Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

THERE’S a new range-topper for the
Citroen C3 Aircross line-up, called the
Rip Curl. It’s not the first time the Australian
surfing brand has given its name to a French
five-door model; along with previous
versions of the C3 Aircross and the firstgeneration
C4 Cactus, the name found its
way onto a Mk3 Renault Clio trim level, too.
While the link between any of those cars
and carving Bondi barrel waves might seem
like a bit of a stretch, it’s possibly the least
tenuous here. Given that this is one of the
most spacious compact SUVs around – and
has roof rails as standard – it shouldn’t be
too hard to load some boards and surfing
gear on top of or inside the car. It’s also
available with Citroen’s Grip Control, a
traction control system that adapts to
different surfaces, including a sand mode.
In reality, though, most buyers are going
because it’s essentially a C3 Aircross with
all of the possible extras thrown at it.
It gets a few select styling features to
help it stand out from the rest of the range.
Unique exterior details come in the form of
anodised blue trim for the door mirror caps
and skid-plate inserts. There are 17-inch
alloy wheels wrapped in all-season tyres
(more handy on the UK’s wintry roads than
on a summer beach, probably) and a choice
of four exterior paint colours.
Inside, the blue theme continues. The
colour can be found on the soft-touch area
spanning the top of the dashboard, the
half-leather-effect, half-cloth seats, the
air vent surrounds and the dash. The floor
mats also feature Rip Curl branding.
The previous Shine Plus range-topper is
taken as a starting point when it comes to
kit. Beyond that car’s generous standard
spec, which includes automatic air-con, satnav
with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,
lane-departure warning, cruise control, and
traffic-sign recognition, the Rip Curl adds
a panoramic roof, an uprated hi-fi and a
head-up display. Options include the Grip
Control system (£300), wireless smartphone
charging (£150) and a rear parking camera,
which saves £180 by removing the front and
rear parking sensors and adding a camera.
There’s a choice of one diesel and two
petrol engines, starting with the PureTech
110, a 108bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol
with a six-speed manual gearbox. The 1.5-
litre BlueHDi diesel has the same power,
but its 250Nm peak torque is 45Nm higher.
The range is topped by the model we’re
driving here, a 129bhp version of that 1.2
petrol, the PureTech 130, combined with
an automatic gearbox. This set-up delivers
decent performance; full throttle will see
0-62mph come up in 9.2 seconds, while
in any circumstance the relatively modest
weight and linear power delivery mean
that it moves along well enough. It’s this
flexibility that’s its strong suit.
However, very little engine braking, a
sluggish auto gearbox and a clunky stop/
start system – the latter making crawling
through heavy traffic a frustrating process –
all take the edge off the powertrain. The oldschool
wiggly gear selector is a little fiddly
to use, too; there’s a diagram to show you
the location of each position, but it, as
with the Sport button, is buried at the
back of the centre-console cubby.
Just like the rest of the C3 Aircross range,
comfort rather than sportiness is the priority
– and that’s fine by us. If it’s not for you,
then the Ford Puma covers that area. Here,
the relaxing nature starts with the soft

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