CITROEN'S stylish, spacious and practical C5 Aircross SUV has just been given added appeal thanks to the introduction of plug-in hybrid technology that brings up to 34 miles of pure electric driving.
Powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine working in tandem with an 81kW electric motor fed by a 13.2kWh battery, the C5 Aircross delivers a combined 225bhp and 500Nm of torque.
With its perfectly timed 8-speed automatic transmission, the car can sprint from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds and tops out at 140mph. But the figures that will certainly appeal to anyone who does a lot of city centre driving, particularly those in congestion charge areas, are the 32-41g/km of carbon emissions (0g/km when driving in EV-mode) with a combined 157.2-223.3mpg, under stricter WLTP testing.
Obviously, these fuel efficiency figures could only realistically be achieved if the vehicle was run the majority of the time in electric-only mode.
The five-door C5 Aircross in high-end Shine Plus trim was priced at £35,835, increasing to £36,805 with options. It is an attractive looking vehicle with modern design cues and a wealth of top notch technology to explore.
Eye-catching design features include a bold upright stance, subtle distinctive Airbumps, tinted rear windows, a black roof that contrasts nicely with the white bodywork, roof bars, twin exhaust effect trim, 19-inch two-tone alloys, LED headlights with LED daytime running lights and a blue shading on the front bumper and on an Airbump insert.
Move inside and the cabin is ultra-modern with a clutter-free layout and lots of on-board techno treats. The driver's seat is powered so finding a comfortable driving position is a simple process and all the dials, controls and readouts are perfectly positioned for ease of use. There is a soft touch matt dashboard with neat grey inserts and white mood lighting that can be dimmed.
Creature comforts are plentiful and include full smartphone connectivity via Mirror Screen which links both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice recognition for the radio, navigation and phone, an eight-inch touchscreen, a DAB radio, wireless phone charging pad, dual zone air conditioning and a 12.3-inch information display behind the steering wheel that can be fully customised.
When it comes to performance, the C5 Aircross is a delight to drive with impressive ride quality and sharp handling. The car's suspension system includes Progressive Hydraulic Cushions which basically help smooth out all the bumps and dips along the way and this works exceptionally well on our pothole-ridden roads.
The road holding on this front-wheel drive model is confident and there is little sign of body roll provided tighter bends are treated with a little caution. The car effortlessly cruises at national speed limits on motorways and is also nice and agile in busier city centres where the reversing camera is useful when squeezing into tighter parking spaces.
There are drive modes called Electric, Hybrid or Sport, along with D or B settings on the gear selector with B increasing the energy recouped during braking. You can also save the battery charge or even charge the battery on the move via the petrol engine.
The gearbox is nicely timed and there are steering wheel mounted paddles for added driver engagement.
Thanks to the slightly elevated driving position, the all-round visibility is excellent which is a ‘must' on a vehicle that will more than likely feature heavily on the school run.
The C5 Aircross also has all the practicality bases covered with a well-sized boot that is power-operated and can swallow 460 litres of kit. Drop the split-folding rear seats and that limit increases to a generous 1,510 litres and there is space to store the charge cable beneath the two-position boot floor. There are also numerous convenient storage compartments scattered throughout the car.
The vehicle can be charged to 100 per cent capacity in less than two hours using a standard 7kW home charging wallbox.