Citroen C5 Aircross

Flair BlueHDi 180

EAT8

Citroen C5 Aircross, front
Citroen C5 Aircross, side
Citroen C5 Aircross, rear
Citroen C5 Aircross, interior
Citroen C5 Aircross, rear
Citroen C5 Aircross, front
Citroen C5 Aircross, front

ONCE upon a time there was a reluctance for French car makers to go down the SUV route.

Even when SUVs were starting to make serious inroads two of the French ‘big three' - Citroen and Peugeot - opted to rebadge a Mitsubishi rather than come up with their own creation.

However SUVs and their crossover spin-offs have became to all intents and purposes the bread and butter of the modern day automotive market, meaning car makers ignore them at their peril.

The C5 Aircross comes in the wake of the smaller C3 Aircross and is more of a mainstream crossover that will appeal to a spectrum of buyers - particularly families.

It is actually Citroen's biggest SUV yet and is a stylish creation that certainly appeals from an aesthetic perspective.

Despite their undoubted appeal SUVs can look a little uninspired and staid but the C5 Aircross is undoubtedly alluring.

Citroen designers seem to have really hit the spot of late and the C5 Aircross is a great example of them getting a great deal right.

The interior is something of a tour de force too, characterised by a fair measure of Gallic sophistication and attention to detail.

One of the strengths of this car could be classified under the important but oft-forgotten element of comfort.

The Citroen Advanced Comfort programme has a number of facets, and as well as new suspension technology includes special seats made with high-density foam.

They really are both comfortable and supportive it has to be said and finished in leather upholstery look fabulous too, with a kind of criss-cross padded pattern that exudes luxury and looks like the sort of thing one might see on a concept car but which never makes it into production.

These superdeluxe seats involve stepping-up from Feel to Flair trim but I would recommend it.

I've kind of got used to Citroen's latest generation of high-tech controls, though the fact many functions such as climate control need to be operated through the 8.0in touchscreen can make things a little fiddly at times - particularly when you're on the move - and it's very easy to activate the functions below it due to everything being fairly closely bunched together.

The other high-tech screen is a 12.3in digital instrument display which looks rather classy and is well designed.

While the C5 Aircross feels big enough, and the cabin is nicely roomy, it does not feel overly cumbersome to drive.

All models come with basic manoeuvring aids in the shape of rear parking sensors.

Again, the exceptionally well-equipped mid-range Flair model adds front sensors and a rear-view camera as well.

On the technology front all C5 Aircrosses offer DAB radio and Bluetooth, as well as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink smartphone mirroring.

At the risk of over-egging those Flair extras you also get a sat-nav if you upgrade from an entry-level Feel model.

There are two petrol and two diesel engine choices, the petrols are a 128bhp 1.2-litre and a 178bhp 1.6-litre.

To simplify matters somewhat the diesels offer the same power ratings and there's a 128bhp 1.5-litre and a 178bhp 2.0-litre.

In terms of models there are about a dozen different derivatives across the three trim levels - the range-topping trim level being Flair Plus.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine fitted to this car was smooth and refined, packing a decent performance punch too.

The aforementioned suspension system and its Progressive Hydraulic Cushions help make for splendid ride quality and the C5 Aircross does not disappoint when it comes to handling either.

The driving experience was completed by the smooth and very easy to get on with eight-speed automatic gearbox.

I got to spend longer at the wheel of the C5 Aircross than I normally would with a test car and confess I actually got to like it more and more as time elapsed.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C5 Aircross Flair BlueHDi 180 EAT8

Price: £31,135

Mechanical: 178bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 131mph

0-62mph: 8.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 47.1

Insurance Group: 25

C02 emissions: 124g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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