Citroen C5 Aircross Review: Bonjour Le Réconfort

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We have been waiting for Citroen to mark its foray in the Indian market and it seems that the God of Wheels has finally listened to our prayers. Although the prices of the Citroen C5 Aircross aren’t out yet but the French company has officially unveiled it for the Indian market. Citroen’s biggest claim with the C5 Aircross is that it offers segment-leading comfort. Is that really the case? Well, time to answer that question. What is the reason behind Citroen’s claims?

We recently got a chance to get behind the wheel of the C5 Aircross and put the SUV through a thorough test. So how did the C5 Aircross fare in the litmus test? Is it basic or something special?

The answers

Now, a major aspect of comfort in any car depends upon its suspension. Upfront, the C5 Aircross gets a MacPherson strut setup and a twist-beam axle at the rear. However,  Citroen has used hydraulic progressive cushioning for the compression and rebound of the suspension, which is a lot better than the mechanical progressive cushioning than other cars offer.

Citroen C5 Aircross review

You get hydraulic cushioning for both compression and rebound at the front and only for compression at the rear. But does it work? We happily confirm that Citroen’s claims over comfort and ride quality are correct and it does offer segment-leading ride comfort. It glides over bad patches of roads and leads the segment in terms of comfort. The overall insulation is very good which coupled with a comfortable ride, enhances the overall comfort.

Engine and tranmission

Another aspect that impacts the overall comfort is the engine-transmission combo. C5 Aircross is propelled by a 2.0L turbo diesel engine which is silken-refined. The turbo lag is very well contained and the power delivery is very smooth. Peak power produced is 177PS @3750 RPM and peak torque produced is 400Nm. The 8-speed automatic transmission in this car is also one of the best transmissions in the segment. The shifts are quick and imperceptible. The driving seems effortless, further enhancing the comfort quotient. The engine is quite linear and you get a reassuring pull from the bottom of the rev range.

It sprints from 0-100 from a shade over 10 seconds which is quick. The shifts via the paddle shifters are also decently quick. The gear lever is also uniquely styled. It gets various traction modes which can be toggled via a knob beside the gear lever. You get a good view of what’s around, supplemented by a blind-spot monitor.

Dynamics

Steering is very precise and with a wide tract, good suspension and assuring feel, it helps you place the car on the road confidently. As an enthusiast as well, you can drive this car very fast and with confidence. The ride is very comfortable and has indeed set a very high standard in its segment. On long distances, the comfort helps you stay afresh and enjoy the drive. You can extract 14 kmpl in the city for every litre of fuel and around 18-19 kmpl on the highway which is impressive.

Design & proportions

It is the widest car in the segment with the 3rd largest wheelbase in the segment. It is considerably tall as well. The C5 Aircross is a bold, funky and muscular looking car and doesn’t have very strong creases on the body. The design has a definite bulge but not in the form of strong lines. Citroen is known for bold design and this car also makes a case for itself. It gets LED DRLs that flank the upper part of the bonnet and gets a very lovely grey treatment near the radiator grille which is an eye-catcher. Further enhancing the muscularity are the grey fog accents on the bumper. The bonnet is very muscular complemented by two large scoops on it. Upfront, it definitely looks bold and would make every head turn. From the sides, it looks well proportioned. It gets a plastic cladding on the lower portion which further lifts the overall muscular appeal.

Citroen C5 Aircross review (1)

You get 235 section Michelin rubber with a lovely alloy design and good grip. At the rear, the spoiler is neatly integrated into the body. The highlight at the rear is the quad 3D tail lamp setup. The rear definitely can’t be mistaken for anything else.

Interiors

The cabin is very practical with a good amount of storage spaces and great quality levels. The first thing you notice getting in, are the beautifully designed seats. The seats are electrically adjustable for the driver and offer great comfort. The steering is a flat bottom and flat top unit. Steering mounted controls and the paddle shifters further ahead are very easy to use. The instrument cluster further ahead is also very easy to read and displays all the info conveniently. In the middle, you get a massive touch infotainment system with all the controls coupled with air purifier and fancy filters.

Citroen C5 Aircross unveiled (2)

The screen gets soft-touch buttons and can be connected via apple car play and android auto. It has a parking assist and tyre pressure monitor which can be viewed on the screen. Further on the screen, you can access the reverse camera, driver assist and dual-zone climate control. The screen is highly customisable and you can view what you wish to view, but you can’t control the screen remotely via an app.

The safety is pretty good as well. It is rated 4-star for safety and gets some active safety features as well. It gets a good enough audio system. Not the best, but gets the job done. All the buttons and switches are neatly laid out throughout the cabin. The glovebox is also decent, not the biggest.

Citroen C5 Aircross review (2)

Surprisingly, on the 2nd row, you get a 33-3-33 split seat which is rare. Thigh support and headroom at the back seems adequate but the knee room is a bit lacking. However, the compromise on the 2nd row opens up more boot space, a total of 508L, which allows easy loading with a flat bay and low lip. The seats can be marginally reclined and are wide enough to accommodate 3 people. The seats are flat and rear AC vents make the life at the rear a bit easier.

Conclusion

It is a direct competitor to the Hyundai Tuscon. If you want a premium, comfortable, good ride & handling package, this car should tick the boxes. If it’s priced close to Tucson, it will be a good price bracket. However, the sales and after service experience and network isn’t still relatively unknown. But, that doesn’t take away it’s a lovely piece of engineering & premium offering. If it’s priced correctly, it should be a good seller!

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