By targeting a busy segment of the market with an unconventional but clever design pitched at a mainstream price Citroën could be on to a winner with the C5 Aircross
Perhaps because it’s come so late to the SUV party, Citroen reckons the C5 Aircross answers buyer concerns about the relative lack of comfort and practicality in the latest fashion-led soft-roaders.
It’s based on the same front-drive platform as the Peugeot 3008, but it’s 55mm longer in the wheelbase and stretched by the same amount overall. The idea is that the C5 Aircross is more spacious on the inside than your average medium SUV, more comfortable with Citroen’s new-generation Advanced Comfort Seats (15mm surface foam, mattress-like filling and more memory foam underneath) and especially more practical. According to Citroën Ireland their new C-Segment SUV, sets a new bar for comfort in its segment thanks to its Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension which are a standard feature across the entire range. After spending a week with the Aircross I can attest it was a comfortable and smooth drive.
Measuring 4.5m long, 1.7m high and 2.1m wide, the broad and imposing front end is paired with a two-tier light signature and an assertively designed grille. The upper light units, which comprise of the daytime running lights and indicators, extend out from the iconic chevrons on the front and stretch across the entire width of the vehicle for a modern and expressive look. The body features wheel arches extensions and lower body panels with a classic SUV look, Airbump® panels are also available with personalised coloured inserts along with front, side and roof bars for extra modernity and personality.
All models come equipped with three individual sliding, folding and reclining rear seats for extra practicality and include boast best-in-class boot space of 580-litres to 720-litres. ConnectedCAM, a factory fitted dashboard camera from Citroën is also standard across the range. These features ensure optimal levels of comfort, practicality and safety across the entire range. The New C5 Aircross is available in four trim levels Start, Touch, Feel & Flair with prices starting from €26,495.
The entry ‘Start’ trim level includes features such as an 8” touchscreen display, cruise control, active safety brake and air conditioning. The ‘Touch’ edition adds items such as 17” alloys, rear parking sensors, folding mirrors, android auto & apple car play while the ‘Feel’ model benefits from 18” alloys, front parking sensor, privacy glass, wireless phone charging and active blind spot detection. The ‘Flair’ is the top specification level and includes additional items such as 19” alloys, Citroën connect navigation, keyless entry and keyless start, a Panoramic Sunroof with interior LED ambient lighting and various driver assistance systems such as park assist, active lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. Highway driver assist is also standard on Flair models coupled with the EAT8 automatic transmission, this feature combines adaptive cruise control, active lane departure warning and a stop & go feature to manage driving semi-autonomously in specific driving conditions.
The C5 Aircross comes with a selection of two petrol and two diesel engines. The popular PureTech petrol offer, comprises of a 1.2litre 130hp engine paired with a 6-speed manual transmission and a 1.6litre 180hp unit which comes with the choice of a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. The Blue HDI diesel offers a 1.5litre 130hp engine with the choice of a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission and a 2.0litre 180hp unit which comes as standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Citroens are renowned for their ride comfort, a trait the company’s bosses are keen to focus their attention on with forthcoming models. The C5 Aircross is the first model designed with the Citroen Advanced Comfort philosophy in mind from the outset, although the revised C4 Cactus hatchback also has some of these developments retrospectively installed.
Chief among the hardware changes is the aforementioned suspension set-up with what Citroen calls Progressive Hydraulic Cushions. It doesn’t completely replicate the famed ‘magic carpet ride’ of hydropneumatic Citroens of old, but it does iron out the majority of surface imperfections without making the C5 Aircross list like a ship whenever you encounter a corner.
The roads in my area can be bad in places, with plenty of big potholes once you venture away from the main town centre locations and nearby motorways. A tough test then for the C5 Aircross. I found the C5 Aircross chassis cruised at ease on the open road, combining the right degree of classic Citroen “waft” with good body control and handled the rougher road conditions very well. And don’t mistake comfort-oriented dynamics for a sluggish feel: the C5 Aircross is literally light on its feet, with a kerb weight of just 1430kg.
Following the launch, Pat Ryan, MD of Citroën Ireland commented “This is an extremely exciting car for the Citroën brand here in Ireland, not only due to the strength of the product but also due to the strength of the segment it is competing in. The C-SUV segment is the largest Passenger car segment in Ireland and represents over 20% of the total market. The introduction of the New C5 Aircross means consumers no longer need to sacrifice practicality for style. The C5 Aircross offers the latest driver assistance systems, class-leading comfort, space and practicality in addition to market leading fuel economy. As you would expect from Citroën, the new C5 Aircross is also colourful, stylish and offers eye catching personalisation which is a unique proposition in this crowded segment. With the combination of practicality and style on offer we are looking forward to compete with the likes of the Ford Kuga, Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson.”
The New C5 Aircross will be the first Citroën available with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology which will arrive in Ireland this year offering low CO2 emissions and a range of 50 km in fully electric mode.
Overall the Citroen’s deliberately non-sporty demeanour and strong visual character are hugely refreshing. The interior ambience is pretty chill as well – lounge-like in its styling and high in equipment. The controls are pleasingly simple but there’s hi-tech on board, including a neat virtual instrument panel.
Model Citroën C5 Aircross
Engine Size 1.2-litre PureTech 130
Transmission 6 Speed Manual, front wheel drive
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 10.5 seconds
Top Speed 185 km/h
CO2 Emissions 153g/km
Road Tax €200 per year
Base Price €26,495
Our Test Model €33,695