Off the beaten track
The directions from Mozambique’s N2 highway to Massinga Beach on the coast indicate “4×4 only”. Now, even though Citroën’s first SUV in the South African market does have 4wd on demand, you’d be forgiven a certain wariness. In these parts, conditions tend to tax, if not exceed, the abilities of the average Sandton kerbjumper.
We needn’t have worried. For one thing, the Aircross comfortably coped with the dozen kilometres of sand track through the bush. Its 200 mm of ground clearance proved to be ample. Where we hit particularly deep sand and uphills, momentum did the trick. Even the two-wheel drive versions were fine, though deflating their tyres to allow better flotation may have been partly responsible for a few flats resulting from hitting hidden tree roots.
Citroën’s launch of the Aircross shows its eagerness to get a slice of the SUV market, the second-fastest-growing area of new-car sales locally. Offered in two drive-trains (one with drive switchable between 2wd and awd, and other with just 2wd) the Aircross uses a 2,0-litre petrol engine developing 113 kW and 197 N.m. Transmission is either manual or CVT.
In positioning the Aircross, Citroën has consciously gone where the bulk of potential buyers are. It’s only the most expensive model, the R369 900 Seduction CVT, that gets all-wheel drive. The rest, starting at R100 000 less, are geared to the urban SUV market where the look is more important than the awd ability, though as we found the Aircross is still quite capable in conditions that would thwart normal cars but are doable for a soft-roader. The mid-level versions offer a formidable range of standard features that add up to a highly competitive package. The list includes 7 airbags, funky detailing, and Bluetooth wireless streaming.
Wallpapers> New on the block (September 2012 issue)