C3 Aircross Set To Kickstart Citroen’s Comeback In Malaysia

This rumoured spearhead of Citroen’s return to Malaysia is apparently to cost below RM 100k. 

For those in the market for an affordable family hauler, it might be worth holding out for a few more months yet. Such is because there may soon be a funky French alternative landing in Malaysia in the next couple of months, in the form of the Citroen C3 Aircross. 

And if the whispers on the automotive grapevine is to be believed too, this upcoming debut model marking the return of Citroen locally might just give prospective buyers of the Honda WR-V and Proton X50 (or a Perodua Alza or Toyota Veloz actually, as will become apparent below) something to really consider. Particularly when considering that this upcoming C3 Aircross is currently rumoured to land over here later this year wearing a price tag of below RM 100,000!

Just before anyone thinks that a five-figure French car is perhaps too good to be true too, it is worth highlighting that Stellantis has after all already announced that the soon-to-be-revived Citroen over here is set to be positioned as its mass market marque over here. Its massive plant in Gurun also means that it is therefore financially (and legally) feasible for these French compact crossovers to land in a locally-assembled form for less than six-figures.  

Most importantly however, the C3 Aircross is not exactly to be the most upmarket of continental automobiles. In fact, the prior iteration (which incidentally landed locally wearing a price tag of RM 115,888) is probably best described as funky rather than fancy. 

The prior iteration of Citroen C3 Aircross.

Though if going by the specs of this latest iteration of C3 Aircross launched early last year in India at least, this latest iteration of compact Citroen crossover has certainly upped the fanciness, thanks to a more sharply styled exterior than its cutesy predecessor. More pertinently too is that it also isn’t to be all that small already actually, as this current version in India has grown to almost be HR-V sized, with there being up to 7-seats within as well! 

Now interjecting for a bit here as to why the Indian version needs to be highlighted, this is due to there being another version of the C3 Aircross — with a boxier design but shares on the same platform — that will soon be offered in Europe. It is nevertheless all but expected for Malaysia to be getting the Indian-spec car, from the fact that this model has already been earmarked by Citroen for export to Asian and African right-hand drive markets.    

The Euro-spec Citroen C3 Aircross.

So just delving a little bit more on what to expect then with this Indian-market French crossover, this latest C3 Aircross features a somewhat rounded face made sleek by Citroen’s Y-Shaped daytime running lamps flanking a twin-tier front grille. Body cladding on the lower third of its doors and chunky 17-inch alloy wheels meanwhile accentuate its boxy side profile, with this transition from its previously curvy to currently cubist state completed with a wholly square rump and squarish tail lights. 

This square arse does however expectedly translate to quite a large boot, with Citroen currently claiming that the 511 litres (with the third row completely removed) is good enough to see the C3 Aircross earn best-in-class for cargo capacity in the Indian market. The French automaker further highlights in the Indian marketing material that the 7-seat variants nets a first-in-segment (in India) roof mounted air-con vents and reclinable second row too, while the niceties all the way up front include a 10-inch central infotainment display and all-digital instrument cluster integrated within its straight-edged dashboard. 

What Citroen fails to highlight though is for the C3 Aircross (in India at least) to be rather skint on kit, with any form of active safety aids conspicuously missing from the spec sheet over there. This could, and more pertinently should, be rectified over here by Stellantis of course, if it wants to stay on the shopping lists of prospective buyers for this crossover over here. 

In terms of propulsion now, driving the front wheels of these Indian-market C3 Aircrosses are to be a 1.2-litre turbocharged mild-hybrid three cylinder that is paired to either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. Power and torque figures for this engine (that Citroen terms as the PureTech 110) is currently rated at a decent 110 PS and 205 Nm when mated to the self-shifting transmission, with this powertrain pairing touted to also be capable of achieving 17.6 km/l.  

Interestingly enough, the Brazilian spec of this C3 Aircross comes fitted with a smaller 1.0-litre turbo three-pot and CVT combination that somehow pumps out more power at 130 PS, with a similar amount of torque at 200 Nm. Though perhaps most interesting when it comes to what lies under the hood of this Citroen is for there to be an all-electric version of this crossover currently in the works, with this EV reportedly still to retain the 7-seat layout too. 

But before thinking that far ahead, it is unfortunately worth highlighting here that Stellantis Malaysia has not actually officially confirmed the imminent arrival of the C3 Aircross locally, much less its rumoured price tag of less than RM 100,000. Then again, going from Citroen’s current international lineup, this model is basically the strongest (and frankly only) card it can play over here that fits into its mass market target bracket. So, anyone up for one of these French fancies over an Alza?

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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