Citroen caters to families with new C5 Aircross
13 June 2018
Author: Pete Tullin
With a starting price of £22,700, the Aircross is priced to go head-to-head with the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Seat Ateca. Pete Tullin reports.
The C5 Aircross is the latest model to feature Citroen's progressive hydraulic cushion suspension, with three individual sliding, folding and reclining rear seats, plus generous boot capacity.
If you can remember the outgoing C5, you'll probably recall it was quite a svelte-looking alternative to the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia.
It wasn't a bad car, but it struggled for sales in a mainstream sector that, even then, was in steep decline.
With this chastening behind it, Citroen has abandoned the old saloon format and reinvented the C5 as the Aircross SUV. It is aimed squarely at modern family-sized rivals, such as the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Seat Ateca. Citroen claims the Aircross has all these key rivals licked for interior space.
The boot is pretty immense, too. Ranging from 580 litres with the rear seats positioned to give maximum legroom; cargo capacity can be expanded to 720 litres simply by sliding the rear seats forward.
Also included is a hands-free, powered tailgate that can be opened via the key fob or by waving your foot past a sensor beneath the rear bumper.
Citroen claims the Aircross's seats have multiple layers of padding to make them among the plushest on the market. They're also pretty versatile, and can be moved and folded in a variety of ways.
The Aircross's progressive hydraulic cushion suspension is another feature that Citroen is keen to crow about.
It differs from normal suspension systems with additional hydraulic chambers at the top and bottom of the dampers. This is said to absorb larger road imperfections more effectively than a conventional damper set-up.
The C5 Aircross will be offered with a range of well-proven Puretech petrol and BlueHDi diesel engines that also feature in other Citroen and Peugeot models.
Despite the recent demonising of diesel, the 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, with its strong, smooth performance, is forecast to still make up the majority of business sales. That said, the smaller petrol options will be better suited to those more inclined to shorter journeys.
There'll also be the option of an eight-speed automatic gearbox for those who can't be doing with changing gears the old-fashioned way.
In 2020, Citroen will launch a plug-in hybrid version with four-wheel drive. Details are still to be confirmed, but expect a 200hp petrol engine mated to electric motors mounted on the rear axle that will boost total output to 300hp.
Citroen says that, if you drive it responsibly, the hybrid will also be capable of travelling for up to 37 miles on electric power alone.
Although Citroen doesn't expect too many owners to venture off road, the Aircross is available with grip control. This system provides the ability to select five different stability control modes, including sand, snow, off-road and ESP off, alongside hill-descent control, which automatically restricts the vehicle's speed when descending slopes.
You can also specify 360 Vision, a system that relays the C5's surroundings from a bird's-eye view onto the central touchscreen. Citroen says this aerial perspective will mean the driver will be better placed to assess distances from obstacles more clearly, so there'll no longer be any excuses for scraping those expensive alloy wheels.
Key safety equipment will include active city brake, which is Citroen's version of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and a blindspot-monitoring system.