Citroën C3 Aircross Driven, reviewd, and rated.

Quirky Citroën was once a leader. Its innovations saw patents aplenty. Ride and handling were always been 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 cute, unless you’re talking about car sales.

This year has been 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 mistakes such as the diabolical semi-automatic transmission. This was the devil’s and had passengers lurching forward like drunken rag dolls every time the gears changed. Thankfully the Australian importers, Inchcape, threw it in the bin where it belongs.

Citroën realised that, to be competitive, it needed SUVs for the allegedly-activity-crazed modern market.

You beaut, they thought. Citroën got their hands on C4 Cactus, but it failed to capture buyer’s attention. Its sales have collapsed.

Despite sensational ride and a captivating design, buyers simply didn’t want it. Buyers want a proper automatic transmission, not some awful Frankenstein of a thing. Packaging was all wrong. You could only get a manual with the petrol engine, and the hideous robotized manual automatic with diesel. By then, buyers had started to abandon diesels in smaller cars.

Last year only 2 Cactus cars were sold and is now in runout. Cactus is cactus..

Since Australian buyers have American 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. It is fun, and funky, but is it too funky? Can Citroën rebuild? Charismatic Ben Farlow, Citroën’s new OZ boss, thinks so.

C3 Hatch review HERE

You can see Rob’s thoughts HERE.

The looks:

The front end has a cheeky double-layered effect created by the Citroën chevron insignia flanked by masses of chrome grille. It terminates in a smart set of LED headlights. Except, that is not the grille, and those are not