With its plastic skins, the Citroën C5 Aircross looks more adventurous than many other SUVs. But that is deceptive, because the Frenchman has no all-wheel drive even in the top motorization as a plug-in hybrid. Nevertheless, the car has far more than just a right to exist. It clearly stands out from the competition and in contrast to the general trend, Citroën not only remains true to its philosophy, but also remains down-to-earth in terms of price. Nevertheless, one wish remains unfulfilled.
The C5 Aircross is actually quite compact, but with the high bonnet, the comprehensive plastic sheeting all around and the proud height, it looks bigger than it actually is. In the course of the facelift, the front in particular, whose grille now visually connects the headlights, was given a more striking design. With the fine air bumps on the side and the rounded window line, the C5 Aircross is pleasingly independent in view of the entire SUV boom.
The C5 Aircross is characterized by a high roof line, air bumps and rounded window graphics.
space en masse
The stately appearance has a positive effect on the space available. Not only in the front, but also in the rear you sit nice and airy. Citroën not only has a sliding rear seat, but also three full-size seats without a center tunnel, so that even three people can sit reasonably comfortably. The trunk also benefits from a cubic and easy-to-load shape.
In the rear, you can sit on three easy-to-reach and moveable seats.
The seats are very comfortable, more reminiscent of a sofa than a car seat. The C5 Aircross is correspondingly soft, but with hardly any lateral support. The digital cockpit is freely configurable, but the infotainment system is no longer the youngest. Free voice control, quick response times or online services are therefore all unfulfilled wishes. It’s a shame, because more should have happened as part of the facelift.
Simple and high-quality processed cockpit. The seats are designed for maximum comfort.
Soft and harmonious
The predestined modes for the Citroën are clearly the electric and hybrid modes. In these modes, the Frenchman drives very smoothly and comfortably, everything has a very decelerating effect. Ah yes: don’t forget to turn on the massage. Demanding precision and feedback from the soft steering would be asking too much, the C5 Aircross is trimmed too much for comfort. But he does it very well, the ride is harmonious and comfortable. Something different than the artificial sportiness everywhere else. But Citroën has made an effort with the brakes: the transition between recuperation and real braking is hardly noticeable and although the brake pedal is – unsurprisingly – rather soft, you shouldn’t be fooled by it. If necessary, the SUV brakes with a vehemence that I would not have believed the car capable of.
New logo, new grill and new headlights. The front is unusually high for a compact SUV.
A sport mode is available, but it doesn’t really suit the car. The car reacts much more sensitively to the accelerator pedal and the system performance only really comes into its own in this mode. But the frequent roar of the engine, that slightly tormented squeezing out of maximum power; that’s no fun anyway, especially since the shift paddles react to inputs with a slight delay. Better to keep the car decelerating even on winding roads.
All-wheel drive is not available with any engine, but given the many mild winters, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Down-to-earth in price
If you only want a little driving pleasure, the C5 Aircross is logically nothing for you in the long run. Nevertheless, I find it a very successful SUV: it promises comfort and it also offers it without making any compromises. It is spacious and, with reliable assistance systems and powerful brakes, does not compromise on safety.
The hybrid is the only more powerful engine, the pure combustion engines already end at 96 kW.
In addition, Citroën does not go premium and is raising prices sharply, as is currently en vogue. Instead, for CHF 55,000 you get a well-equipped, solidly sized SUV with a harmonious plug-in hybrid drive. All-wheel drive is missing, but if you don’t live in the mountains, you won’t miss it. The only pity I find is that you have to choose the hybrid drive if you want a reasonably decent motorized car. A beefy diesel would suit the car so well, especially as PSA diesels have always had a reputation for being very refined and smooth running. But tempi passati. I just wonder if the French aren’t shooting themselves in the foot with that. In particular, the clientele in this price segment does not always have the opportunity to charge at home. Anyone who assumes this is thinking totally unrealistic.
You will not find such a comfortable SUV anywhere else in this price segment.
The Citroën C5 Aircross offers comfortable space for three people in the rear, a lush trunk and pleasant massage programs for the front occupants. In addition, there is a good overview and a handy turning circle.
Due to the focus on driving comfort, the C5 Aircross does not make any big leaps in terms of driving dynamics.
The consumption is acceptable in relation to the system performance. In practice, however, the purely electric range is less than 40 kilometers.
Distinctive details such as the radiator grille, the roof rails or the air bumps help the C5 Aircross to make a strong impression.
+ Distinctive, independent design
+ High-quality workmanship
+ Numerous shelves
+ Very comfortable seats, top ergonomics, optional massage function
+ Generous space
+ Different driving modes with a clear spread
+ High driving comfort
+ Powerful brakes, comfortable pressure point
+ Small turning circle
+ Short loading time
+ Attractively priced
– Feelless steering
– Hardly any lateral support
– Sluggish infotainment system
– Pure combustion versions are very weak
– No four-wheel drive
Defects in the test car
– No defects
Brand / modelCitroën C5 Aircross PHEVPrice basic model / test car44,490 CHF / 55,480 CHFDrivePetrol plug-in hybrid / front-wheel driveDisplacement / cylinder1598 ccm / R4Engine arrangement / engine conceptFront engine / turbo engine + electric motorGearbox8-speed automatic transmissionMax. System power 165 kW Max. System torque 360 NmVmax225 km/hAcceleration 0 – 100 km/h8.7 sElectrical range according to WLTP55 kmBattery capacity13.2 kWhWLTP consumption / CO2 emissions / energy efficiency1.8 l + 17.5 kWh/100 km / 41 g/km / ATest consumption / CO2 Emissions / difference 6.2* l/100 km / 141 g/km / +244% Length / width / height 4.50 m / 1.86 m / 1.69 m Unladen weight 1890 kg Trunk volume 460 – 1510 l Photos: Koray Adigüzel
*High test consumption: Due to the lack of private charging options, plug-in hybrids are charged irregularly during the test period. This results in above-average consumption.
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