Few cars can put a smile on your face as quickly as Citroën’s C3 Aircross.

The compact sports utility vehicle combines everything that the French carmaker does best – funky looks, keen pricing and impressive comfort.

All this comes wrapped in a character-packed bundle that stands out from the crowd and is simply impossible to ignore.

Citroën is clearly on a roll at the moment, turning out one interesting car after the other and this little crossover is packed with personality and a range of options to make each car a little bit different.

Raised ground clearance, front and rear skid plates, large wheels and wheelarch extensions give strong looks, underscored by coloured roof bars, and ‘Venetian blind’ rear quarter-lights.

The exterior bi-tone roof, standard on the Flair trim level and available in three colours can be matched by one of the four exterior colour pack options, giving a total of 85 combinations.

Needless to say, the ability to personalise the interior is just as extensive as the exterior, with choices of seat upholstery, dashboard textures, door panel designs, and touches of colour on the central console surround, steering wheel, air vents and seat backs.

Inside, large comfortable seats are paired with plenty of storage space, an uncluttered dashboard and a huge opening panoramic sunroof.

Even better news is that as well as being rather stylish, the C3 Aircross is rather good to drive.

The driver’s seat and chunky steering wheel are quickly adjusted to give a relaxed driving position and the high driving position gives great all-round visibility.

Power on the test car came from a 130 horsepower petrol engine mated to a slick, six-speed manual gearbox giving lively acceleration and relaxed cruising with the possibility of up to 50mpg in day-to-day driving.

Priced from about £14,000, the C3 Aircross is also pretty practical with a split sliding and folding rear bench seat and split-folding and adjustable seat backs that are handy on longer journeys.

Boot space is sizeable and on the test car could be increased by sliding the bench seat forward. The boot floor can also be lifted to hide items away.

Like all modern SUVs, the Aircross is available with a huge range of technology from a colour head-up display, speed sign recognition and recommendation and active safety brake, to intelligent beam headlights, park assist, top rear vision reversing camera, keyless entry, push-button start as well as lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring systems.

A seven-inch touchscreen groups together functions such as air conditioning, radio, telephone and satellite navigation and the C3 Aircross is the first Citroën model to be equipped with wireless smartphone charging.

The test car also came equipped with ‘grip control’, a £400 option on upper grade models, which has five modes that work with the car’s electronic stability programme to deliver the best possible traction from both front wheels. It gives improved grip in snow, mud or sand without the increased weight and emissions of a standard 4x4 system.

To top it off the C3 Aircross has earned a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, so that should put a smile on your face too.

Auto facts

Model: Citroën C3 Aircross Flair PureTech 130

Price: £21,410 as tested

Insurance group: 16E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 53.3mpg

Top speed: 124mph

Length: 415.5cm/163.6in

Width: 176.5cm/69.5in

Luggage capacity: 14.4 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 9.9 gallons/45 litres

CO2 emissions: 119g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles