- Offers good levels of comfort
- Practical interior space
- Large driver’s instrument panel
- Touchscreen hard to operate on the move
- Engines can be a bit noisy
100 years ago Monsieur Andre-Gustave Citroen set up his business producing cars for the French and during that time some of the models have become truly iconic, think the stunning DS or the unmistakeable Traction Avant.
The French brand certainly know how to design quirky cars and of late their model range has seen a distinctive look and feel that definitely makes them stand out on the roads.
Their new C5 Aircross is another addition to their line up which has seen five models launched in two years, so we took it for a drive on the UK launch.
On The Road
There are five engines available for the C5 Aircross, two petrols and three diesels. The entry level 1.2 litre PureTech 130 petrol engine comes with a six speed manual gearbox and the three cylinder has 230 Nm of torque so it is punchy enough, although a bit noisy at times. The 1.6 litre PureTech 180 is mated with a very seamless, eight-speed automatic transmission and this propels it from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds.
With CO2 emissions as low as 118g/km for the PureTech 130, combined MPG figures are around the forties so running costs will be good.
Diesel options comes as a BlueHDi 130 engine which is available with either a six-speed manual gearbox or eight-speed automatic and a BlueHDi 180 that comes in just automatic transmission.
In keeping with what other manufacturers are doing, in 2020 Citroen will bring out a C5 Aircross plug-in hybrid and by 2025 they will have a 100% electric range across their entire model line up.
What is apparent is how good overall the drive is, it’s fairly agile yet has a composed ride and although it’s not a car you’ll be thrashing around in, it ticks the boxes for a decent runaround or motorway cruiser.
A highlight of the C5 Aircross is the fact that their Suspension with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions system comes as standard across the range.
This absorbs the bumps and uneven road surfaces we encounter daily, so passengers can travel in comfort for a smooth ride without any joltiness and it proved a welcome addition on the launch routes around Windsor and Ascot.
Available as an option is Citroen’s Grip Control system - ideal for the snowy conditions the UK is currently experiencing, or if you’re looking to be a bit more adventurous in the C5 Aircross as it has five driving modes to tackle all manner of terrain and also comes with hill descent assist.
The C5 Aircross concept was unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show in 2015 and not much has changed since the bold design was released to the world.
The chevron logo, which was reputed to be based on the double helical gears which Andre Citroen invented, and seen on the front of all Citroen models are out in force on the front of the C5 Aircross and it’s this visual which dominates the car, along with some sleek headlights, a futuristic looking grille, wheel arch protectors, roof bars and a familiar take on those Airbumps.
There are seven colours to choose from which include Tijuca Blue, Volcano Red and Polar White and with personalisation options there are 30 different combinations to match your car to your specific taste.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Citroen have been keen to make sure that comfort in the C5 Aircross is maximised so the seats are really well padded to ensure a snug fit. As you sit quite high up there is good visibility out the front but the rear window is quite narrow.
The 12.3-inch TFT driver’s screen which is customisable, sits alongside an 8-inch centre touchscreen display which shows all climate control, navigation, telephone, media and car settings but it can be quite difficult to use on the move. With regards to phone connectivity it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and there is the option of wireless phone charging.
There are three trim levels, Feel, Flair and Flair Plus and the entry level Feel comes with plenty of equipment including dual zone climate control, rear parking sensors, DAB radio, electric, heated door mirrors and a blind spot monitoring system.
Top of the rung Flair adds equipment such as keyless entry and start, wireless phone charging. acoustic laminted front windows, an opening panoramic glass roof and Active cruise control.
Space & Practicality
When manufacturers look to design a new model naturally they look at the competition and see what feedback, good or bad, their rivals have. In other SUV models the summisation was that there was a lack of space and a limited boot, so Citroen have taken that on board for the C5 Aircross.
With the biggest boot in its class at 580 litres this increases to 1,630 litres with the rear seats folded flat and that’s not all as it has a huge 1.90 metres load length so the model is extremely practical.
The rear seats can slide backwards and forwards for extra leg room, fold flat and can also be tilted.
There is plenty of storage around the cabin, there’s a decent sized glovebox, very large and deep centre armrest between the front seats, cup holders, a place for keys and phones and decent door pocket storage too.
The Citroen C5 Aircross is priced from £23,225 which is a good entry level price to the SUV market as it sits between the rival Kia Sportage which is a couple of thousand less, while the Peugeot 3008 is just slightly more.
So what did we think of the model? We found it to be hugely practical, the boot space and storage throughout the model making for an ideal family car and it’s unique design does make it stand out amongst its rivals, if you’re looking for something a bit quirky and different.
Citroen sold over 75,000 cars in the UK during 2018 and they’ll be looking to increase that figure during 2019. Can they achieve it? They certainly should with their current model line up.
Quality & Reliability
The Citroen C5 Aircross has been solidly built, materials are of a good quality, plastics seem fairly durable and leather additions to the cabin add a premium feel.
It’s a new model so we’ll have to see how it fares in terms of reliability, the smaller C3 Aircross hasn’t had any major issues but Citroen is still some way off rival manufacturers in this area.
The model has been named as one of the shortlisted contenders in the 2019 Car of the Year so it’ll be interesting to see if it can beat off the competition to take the prestigious title.
Safety & Security
The Citroen C5 Aircross hasn’t yet been tested in the EuroNCAP but we would expect it to do well, the smaller C3 Aircross scored the maximum five stars in 2017 and this model comes packed with driving assistance systems, nineteen to be exact.
These include lane departure warning, speed limit recognition, a reversing camera, blind spot monitoring, post collision safety brake, park assist and highway driver assist, which works alongside the adaptive cruise control with the stop and start function to allow the car to handle its speed, direction and lane position based on the car in front.
There are plenty of airbags, Isofix child seat points and security comes in the form of an alarm and remote central locking with deadlocks.