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Citroen C5 Aircross review

09/01/2023 This week we’re testing the comfy Citroën C5 Aircross. What is it? A mid-size, five-seater family car with SUV overtones – but as it is a Citroën the car is all about comfort. The C5 Aircross is wrapped up in a soft looking exterior that has more curves than an alpine pass. The C5 Aircross looks quite compact next to its dearer sibling the much lauded C5 X (circa + €3,000). The C5 Aircoss is 4500mm long and at 1689mm tall sits taller than the estate-car like C5 X crossover (1485mm) but the X at 4805mm is 305mm longer and 25mm wider than the Aircross. The diesel ‘Flair’ model we have on test costs €45,100, with the C5 Aircross diesel range starting from €39,470. The plug in hybrid PHEV starts at €48,500.

Our test car has a 1.5 litre BlueHDI diesel engine from the Stellantis Group that we know well. It pushes out an utterly average 130hp. The gearbox is an eight speed automatic (EAT-8) again from the group’s extensive communal parts bin. CO2 is 138 g/km and annual motor tax is €210. Our Flair model is well equipped inside and out. The car’s curvy exterior is disarming – but next to the C5 X lacks an ion street wow factor. SUVs are morphing in to less aggressive looking machines and the Citroën Aircross (a sub brand of sorts) has never been about aggression. The styling emphasis appears to be the creating non-intimidating machines. There is plenty of interesting detail around the body with a nice front end and smart light signature. Is the C5 Aircross a real head turner? No, but it is, as Joe Jackson might say, kinda cute. 

On the road the C5 air cross drives as you would expect, it is very comfortable and adequate as a family car. The 230mm ground clearance helps deliver a commanding view of the road. There is enough power to haul it along on the motorway and yet remain frugal. Really the CX5 Aircross does what it says on the tin. The driving position is commanding, and it’s an easy car to do a lot of kilometres in. There is a downside to this comfort and that’s the utter lack of an interesting driving dynamic to entertain enthusiastic drivers. Dynamic handling has never been a USP of Citroën and if you are looking for a firm ride to encourage you to take the along way home you should look elsewhere. The suspension system features Citroën’s ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushions’, that make it comfy – especially when combined with the brands ‘Advanced Comfort’ seats. The rear seats feature three full size, sliding, folding and tilting seats.

Citroën has built a niche in its Stellantis family as a value for money brand. The firm is big on making comfortable cars and the C5 Aircross continues the tradition. It is a hard car to fault at its price point. Obviously if you have a good rummage around the cabin you can find where savings have been made on some materials, but the build is good. The C5 Aircross is simply a very pleasant machine.

The C5 Aircross PHEV is available on the mid grade Flair and top grade C Series trim. The PHEV specification features a Type 2 charging cable (that’s the one you can plug into a standard EV charger or to a home charger). The C5 Aircross claims to have the largest boot in the category at 580-720 litres (Petrol/Diesel min/max) or 1,630 litres with the seats down (PHEV 460-600 and 1,510). There is a hands-free tailgate for easy opening and lots of storage spaces. A new 10-inch touchscreen, console (with two USB sockets) offers Citroën’s connected services. Electronic safety systems are in abundance with 20 claimed including Highway Driver Assist, that Citoren says is a major step towards autonomous driving. The C5 Aircross features a choice of six body colours and a black roof.

Citroën is on a roll at the moment with some very pleasing designs. The C5 Aircross is a very comfortable family car that’s well priced and easy to live with. It represents good value for money and in that sense we like it. Michael Sheridan 

Michael Sheridan
Michael Sheridan
Michael Sheridan is a senior and highly respected motoring journalist based in Ireland. He is a frequently heard voice on motoring, transport and mobility matters and has multiple credits on national television, national print media, national and local radio and other outlets. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for more 25 years (& a similar time as a Van of the Year judge). Michael is also an award winning filmmaker. He has produced and directed many international and national motoring TV programmes and documentaries both on cars and motorcycles - including four films on the iconic Route 66. Michael Sheridan is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press and is a member of the MMAI (motoring media association of Ireland).
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