Citroën C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): The One From France!

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Citroën — is a French car brand which has been in business since 1919. Over their 100-year history, the company has expanded and managed to create quite a name for themselves across different markets around the world.

The French carmaker is now set to introduce their first car in India, the C5 Aircross SUV. Yes, the company had initially planned for a 2020 India arrival, but we all know what happened that year. Now, the brand is finally set to enter Indian shores and we couldn't be more excited.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The C5 Aircross SUV promises a lot on paper and is said to be packed with features, creature comforts, conveniences and other equipment. It is also said to offer impressive handling characteristics, along with a smooth and extremely refined driving experience - like riding a ‘Flying Carpet'.

The time has now come to prove this out on the Indian roads. We drove the Citroen C5 Aircross recently to find out how the SUV fares in the real world, under real Indian driving conditions and if it has what it takes to stand out among the long list of premium mid-size SUVs on offer in India.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Design & Style

The Citroen C5 Aircross is quintessentially French in terms of its design. The SUV offers a quirky and unique styling all around, which instantly makes everyone sneak in a second glance.

The SUV features a muscular bonnet at the front with plenty of attitude as well. The C5 Aircross comes with split headlamp units, with the LED DRLs positioned on top and the LED vision projector units just below it. The LED DRLs further is integrated with a pair of chrome strips, which have the Citroen logo at the centre.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The projector unit also flanks the sleek grille, with three horizontal slats, finished in black. Moving further below to the front bumpers, the C5 Aircross carries forward the brand's signature ‘AirBump' protective panels with the air intake at its centre.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Next to the airbumps, the SUV also features LED fog lamps, which also doubles up as cornering lamps. There is also a black-cladding which runs across all sides of the SUV, giving it a slightly rugged look.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The side profile of the Citroen C5 Aircross continues the muscular look with curved panels, which gives the appearance of more mass on the SUV. The AirBump can also be seen on the black-cladding below the doors, which adds to the character. The SUV runs on a set of standard 18-inch two-tone diamond-cut alloy wheels.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The sides of the SUV also features a definitive C-shaped chrome element, which along with the accentuated window lines and the blacked-out pillars, gives a ‘floating roof' effect. The ORVMs on the SUV are also blackened and come with integrated LED turn indicators.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The rear of the C5 Aircross is kept minimalistic with just the 3D LED taillights being the stand-out feature. The SUV also comes with a roof-mounted spoiler with an LED stop lamp. The boot lid features just the Citroen logo between the tail lamps, while the ‘C5 Aircross' badging is positioned below. The rear bumper is clean with just the black cladding and the reflectors present at either end.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

All these design elements on the Citroen C5 Aircross definitely help the SUV stand out among the long list of its competitors in the Indian market. The French SUV oozes ‘funky', bringing in a more youthful and spirited appearance.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Cockpit & Interiors

Step inside and the Citroen C5 Aircross welcomes you to a premium cabin and a well-laid-out dashboard. The SUV comes finished in ‘Metropolitan Grey' colour scheme, which adds to the premium appeal.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The driver is welcomed to a large steering wheel with mounted controls for the audio, call alerts and other switches to scroll through the vast amount of information displayed on the instrument cluster. This itself is made up of a 12.3-inch TFT screen and can be customisable according to the driving modes selected.

The steering wheel and the pedals below also come with silver-finished accents, which add to the premium-ness inside. There are also paddle-shifters positioned behind allowing for easy access when required.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Moving away from the cockpit and onto the centre console and the front seats. The C5 Aircross features dual square-shaped AC vents positioned vertically on either side of the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display and at either end of the dashboard.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The infotainment system comes with Smartphone connectivity via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The display itself is well lit with the UI layout also being simple to operate. Citroen has also offered it with some quick access touch controls just below the screen as well, adding to the ease of usage. Further below are the dual-zone climate controls which come via physical buttons.

The storage below it offers sufficient space to keep your mobile phones. Citroen offers the SUV with wireless charging, while also offering USB charging ports and a 12V socket as well.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The storage below it offers sufficient space to keep your mobile phones. Citroen offers the SUV with wireless charging, while also offering USB charging ports and a 12V socket as well.

Coming to the main central console, between the front seats, the Citroen C5 Aircross features a quirky looking gear lever to toggle through the different P, N, R and D modes. There is also an ‘M' mode for manual gear shifts using the paddle shifters mentioned before.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The central console also houses the electric parking brake switch, along with buttons for the Eco and Sport driving modes and the Engine start/stop. There is also a rotary knob to toggle between the ‘Grip Controls' which includes Standard, Snow, Sand, All-Terrain & Traction-Control off.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Comfort, Practicality & Boot Space

The seats on the C5 Aircross come upholstered in a mix of leather and fabric upholstery with a square pattern. The driver's seat on the SUV comes with electric-adjustability, while the front passenger seat has a 6-way manual adjustment. Both driver and passenger seats also come with lumbar support, which again is manually adjustable.

The front seats offer excellent cushioning and provide good levels of comfort. There is also good headroom and legroom for the front passenger. While the seats have been contoured well to fit the passengers snuggly with good thigh, back and side support as well.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Moving to the back, the Citroen C5 Aircross comes with three individual full-size seats. All the three seats can further be independently adjusted with slide and recline functionalities. The three individual seats can also be folded down completely in various configurations to offer the extended luggage space.

The three individual seats at the back, give a larger sense of space than what it actually offers. The rear seats offer the same level of comfort as the front. There is also good amount of headroom and legroom at the back as well. However, three people at the back do feel like a bit of a squeeze.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

What does help though is the large panoramic sunroof on offer as standard. The slightly dark metropolitan grey cabin is compensated with large windows and the panoramic sunroof, which manage to give the SUV an airy and spacious feel.

The cabin of the Citroen C5 Aircross also offers a number of cubby spaces, storage areas and door bins. The glove box also offers a good amount of storage space, while there is also an additional storage compartment below the front central armrest, which also features an LED illumination lamp.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Coming to the rear luggage compartment, the boot on the SUV offers 580-litres of space with all seats in their upright position. As mentioned before, the seats can be individually folded down accordingly. With all three seats folded down, the boot space offers a maximum of 1630-litres.

Dimensions

Dimensions Citroen C5 Aircross
Length 4500mm
Width 2099mm
Height 1710mm
Wheelbase 2730mm
Min. Turning Radius 5.35m
Boot Space 580-Litres
Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Engine Performance & Driving Impressions

Coming to the heart of the matter, the Citroen C5 Aircross SUV is powered by a single-engine option. This is in the form of a 2.0-litre (1997cc) diesel unit producing 175bhp at 3750rpm and 400Nm of peak torque at 2000rpm. It is paired with a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, with no manual transmission option.

All the power is sent to the front wheels, with no option of a four-wheel drive. While this isn't particularly a bad thing, it does mean that the SUV will struggle while off-roading. We do not recommend you taking the C5 Aircross on any real off-roading trails.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The engine on the C5 Aircross feels extremely smooth and refined and pulls the SUV along well, even at low rpm. The engine offers a good amount of grunt right from the get-go and pulls cleanly into the mid-range.

The engine feels right at home in the mid-range with plenty of power and torque available at just a small tap of the accelerator pedal. This low and mid-range power on the SUV allows it to quickly sprint to triple-digit speeds and with all the power available on tap, overtaking is also made easy.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

While the diesel engine is punchy, the eight-speed transmission does take a while to kick down, however, once the car gets going, the gearbox feels more responsive and does a better job with quick gear shifts. For those feeling a bit sporty, the SUV also comes with paddle-shifters which allow better control of the power available. The paddle-shifter themselves are smooth, responsive and offer quick gear changes.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The C5 Aircross is offered with two driving modes: Eco and Sport. While the ‘Eco' mode manages to offer a comfortable drive, concentrating on comfort and fuel efficiency and does what it means. The ‘Sport' mode is kind of a letdown, offering just a fake engine noise coming out of the SUV's speakers, while the C5 Aircross continues to coast along without any significant change in driving characteristics.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The steering on the SUV lightweight which does help while navigating through traffic and other city conditions with ease. However, there is not much feedback, with the driver left feeling disconnected from the car. This is especially noticeable out on the highway and on twisty roads, with the lightweight steering hampering the confidence to push the car harder.

Also, here is a noticeable amount of body roll present on the C5 Aircross. Although the smooth and progressive turns are handled well, flick the steering wheel into a corner and the SUV does become unsettled rather easily.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The NVH levels on the C5 Aircross are also impressive, with little to no noise coming from outside. The engine itself is rather quiet for a diesel and doesn't feel too stressed even when at high speeds. The driver's seat also does a good job providing good visibility with a raised driving position. However, the view at the back isn't the best with a large blindspot, courtesy the C-pillars.

Since we had the SUV for only a small amount of time, we couldn't test out the exact fuel efficiency figures. However, Citroen claims that the C5 Aircross should return around 18.6km/l, which is rather impressive for an SUV this size.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The suspension on the C5 Aircross has been set up on the softer side. Citroen has added a technology called ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushions', which allows the SUV to simply glide over small undulations without the driver or passengers even noticing it — the ‘Flying Carpet' effect.

Having said, Indian roads are filled with some rather large potholes and speed breakers. While the C5 Aircross does manage to tackle to an extent, the driver and passengers will still be able to feel them sitting in the cabin.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The suspension is so much on the softer side that the large SUV will even nose dive forward while being aggressive on the brakes

Talking about the brakes, the C5 Aircross features disc brakes on all four corners, which offers good bite and progression; bringing the large SUV to a halt easily.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Variants, Colours & Pricing

The Citroen C5 Aircross SUV comes with a choice of two variants: Feel & Shine. Both variants, however, are packed with a host of features, equipment and technology. The two variants also come with a number of colour options to choose from. This includes four single-tone paint schemes and three bi-tone options.

The single-tone paint schemes include Pearl White, Cumulus Grey, Tijuca Blue and Perla Nera Black. All the above colour schemes, apart from the Perla Nera Black also come with a contrasting roof finished in Black.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Pricing for the Citroen C5 Aircross is yet to be revealed and will be done so closer to the launch date, which is scheduled to take place sometime in March 2021. However, considering the SUV is part of the premium mid-size segment, we expect Citroen to price it in the range of Rs 27 - 30 lakh, ex-showroom (India).

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Safety & Key Features

As mentioned above, both the Feel & Shine variants of the C5 Aircross come packed with features, equipment and technology. Some of the most important features on offer include

  • LED lighting all around (headlamps, DRLs, taillights & turn signals)
  • 18-Inch ‘Swirl' two-tone diamond-cut alloy wheels
  • Hands-free electric tailgate
  • Premium ‘Metropolitan Grey' leather upholstery
  • 8-Inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • 12.3-inch customisable TFT instrument cluster
  • LED mood lighting
  • Puddle lamps
  • Magic wash
  • Electrically-adjustable driver's seat
  • 3 Independent full-size rear seats with individual adjustability
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Keyless entry
  • Push-button start/stop
  • Panoramic Sunroof
Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

The Citroen C5 Aircross also comes packed with a host of safety features, here are a few:

  • 6 Airbags
  • Blindspot information system
  • Hill-hold control, traction control, electronic stability control
  • ABS with EBD
  • Coffee break alert
  • Electric parking brake
  • ISOFIX child seat anchors
  • Reverse parking camera
  • Perimeter/volumetric alarm
Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Warranty Offered

Citroen will be offering all its customers a standard vehicle warranty of 3 years or 1 lakh kilometres (whichever is earlier). There will be extended warranty and maintenance packages on offer as well.

The company will also be offering 24x7 roadside assistance while also offering access to a wide network of dealerships with state-of-the-art tools, equipment and services.

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Competitors & Fact Check!

The Citroen C5 Aircross takes on rivals such as the Hyundai Tucson and the 2021 Jeep Compass models. Here is a fact check of how the C5 Aircross stacks up against its rivals in numbers:

Fact Check

Specifications Citroen C5 Aircross Hyundai Tucson 2021 Jeep Compass
Engine 2.0-Litre Diesel 2.0-Litre Diesel 2.0-Litre Diesel
Power 176bhp 183bhp 168bhp
Torque 400Nm 400Nm 350Nm
Transmission 8-Speed Automatic 8-Speed Automatic 9-Speed Automatic
Starting Price* TBA** ₹22.55 Lakh ₹16.99 Lakh

*All Prices are Ex-Showroom (Delhi)
**To Be Announced

Citroen C5 Aircross Review (First Drive): Design, Interiors, Performance, Handling, Specs, Features & Other Details

Verdict!

The French have a way with style and design and the Citroën C5 Aircross SUV is a great example of this. Moreover, with SUVs and automatic transmissions becoming increasingly popular in India, Citroën hopes to cater to this growing demand with it's entry into the Indian market.

The C5 Aircross SUV offers brilliance in design, spacious and practical interiors, and best of all, a comfortable drive - making it a versatile premium family-friendly SUV.

Writing by Rahul Nagaraj; Reviewed by Jobo Kuruvilla and Punith Bharadwaj

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Read more on: #review #citroen
Article Published On: Monday, February 15, 2021, 9:00 [IST]
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