Open gallery Close by Simon Davis 22 February 2019 Follow @simondavisnz Share
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Citroën has taken longer than most of its European rivals, but it has finally got what you might loosely call a range of family-friendly proprietary SUVs into showrooms on this continent.
Having launched its Aircross SUV sub-brand with the Mitsubishi-based C4 Aircross in 2011 (a car that never made it to the UK market) and then developed it with the pillarless, coach-doored Aircross concept car of 2015, Citroën followed up with the smaller C3 Aircross in 2017. And it has just partnered that supermini-sized crossover with this week’s test subject; and so, having been in production in China for more than a year now, the new C5 Aircross – a 4.5m-long five-seat SUV rival to the Volkswagen Tiguan and Mazda CX-5 – finally arrives in Citroën’s all-important home market, and in ours.
Citroën needs to return to fitting big Airbumps. On the original C4 Cactus, these cladding elements formed an integral part of that car’s style. Now they look a bit apologeticSimon DavisRoad tester
The days of SUV experimentation, then – of spinning double-chevron-badged derivatives off borrowed Mitsubishi platforms – are clearly over for Citroën. Now’s the time to find out what a fully formed, family-sized Citroën SUV, designed from a clean sheet and based on the firm’s own platform architecture, can do differently from the class norm. ‘Different’ is, after all, what we’ve been led to expect from the Citroën brand by its various debutants of the past few years.
And while this car is a sibling to the Peugeot 3008, that doesn’t mean it can’t be different. With both comfort and practicality hailed to be at the core of its strengths, the C5 Aircross innovates from its seat design to its suspension specification; and, with a boot that’s almost 600 litres at its smallest and fully removable individual back seats, it should certainly be practical, too.
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With three- and four-cylinder petrol engines and a pair of four-cylinder diesels on offer for now, and a plug-in hybrid derivative set to join the range in 2020, we have elected to test a range-topping BlueHDi 180 Flair+ diesel.
Related Citroen C5 Aircross reviews
Citroen C5 Aircross 2023 long-term testCitroen C5 Aircross 2022 first driveCitroen C5 Aircross Hybrid 2021 long-term testCitroen C5 Aircross Hybrid 2020 UK first driveCitroen C5 Aircross Puretech 180 2019 UK first drive
Price £32,725 | Power 174bhp | Torque 295lb ft | 0-60mph 9.0sec | 30-70mph in fourth 9.3sec | Fuel economy 37.2mpg | CO2 emissions 126g/km | 70-0mph 46.1m
Verdict Model tested: Rating:
Citroen C5 Aircross
GoodFunky interior designSolid interior material choicesUnderlying ride complianceBadErgonomic foibles.Snatchiness at the end of the brakes’ travelNot as relaxing to drive as Citroën would like us to think