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The Motorists' Guide

Citroen C5 Aircross Review

Steve Q

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Steve drives Citroen's largest SUV to see how it compares in a very competitive market sector. 

Compared to many of its rivals Citroen was a late arrival to the SUV party, releasing the C5 Aircross on its brand new platform in 2017 into the Chinese market and then launched into the European market the following year. So, the question is, can the C5 Aircross compete against its rivals such as the Mazda CX-5 and the Volkswagen Tiguan. 

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Both the C5 Aircoss and its smaller stablemate the C3 Aircross are designed and built on a brand new Citroen derived chassis which the C5 Aircross shares with the Peugeot 3008 . Compared to previous Citroen SUV attempts, these two models mark the start of new chapter of Citroen SUVs. It cannot be denied this C5 Aircross does have a funky design, thanks to it squared off rear and curvy, yet high raked front. Adding to the quirks is a grill which vaguely resembles some steps as well as plastic cladding along the sills and arches. The exterior is finished off with nicely painted/polished 19" wheels which compliments the styling perfectly. 

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Stepping into the cabin it is clear that there is plenty of head room and leg space for both front and rear passengers, as well as a very impressive boot size at just under 600 litres. The seats are comfortable and offer great amount of adjustment as well as being nicely spaced from the pedals, the rear seats not only recline but also slide independently to offer more leg room or boot space depending which you or your passengers require more which is a nice touch. There's a touch of retroness in here with a semi square steering wheel reminiscent of an Austin Allegro along with rectangular instrument cluster with sliding speedo. In the middle of the dash is an 8" touch screen which controls the infotainment system such as the digital radio, sat nav, ventilation controls and acts as the screen for the reverse camera. Compared to similar systems found on Citroens rivals I found this system a bit slow and complicated which takes away from the pleasant cabin. my other complaint is the location of the cupholders which when in use obstructs the use of the gearstick and could cause frustration if you are changing gears a lot. Overall the cabin has a reasonable fit and finish, helped with a combination of soft/hard plastics that allows the cabin feel well put together but lacking some quality compared to its rivals. 

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No photo description available.

On the road

The model I have on test is the three cylinder 1.2 Petrol turbo engine with 130bhp and 0-60 of 10.5 seconds mated to a six speed manual gearbox which I found sprightly but did have noticeable levels of turbo lag. Despite this, the engine was quiet except when entering the higher rev range and I felt it was one of the better three cylinder engines on the market currently. This is boosted by its efficiency and official figures for the 1.2 is 44.2mpg and 149g/km of CO2. The brakes are good too with good feel, but can bite more at very low speed when coming to a stop, giving the car a very slight jolt. Citroen prides itself on ride comfort and with the C5 Aircross it is no exception. the vehicle has MacPherson front suspension and a torsion rear beam with trailing arms. this so far ill admit is not out of the ordinary to most other cars in this class or in fact on the road. Where the C5 Aircross differs however, is that it is fitted with Progressive hydraulic cushions which is a new concept by Citroen.  Rather than having rubber bumpstops like most vehicles Citroen has designed a replacement in the way of a pair of hydraulic bumpstops. on both rear corners one which manages compression, the other rebound. The aim is to dissipate the energy from the road rather than absorbing it like with a rubber equivalent, thus giving passengers a nicer ride. However, despite the clever suspension, the car does lean into corners if its pushed. The steering feels precise and responsive as well as being light which is ideal when parking but less so when at  a faster pace. I also found there was a substantial amount of glare from the sun being reflected off the dash and into my eyes which was annoying to say the least. The drive is definitely geared more to a relaxed form of driving as apposed to an aggressive style. if you are wanting a more sporty feel then look else where. 

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No photo description available.


the C5 Aircross has a good level of safety as standard including lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, driver attention alert and a good array of airbags as standard which gained the C5 a 4 star Euro Ncap rating. There is an optional safety pack which includes Blindspot warning and a better autonomous emergency braking system. This optional pack takes the C5 to 5 stars with Euro Ncap. 


Overall, the C5 Aircross was an adequate allrounder having a comfortable ride and gutsy engine. The key plus popint for the C5 Aircross is the size of the boot and space overall which is nothing less than impressive. it is cheaper than its rivals but you do get what you pay for. Most of the Citroens competitors have nicer interior materials and better infotainment systems. However the C5 Aircross design is a lot quirkier than its rivals both on the inside and outside which will appeal to buyers who want to stand out in the saturated SUV market. 

File:Citroën C5 Aircross registered April 2019 1200cc.jpg ...

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