DRIVEN: Citroen C5 Aircross is big on comfort

Published Nov 15, 2022


Johannesburg – First launched back in 2019 when the Citroen brand returned to local shores, the C5 Aircross is a rare sight on our roads.

Nonetheless, the French SUV, which is related to the Peugeot 3008, offers an interesting alternative to the usual midsize SUVs like the Volkswagen Tiguan and Toyota Rav4, and now it’s an even better prospect following the recent launch of the facelifted model.

Mechanically it remains as before, with power going to the front wheels through the familiar 1.6-litre turbopetrol engine that produces 121kW and 240Nm.

But there are some notable design changes on the outside and in the cabin, which lend a more modern and stylish appearance. Gone are those split-level headlights of the previous model, which make way for integrated LED units split in the middle by piano key accents that flow into the redesigned grille, which now has black lacquered chevrons.

At the back the C5 Aircross gets a new LED lighting signature, which mimics the 3D effect seen at the front of the car, and the vehicle also gets new 18-inch Diamond-Cut alloy wheels – which are standard across the range – and glossy black mirror caps.

The new Citroen C5 Aircross looks more modern inside too, thanks to a redesigned cockpit that includes a new infotainment system that floats above the central air vents, which are now horizontally arranged.

As before, the vehicle is offered with Feel and Shine specification grades, and the former has an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system while the latter gets a 10-inch unit.

The screen also incorporates the climate controls, which can make the system a bit cumbersome to operate - what’s wrong with good old-fashioned switches and dials? The vehicle also has a configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

Overall cabin quality is impressive, if a little sombre and grey, but Citroen has done a decent job of making it feel suitably premium inside.

Oh, and the new-generation Citroen advanced comfort seats with high-density foam are really comfortable. The carmaker has also provided three individual sliding and reclining chairs for rear occupants. Rear legroom is adequate, albeit not quite as generous as many rivals, but the 720-litre boot is quite handy.

What’s it like to drive?

Speaking of comfort, the Citroen C5 Aircross offers a truly comfortable ride quality and, thanks to a smart traction control system called Grip Control, it can tackle badly maintained dirt roads with ease.

We did exactly that on the launch route, which took us onto a rough and – with the heavens opening – muddy stretch of dirt road, which the C5 handled with surprising composure.

The ride is cushy on almost all surfaces, and for that you can thank the progressive hydraulic cushions in the suspension, which consist of hydraulic stops that aim to eliminate the jolt that usually results from rebound.

The 1.6 turbopetrol engine, which powers the front wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox, provides comfortable performance, with enough power for overtaking.

What does it offer for the money?

As mentioned, the Citroen C5 Aircross is available in two flavours: Feel, which is priced at R633 900, and Shine, which is yours for R683 900… Making it a little on the expensive side.

In terms of spec, the Feel comes with cloth seats, dual-zone climate control, rear park distance control, drive mode select, cruise control, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and six-speaker, 8.0-inch infotainment system.

The Shine gets the larger 10-inch touchscreen as well as a reverse camera, automated tailgate, push-button start, auto-dimming interior mirror, Pollen Filter and Active Odour Filter, and a raft of driver assist gizmos, including 180° park assist, lane-keep assist and blind-spot monitoring.

The new Citroen C5 Aircross is sold with a maintenance plan that’s valid for five years or 100 000km.

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