The staff at Duff Morgan, were great. No sales pitches, no corporate jargon; he knew what I was looking for and he had it ready for me. I was in and out in just 10 minutes.
Nowadays, there are two sorts of customers. One is the buyer; people looking to purchase vehicles for themselves. They generally choose their vehicles based on the work of the second sort; the bloggers. It is unfortunate that some establishments have an inflexible and painful procedure to arrange vehicle loans. If bloggers have to go to manufacturers for vehicles, the loan cars might not match what is available on the forecourt.
Duff Morgan did not jump at my call; they’re too busy and professional to do that, but what they did do was make a vehicle available to me. I had asked for something stylish, easy to drive and reliable both on and off road. They made a Citroen C3 Aircross available and went one step further to give a demonstration of how everything worked. Unnecessary as the interior design is very intuitive.
Three things were immediately apparent as I was shown through the essentials. Firstly, the basic controls, indicators, seat control and steering wheel adjustment are exactly where you would expect them. At last, manufacturers are appreciating that indicators should be on the left and the windscreen wipers are on the right.
Secondly, the heads-up display is brilliant. Sliding out of the dashboard, it is an adjustable screen display that sits just in the lower end of your peripheral vision and proved very useful when I was following the satnav through the snake bend turns outside of Ewelme. It’s not terribly complicated, but it made a world of difference, in terms of vehicle safety.
Thirdly, Duff Morgan really does expect their people to know their cars. The gentleman who introduced himself merrily as Dave, demonstrated everything that a driver would need. For example, the button to turn off the lane-wander alert. I can see the importance of this for driving on motorways but I was taking the Citroen C3 Aircross into a rural countryside, where lanes were only put down as an afterthought. I didn’t need that alert blaring away at me all day.
CITROEN C3 AIRCROSS
Citroen have gone to great lengths to create a fresh, powerful SUV suitable for both city and country living. The C3 Aircross is shaped like a 4×4, but is compact enough to manage city roads without bullying anyone to the side. It has enough kick in the engine to get you ahead of the traffic when the lights go green and to climb out of a ditch that you’ve idiotically driven into when going across a field. It looks cool too. “Robust and protective” is how Citroen have labelled it on their website.
A high bonnet, underlined with chrome-finish chevrons and incorporating an LED light signature really does look the part and the quarter lights are made of polycarbonate, with a coloured layer in the centre, creating a strong graphic contrast on each rear pillar.
OFFROAD (Ewelme Roads)
With its raised clearance, large wheels and Grip Control with Hill Descent Assist the Citroën C3 Aircross is ready to take on all types of terrain. You can modify the degree of traction with this feature to suit the terrain and control the vehicle speed when driving downhill, even on a steep slope.
Also, as around the time of using the vehicle Britain was buried under several inches of snow thanks to the Beast from The East this turned out to be an essential quality that probably saved my life.
The roads inside Ewelme are what you would expect in a town so near to Oxford, the parking is not. When I stopped to grab some provisions from the local stores (fire-starter and meat), the parking assist really came in handy.
The reversing camera with Top Rear Vision provides a 180° rear view of the area behind the vehicle, on the 7’’ touch screen.
I was visiting Chilterns View, an award winning glamping location outside of Oxford known for it’s unique and stylish lodges. I had enough luggage for one night. The Citroen C3 Aircross has the largest boot in its segment, with 410 litres that can be increased to 520 litres thanks to split rear sliding seats. However, it was almost all used up thanks to my girlfriend realising that Ewelme is only 15 miles away from her cousin’s house! This would be a great opportunity to return the mattress and duvet that she had borrowed three years earlier.
It turns out that if you fold down the rear seats, you can increase the entire boot space to a staggering 1289 litres! A fact that I did not mention to my girlfriend, at the time.
Thinking about it, I was driving by myself. If you had a family or a group of friends and were looking for a car to support a combination of outdoorsy and city living, the Aicross is ideal.
Strong on everyday practicality, the new C3 Aircross also features a removable luggage shelf. This can be stored in a vertical position, behind the rear bench, for transporting tall objects. A further ingenious touch is the dual-height mobile boot floor, which provides a flat floor when the rear seats are folded down.
Understanding the needs of modern passengers, the Aircross’ central console features a dedicated storage compartment for wireless smartphone charging. Compatible smartphone apps are also accessible from the 7″ touch screen through the Mirror Screen function, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Vehicles need to make a driver feel confident. When you’re confident behind the wheel, your mind works at its optimum levels and this is important for concentration.
I did feel that the Citroen C3 Aircross was ever so slightly boxy, while I was driving. The driver position is quite high and yet the car doesn’t feel quite wide enough to balance this out. For all the fineries, it does put it out of sorts when faced with an off road challenge. And don’t park this next to an actual Landrover! It reminded me of that advert with a Shetland pony standing next to a real horse.
This award-winning car was not a disappointment, even including the above balanced points. It was a pleasure to drive and a good choice. If this is how Duff Morgan treats their bloggers, imagine the level of service their buyers receive.