Citroën C3 Aircross driven, rated, and reviewed at the Australian Launch.
Quirky Citroën was once a leader. Its innovations saw patents aplenty. Ride and handling were always at the top of the list of must-haves, but all has not been rosy.
Last year Citroën sold a petite 495 cars. Petite is charming, unless you’re talking about car sales.
This year has been just as dire. Only 87 cars have been sold for the first quarter of 2019. Sister brand, Peugeot has done little better. Considering the size of the brands in Europe and China, Citroën deserves to do better. That makes me mad. Why? French cars are well made and fun to drive. Not only that, they are good value.
For some reason, Australians just don’t get it. Well listen up kids, I’ve got news for you.
Sure, there have been mistake The diabolical semi-automatic transmission for example. This device of torture was the devil’s work, and had passengers lurching forward like drunken rag dolls every time the gears changed.
Citroën realised that, to be competitive, it needed SUVs for the allegedly-activity-crazed modern market. It’s all smoke and mirrors. People who buy SUVs are buying and idea, an image, an ideal. They want height and the illusion of being able to go anywhere.
You beaut, thought Citroën, and out came C4 Cactus, but it failed to capture buyer’s attention. Its sales have evaporated.
Despite sensational ride and an enchanting design, buyers simply didn’t want it. Buyers want a proper automatic transmission, not some awful Frankenstein of a thing. Packaging was all wrong too. You could only get a manual with the petrol engine, and the hideous robotized manual automatic with diesel engines. By then, buyers had started to abandon diesels in smaller cars, and hated the Frankenmatic.
Last year only 2 Cactus cars were sold and is now in runout. Cactus is cactus. Vale Cactus.
Australian buyers share America’s colonial tastes in transmissions. Only a proper automatic will do. They’ll take a CVT automatic at a pinch, but they know what they want.
Citroën finally took the point and tossed the Frankenstein Automatic in the bin where it belonged.
Not to be deterred, PCA (Peugeot Citroën Australia) is sallying forth with the new C3 Aircross. 2nd time lucky? They’re so confident, C3 is soon to be followed by C5 Aircross, but I digress.
C3 Aircross comes in just one trim level chock-full of stuff. Citroën learned, finally, from the utter failure of the Frankenmatic in every model, with the possible exception of Berlingo.
IAircross is fun, and funky, but is it too funky? Can Citroën rise phoenix-like from the still smouldering ashes? Charismatic Ben Farlow, Citroën’s new OZ boss, says……