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A distinctive-looking and super-comfortable addition to a crowded SUV market

PROS

  • Distinctive styling 
  • Promise of comfort
  • Hybrid efficiency

CONS

  • Its looks may divide opinion
  • Lacks a high-power petrol version
  • A bit of a wait for the PHEV version

Verdict

Citroen C5 Aircross SUV infographic

The Citroen C5 Aircross joins its similarly badged C3 sister car to help increase the French car company's line-up in the super-competitive SUV market.

It’s not Citroen’s first crossover of recent times: the distinctive C4 Cactus has been on sale since 2014, although it was repackaged as a more conventional hatchback in 2018, while the seven-seater C-Crosser was a clone of the previous-generation Mitsubishi Outlander.

But the C5 Aircross is an altogether different proposition, at 4.50m in length it sits between the Peugeot 3008 and 5008 in terms of size - SUVs it shares much of its underpinnings and mechanical components with. Similarly, it’s closely related to not only the DS 7 Crossback, but also the Vauxhall Grandland X.

As with the recently facelifted C4 Cactus, the C5 Aircross majors on comfort and style, and is also available with a raft of personalisation options, which prove so popular with family car buyers. 

What makes the 2019 Citroen C5 Aircross different?

Citroens are renowned for their ride comfort, a trait the firm’s bosses are keen to focus their attention on with forthcoming models. The C5 Aircross is the first model designed with the Citroen Advanced Comfort philosophy in mind from the outset, although the revised C4 Cactus hatchback also has some of these developments installed.

Citroen C5 Aircross interior

Chief among the hardware changes is a suspension set-up with what Citroen calls Progressive Hydraulic Cushions. It won’t completely replicate the famed ‘magic carpet ride' of hydropneumatic Citroens of old, but the claim is that it will iron out the majority of surface imperfections without making the C5 Aircross list like a ship whenever you encounter a corner.

Furthermore, Citroen’s equipped the C5 Aircross with sofa-like seats – something else already seen on the C4 Cactus – with a massage function optionally available for the front pair and a reclining backrest for the rear bench.

The cabin will be trimmed in soothing hues, although whether these reach the UK on right-hand drive models remains to be seen, while double-glazed acoustic-insulating glass will also be available.

Distinctive and functional 2019 Citroen C5 Aircross styling

Recent hallmarks of Citroen’s distinctive design language are present and correct with the C5 Aircross, not least the eyebrow-like LED day-running lights with main headlamp units nestled separately below. There's also a smattering of Airbumps – think toughened bubble wrap – along the lower edges of the doors for a dash of rugged protection.

Unique – so far, at least – to the C5 Aircross are the chrome-look hoops around the side-door windows, with a subtle third piece of glass appearing blacked-out towards the back.

LED-rich tail lamps are bisected by a wide-opening tailgate, while the exterior can be gussied-up further with flashes of red detailing – it’s unclear yet whether other colour swatches will be available as they are on the C3 Aircross.

There’s an upmarket look to the distinctive cabin, boasting a 12.3-inch infotainment screen on high-spec versions, with a wide centre console and an electronic instrument binnacle directly ahead of the driver.

There's plenty of tech to get your teeth into:

  • Grip Control with Hill Assist Descent
  • Hill-Start Assist
  • Cornering Lights Function
  • Trailer Stability Control
  • Mirror Screen Function, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Citroen Connect Nav
  • Citroen Connect Box with SOS and assistance
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • The ConnectedCAM Citroen dash-cam

It also features a number of luggage-inspired design details – again a nod to the C4 Cactus – but we expect an uplift in material quality given the C5 Aircross’s higher price point.

As you would expect of a contemporary car, connected online services will be available, as will a host of driver-assistance systems tasked with preventing you from being involved in an accident.

These include:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Post-Collision Safety Braking
  • Active Departure Warning System
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go
  • Collision Risk Alert
  • Coffee Break Alert
  • Driver Attention Alert
  • Extended Traffic Sign Recognition and Recommendation
  • Highway Driver Assist: combines Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go and the Active Lane Departure Warning System to manage driving semi-autonomously in specific driving conditions.
  • Intelligent Beam Headlights

What’s the Citroen C5 Aircross like to drive?

We grabbed a quick drive of a pre-production prototype in Paris, and on the basis of this, we one thing we can say that Citroen has made good its promise to deliver high levels of overall comfort.  

The controls and driving position are all pretty much as they are in the C5 Aircross’s PSA cousins. Impressive aspects are the squashy, yet supportive, seats, the refinement from its Puretech petrol engine, and controls that feel very nice to use. 

All we can comment on is how well the C5 Aircross handles low-speed road imperfections. It’s best to describe it as absorbent and well-damped, obviously biased towards softness. Where it falls down slightly in this pre-production prototype is that although lumps and bumps are handled well, really rough stuff is transmitted noisily through the car’s structure – which can detract from the car’s overall sense of refinement. 

Citroen C5 Aircross 2019: petrols, diesels and a PHEV

For launch, the Citroen C5 Aircross SUV will be available with a range of latest-generation Euro 6.2 engines and come in petrol-powered flavours: PureTech 130 S&S six-speed manual and PureTech 180 S&S EAT8.

There will also be three diesel versions: the BlueHDi 130 six-speed manual, BlueHDi 130 S&S EAT8 and BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8. Citroen says that the new eight-speed auto is 7% more efficient than the outgoing six-speeder.

Also confirmed is that the SUV will be available with a 300hp petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain shortly after launch; the only model in the range with four-wheel drive. It has a battery-only range of 40 miles, and joins the range in late 2019.

When can I buy the Citroen C5 Aircross?

Citroen has yet to reveal full price details for its all-new SUV range but expect them to start at around £23,700 when it arrives in the UK. It's due to go on sale in the UK in January 2019, with Citroen taking orders from October 2018.

Parkers will be among the first to drive this distinctive crossover, so check back with us soon for the full Citroen C5 Aircross SUV review

  • Parkers ratings

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