The Citroen C5 Aircross replaces the smaller C4 and was designed, engineered and is marketed as a more sophisticated model for today’s market and that seems to have clicked with buyers.
Just six months after its UK launch the C5 Aircross passed 50,000 unit sales, a remarkable achievement in a tough British market.
In September 2019 when the British market contracted 2.5% over the first nine months, Citroen saw registrations improve 2.6% and 98% of models ordered were the higher two specification levels which helped the C5 Aircross to become Citroen’s second best seller in Britain.
There are about a dozen derivatives of the C5 Aircross, based on four 130 or 180 petrol and diesel engines with manual or automatic transmissions and in three trim levels.
Our test car is the mid-range choice for those who want useful long range economy on journeys, a good level of equipment and is comparatively cheap to run.
Petrol engines are steadily gaining popularity over the diesel equivalents but serious high mileage or long life users are still probably better off with a compression ignition engine, and it helps if you are regularly running with a load or lot of people as the diesel’s flexibility smooths away the miles.
You can go for the slightly peppier 180ps version if you prefer to improve acceleration.
The test car was fitted with the meticulously engineered and developed eight-speed automatic transmission and that’s perfect for the 130ps engine to utilise and for the driver to enjoy.
Changes up and down are almost imperceptible, quick and quiet and there always seems to be something in reserve.
I would have liked stronger acceleration from the engine which took a few moments to get going but in traffic and running mid-range it proved reasonably good for overtaking and it covered motorway miles without fuss or noise.
The steering was fine on main roads but lacked feedback on twisting sections or country roads and this contributed to a soft edge to the handling most of the time. Brakes were good at all times.
I would have been happier with a smoother ride when I read the C5 Aircross is the first Citroen to be fitted with their Progressive Hydraulic Cushions but I think that was down to the 205/55R 19V tyres fitted more than anything else.
Secondary controls were all very good, well placed, silent and identifiable at a glance and it must be said the massive 12.3-inch customisable TFT instruments display was eye-catching as well as very practical and easy to use and matched with a central 8-inch touchscreen for infotainment, but that soon showed finger marks.
Temperature controls were slightly fiddly to use but the system had a wide range, good distribution spread and strong output, backed up by powered windows and a massive glass sunroof, so it will be popular with families.
Another favourite will be the oddments room inside and bootspace rising from a generous 580 litres, through 720 litres to maximum 1630 litres thanks to the multi-split rear seats.
You could easily load items from the back with its high-lift fifth door or the sides and their wide opening door, and that is not always possible with some shorter SUVs and MPVs.
Once inside, the seats really wrap around you and cushion you with only the tallest occupants possibly finding thigh support on the short side.
The C5 Aircross offers a good riding position to see what’s ahead or over hedges and it came with some of the brightest lights I have seen on a modern car, big wipers and powerful wash system.
You feel very much in command behind the C5 Aircross wheel so long as you remember this is not a hard edged SUV.
It generally coped well with a variety of road surfaces but struggled over some bumpy sections and you could hear the system working away and occasionally felt the bumps and ridges.
The test car easily returned good economy and sometimes edged just over 50mpg but a few quick journeys and some busy traffic took down the overall figure, although it’s still respectable.
Considering everything, I think the Citroen C5 Aircross is really a good all-round modern MPV rather than a marketeers SUV. My advice is to go for the most suitable options you want to meet your individual requirements and you’ll have a friend of the family difficult to ditch.
Price: £30,355 as tested
Mechanical: 129bhp 4cyl 1500cc T-diesel, 8sp Auto
Max Speed: 117mph
0-62mph: 11.8 sec
Combined MPG: 45.5mpg
Insurance Group: 17E
C02 emissions: 108 g/km
Bik rating: 29% ,£160FY, £145SR
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000miles
Sizes: L4.50m, W2.10m, H1.67m
Bootspace: 580- 1630 litres
Reasons to buy
- Smooth gear change, good economy potential, roomy and versatile, excellent seats.
- Road noise and slightly bumpy ride, spongy handling, vague steering, modest acceleration.