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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
10:25 AM 13th November 2019

A Little Gallic Flair - Citroen C5 Aircross On Test

Earlier this year I attended the UK launch of Citroen’s bold new C5 Aircross. As is often the way on such events, there is a lot do in a very short period of time. I was therefore delighted to welcome a prime example to my Yorkshire driveway for a little testing on home turf.

Competing in the rapidly expanding C-SUV segment, following the herd was never going to be Citroen’s way. Distinctive looks are the order of the day – no danger of mistaking the C5 Aircross for a competitor’s product.

The front end uses the now familiar Citroen corporate grille already found on sister models, namely C4 Cactus, C3 and C3 Aircross. Funky 3D lighting, signature ‘Airbumps’ and a choice of over 30 exterior colours help the C5 Aircross stand out. The grey test car was a little more discreet.

Citroens of old majored on comfort, thanks to their trick Hydropneumatic suspension. The C5 Aircross marks a return to the comfort-orientated Citroen and given the dreadful state of many of our roads, this would seem to be a sensible approach.

A new Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension system is fitted, designed to offer the smoothest of rides. For the most part it succeeds too, though low speed urban potholes can still send an unwelcome shudder through the car. A tad disappointing…

‘Advanced Comfort’ seats are fitted which aim to replicate a favourite armchair for comfort and they do. However, some may find them a little too soft especially after a longer spell at the wheel and they don’t offer a huge amount of lateral grip.

Laminated side windows are also fitted which helps to keep out unwanted wind and road noise.

The interior majors on versatility, with three individual rear seats which can be reclined and slid backwards and forwards depending on the load being carried. And there plenty of space for cargo with up to 720 litres of usable space on offer with the rear seats in situ.

A plug-in C5 Aircross will debut in 2020, so for the time being it is traditional petrol and diesel engines under the bonnet. The test car came equipped with a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel motor producing 174hp, enough to propel the family SUV from 0 to 62mph in 8.6 seconds.

Aiding the relaxed driving experience was the smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic gearbox. Three modes are available with Eco and Sport both selectable by dash-mounted push buttons.

Citroen quotes 42.3 to 47.1mpg for the combined cycle and I recorded a little over 45mpg during my time behind the wheel. Most of this was local running making this result all the more impressive.

Mid-range Flair trim is likely to be the most popular with buyers and wants for very little. Expect to find satellite navigation, a dash cam and a 12.3” customisable TFT instrument binnacle.

My test car also sported the ‘Exterior Pack’ which adds an opening panoramic roof and 19-inch alloy wheels. The roof is welcome, the wheels less so as no doubt they affect ride comfort.

So dear reader, is the C5 Aircross the right car for you? If you put driving pleasure at the top of your list of priorities, then probably not. However, for those looking for a distinctive, comfortable and spacious family holdall, the C5 Aircross might just be up your street. Daring to be different, a blessing in a world of copycat SUVs, and brimming with the latest technology and safety features, there is much to like.

Fast Facts

Citroen C5 Aircross Flair Blue HDi 180 EAT 8
Price £31,135 (£33,460 as tested)
174hp 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine
8-speed automatic gearbox
0-62mph in 8.6 seconds
Top speed 131mph
Combined economy 42.3 to 47.1mpg
Emissions 124 to 126 g/km CO2
Insurance group 25E