CITROEN is kicking off its centenary year by returning to the large SUV market with its new flagship C5 Aircross.
It's been the best part of a decade since the French car maker last had a player in this part of the market but with SUVs booming it is sniffing success.
Priced from £23,225 the C5 Aircross is as good as they come and features a degree of comfort features that puts it ahead of the game.
The C5 Aircross is up against the likes of the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai and its sister ship in the shape of the Peugeot 3008 and we have just been sampling one of the expected best sellers in the range - an Aircross in Flair trim and powered by a 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel engine developing 130bhp.
Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox this version of the C5 Aircross costs from Â£26,825 and comes with sat nav, Citroen's first multi-function instrument panel and its ConnectedCam dash cam system as standard.
It is also fitted with what Citroen calls its Advanced Comfort system which includes a modified suspension, advanced shock absorbers and super padded seats that have an extra 15mm layer of foam inside.
The result is an SUV that can iron out the bumps and bangs of everyday motoring and gives the C5 Aircross an upmarket feel expected only in the likes of a Range Rover or high end Audi 4x4.
However, the C5 Aircross is not a 4x4 although splash out an extra Â£1,600 for an eight-speed automatic and Citroen's electronic Grip Control system is available as a Â£400 option and that will do the off-road job for most.
Like the C3 hatchback, all but the entry level C5 Aircross come with a dash cam installed behind the rear view mirror as standard and that's a boon in this day and age.
The 1.5-litre diesel engine is one of the best - and cleanest - around and in the 1.4-tonne Aircross Citroen claims it is good for an average at best of 55.1mpg with a CO2 output ranging from 108 to 110g/km.
We saw an overall fuel return of 52.3 to the gallon and that is quite splendid from a full-blown SUV.
Top speed is a claimed 117mph and 0 to 60 acceleration is a relatively lively 10.4 seconds and the car has plenty of zest for cruising.
It is nicely quiet, even at motorway speeds and the comfort levels make it ideal for long distance work.
Space in the rear is generous and with a sliding seat arrangement leg room can be plentiful. Boot space ranges from 580 to 720 litres and that is class leading.
Fold down the rear seats and there's 1,630 litres available which all adds up to the C5 Aircross being very family friendly.
Interior stowage is good as well with a double opening centre console and large door pockets although the glovebox is not that capacious.
Flair trim sees the C5 Aircross being fully connected with voice recognition over and above the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity of all models.
Other extra features at this level include a cornering function of the front fog lamps, twin exhaust trim and a rear view camera as well as ‘welcome home' lighting at the front.
The multi-mode instrument panel can be configured in a variety of ways to show everything from conventional dials to sat nav information and is another upmarket feature.
In every way the C5 Aircross has what it takes to be a great mid-range SUV and just like the Peugeot 3008 - voted European Car of the Year in 2017 - Citroen's newcomer is on the shortlist for the 2019 honour.