comfortable and effortless ride. However, under hard acceleration, a slight delay is noticeable. Fortunately, this delay doesn’t significantly impact the overall acceleration, and the driving experience remains enjoyable.
The suspension setup remains unchanged, embodying the characteristic softness and comfort associated with French monique. The C3 Aircross performs admirably once it crosses the 40 kmph mark. While a touch of softer suspension at slower speeds could be desired, it is not a deal-breaker, particularly in the context of the compact SUV segment.
While the automatic variant of the Citroën C3 Aircross brings commendable improvements to the driving dynamics, the overall package may leave some potential buyers deliberating.
In an era where the features on offer often serve as decisive factors, Citroën’s omission of certain amenities like a sunroof, ventilated seats, push-button start, and keyless entry might disappoint buyers who prioritize these comforts. In a competitive market where rivals are consistently enhancing their offerings with advanced features, the C3 Aircross could be perceived as somewhat under-equipped in comparison.
However, despite these drawbacks, the Citroën C3 Aircross Automatic remains a compelling choice for those seeking a blend of style and practicality in a compact SUV, coupled with the added convenience of an automatic transmission. The enhanced torque, smooth gear shifts, and overall driving experience position it as a worthy contender in its segment. As the automotive market continues to evolve, Citroën‘s success with the automatic variant will likely hinge on how well it resonates with consumers seeking a harmonious balance between performance and features in their compact SUV.