Being forced to sit on the sidelines for a fair chunk of the past month has seen the C3 Aircross take a well-earned break from regularly transporting me to the four corners of my home city and beyond. No, I haven’t had a brush with the law, but I did have a date with a surgeon’s knife to fix a long-standing wrist issue. ‘Job done’ as they might say in the hospital canteen, but the need to rest for a bit has meant only a modest number of miles have passed under the small Citroën’s wheels.
Sans bandages and stitches, getting back behind the wheel of the C3 Aircross coincided with a welcome drop in the price of diesel. Good things come to those who are forced to wait – and wear an annoying bandage for a fortnight – apparently. It certainly took the edge off the post-surgery pain and faff of getting dressed one-handed. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself as I paid fractionally less for the all-important dead dinosaur juice.
Okay, so the enforced sabbatical wasn’t exactly long enough to re-evaluate every one of my life choices to date, but it did mean I could look at the C3 Aircross with relatively fresh eyes, after more than two weeks of being picked up or walking everywhere.
I’m a big fan of Android Auto, but it’s not perfect, and it can occasionally be a little glitchy. This prompts me to revert to the Citroën’s own navigation system, which is functional, but boasts outdated map graphics. During my return to driving, I swear I saw an on-screen message about an update. Naturally I was actually driving, so couldn’t read the rather wordy message, but it would appear that the system is now more fluid in its operation, and some mapping screens have been made prettier. I approve of this perceived, or actual, change to the car’s infotainment system, to the point that the all-knowing Google brain in my phone now often takes a back seat.
A quick look under the C3’s bonnet will show that aesthetics has never been a major consideration for Citroën’s engineers. It’s all predictably functional, and it’s still possible to see the car’s naked engine – you won’t find a decorative plastic cover here. And you won’t find any fancy bonnet stay, either. What you will eventually find is a small black rod and a fiddly hole to shove one end in to stop the bonnet from landing on your head. You’d be naïve to expect gas struts, but I’d have hoped to see a little more finesse, especially as the location of the all-important hole isn’t immediately obvious. I get the impression that Citroën engineers just don’t expect owners to lift the bonnet much any more.
Still, as time with my C3 Aircross is coming to an end, I fully expect to be accused of nitpicking with my criticism of bonnet stays. But you try propping up the bonnet in the dark. And I’m saving one last proper moan for my last instalment. It’s a BBC-inspired repeat, but worth it with respect to my recent miraculous medical intervention. I still can’t fault the rest of the car, although I suspect you already knew I would say that. It just keeps plodding along – much like me – delivering wallet-friendly fuel economy and a thoroughly competent driving experience.
Arrived 13th December 2021
Price when new £22,670
Price as tested £22,670
Economy 67.2mpg (combined) 57.2mpg (on test)
Costs None Faults None