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Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid 136 (2022 - )

The Citroen C5 Aircross is practical, well-equipped and competitively priced making it an attractive all-rounder.

Starting price:

Why we love it:
  • Exceptionally comfortable with room for all the family
  • Well-equipped and competitively priced
  • Wide choice of efficient petrol, diesel and hybrid engines
Where it could be better:
  • Not the most engaging handling
  • Gearbox can be a little jumpy if pushed hard
  • Expect some body roll if you throw this car into bends
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Citroen C5 Aircross

Citroen has added an ultra-efficient new hybrid powertrain to its family-focused C5 Aircross SUV. The stylish five-door model was already available with a choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines, but new for 2023 is a hybrid unit that slashes carbon emissions and delivers improved fuel economy along the way.

This latest set-up is called the Hybrid 136 and sees a petrol engine working with a 48-volt battery and, according to Citroen, the hybrid system enables the car to drive solely on electric power for up to 0.6 of a mile. This may not sound that impressive, but in urban driving it is possible that electric propulsion can be used for up to 50 per cent of the time. That in turn, reduces the CO2 emissions around town. 

While the C5 Aircross is available in trim levels called Sense Plus, Shine, C-Series Edition and e-series, the Hybrid 136 unit is only offered in Shine and e-series. We tested the car in Shine specification on a varying road route near Paris.

Citroen C5 Aircross

The Citroen C5 Aircross is a five-door family SUV that’s very easy on the eye with its upright design, LED headlights with signature daytime running lights, narrow black grille housing the Citroen emblem, 3D LED rear lights, body-coloured bumpers, black roof rails, privacy glass, gloss black door mirrors, Airbump insert and 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels.

Moving inside, the interior has a clutter-free and well-thought-out layout with black Alcantara and leather-effect upholstery and plenty of quality soft-touch surfaces. The main focal point is the 10-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, a six-speaker sound system, DAB radio and much more besides. 

There are quick keys offering easy access to certain functions such as the climate control, telephone and car settings, plus a clear 12-3-inch digital instrument display cluster behind the steering wheel. 

This model also shows more details about the energy flow of the new Hybrid 136 system. Although lots of this information will not really interest most owners, it is good to see how much of a journey has been completed in electric-only mode.

The car features Citroen’s Advanced Comfort seats that are perfectly shaped and cushioned to feel like a favourite armchair thanks to memory foam padding that you sink into. Expect to find similar comfort from the trio of individual adult-sized rear seats too.

On The Road

Citroen C5 Aircross

Handling & Performance

There is a wealth of new technology powering this new Hybrid 136 model, including an upgraded version of the company’s 1.2-litre, three-cylinder PureTech petrol engine that develops 134bhp and 170Nm of torque. In addition, it boasts 48-volt hybrid technology, along with a 21kW electric motor and the car also features a newly-developed six-speed dual transmission called e-DCS6.

On the performance front, the car can reach 62mph from a standing start in 10.2 seconds and has a top speed of 124mph. While those stats are not the most thrilling, Citroen has always emphasised that the C5 Aircross prioritises comfort and refinement above blistering pace.

But that said; it copes well when cruising at the national speed limit on motorways and, when faced with twisting country lanes, it’s confident enough although you will experience some body sway if driven too enthusiastically into and out of tight bends.

The new gearbox is smooth if treated with a degree of respect and there are steering wheel paddles if you fancy taking a little more control over the gear shifts. In addition, drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport change the driving characteristics of the vehicle as well as the display on the tft screen with Sport mode adopting a red glow. 

The elevated driving position offers good all-round visibility which is a bonus in busier city centres and, with powered seats and manual steering wheel adjustment, finding a comfy driving position is a simple process.

Expect lounge-like comfort inside the C5 Aircross with cushioned seats and the effective suspension also helps to smooth out the ride. Factor in the excellent insulation that protects occupants from outside noise intrusion and this car is a very refined piece of kit.

The car starts up in silence and it’s worth noting the petrol engine and electric motor can run together or separately. As a result, the latest Hybrid 136 technology sees a 15 per cent reduction in CO2 and 15 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the PureTech 130 engine.

Citroen C5 Aircross

Space & Practicality

The five-door C5 Aircross is a family-sized SUV that’s big on space and practicality. It stretches 4,500mm in length, is 2,099mm across (including mirrors), 1,689mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,730mm.

There is ample room up front for a couple of six footers to sit comfortably and back seat passengers are treated to three individual seats that can slide back and forth as well as featuring adjustable backrests.

The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and can accommodate 720 litres of luggage, increasing to 1,630 litres with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat and there is extra storage beneath boot floor. This capacity drops to 600 and 1,510 litres on the plug-in hybrid version.

Carrying heavy or awkwardly-shaped items is made simpler thanks to the boot’s wide and square opening, along with a low loading lip.

Inside, there is a number of practical storage options scattered throughout the cabin. These include a deep and illuminated central cubby bin, glovebox, narrow door pockets, front cup holders, trays, seat back pockets and a mobile phone charging pad. There are also coat hooks on the B pillars.


Citroen C5 Aircross

Running Costs

The Citroen C5 Aircross line-up is quite extensive with various powertrains and a wide range of trim levels. The entry-levels Sense Plus model with the PureTech 130 petrol engine and six-speed manual gearbox costs £27,815. Moving to the other end of the scale, the Plug-in Hybrid (PureTech 180 petrol and 80kW electric) model in range-topping e-series is priced at £38,375.

Our test car, the PureTech 136 in Shine specification, was priced at £32,295. This new powertrain is also available on the high-end e-series model and that costs £33,475.

According to official WLTP-tested figures, our test car could deliver a combined 45.6-53.3mpg with carbon emissions of 129g/km.

The CO2 figure would result in a first-year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £210 which would drop to the standard cost for hybrids of £170 after 12 months.

There are a number of optional packs that can be added at an extra fee, but it’s worth noting that if the price exceeds £40k, owners will need to pay an additional premium car levy of £370 for five years starting from year two.

For any business drivers eyeing up the C5 Aircross Hybrid 136 as a company car, it has a Benefit in Kind tax rating of 30 per cent.


Citroen C5 Aircross

With so many powertrains and trims to choose from the Citroen C5 Aircross will appeal to a wide range of owners. It’s certainly not a car for anyone demanding a thrill-seeking and energised performance, but Citroen openly admits it’s a model that delivers sublime comfort as a priority over handling.

It is practical, well-equipped and competitively priced making it an attractive all-rounder. It will be interesting to see if this new Hybrid 136 unit with improved efficiency will lead to the gradual demise of the diesel-powered models in the line-up. Only time will tell.

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By Maxine Ashford
Sep 19, 2023

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