Citroen C5 Aircross

Shine plug-in hybrid

Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid Flair
Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid Flair, side
Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid Flair, rear
Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid Flair, cabin
Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid Flair, electric plug-in

CITROEN launched its C5 Aircross back in 2018 with both diesel and petrol engines but inevitably it has now had to grasp the nettle and turn its attention to an electrified version.

Fortunately the production of a plug-in hybrid has done little if anything to detract from the visual appeal and comfort of a car which has proved so popular among Citroen enthusiasts.

At the same time the hybrid builds on the refinement of both the petrol and diesel versions.

And cleverly the French car maker has managed to achieve what so many others haven't - a sensible home charging time.

Plug this newcomer into a home charging 7kW wallbox and you will be fully powered up in just over two hours.

That means a range of up to 40 miles on pure electric although of course the idea is that - while you can opt to drive purely on the battery - you let the system do its own thing and work out for itself the best combination of battery and the 1.6-litre petrol engine.

That way you get more miles per gallon and help protect the environment, with CO2 emissions of just 32 g/km.

At the same time you get a car with a more than satisfying amount of power when you need to press on.

In fact the conventional 1.6-litre petrol version of this car develops 181 bhp and is no slouch but combining that same engine with the electric motor in the hybrid gives you 225bhp, and a significant boost in performance.

A switch near the gear shift gives you the choice of three driving modes; pure electric - for towns and cities; hybrid - combining the best mix of electric and engine power; and sport, where engine and electric motor work to give the liveliest performance.

At the same time paddles behind the steering wheel allow you to use the eight-speed automatic gearbox manually for an even sportier ride.

And a centrally mounted 8-inch touch screen not only allows you to see where power is coming from at any given time but also lets you set the hybrid system to ensure the battery never drops below a minimum range of at least six or 12 miles by using engine charging so you can always drive through built-up areas on electric power if you want to.

That same touch screen is the monitor for the satellite navigation system, several on-board functions and a sharp colour rear view camera.

The C5 Aircross is a macho-looking, spacious five-seater family car with a generous amount of luggage space, which is adjustable thanks to the sliding rear seat which is divided into three with each section operating independently.

That means you can set the car up for more leg room for rear seat passengers or more luggage space.

There's also a lot of useful storage space inside too including a deep, twin lid centre console which allows you to rest your arm so the gearshift is just a hand span away.

The large front seats are soft and exceptionally comfortable although I found them a little short on side support.

The height of the C5 Aircross with its dramatic clamshell bonnet means excellent all-round visibility and easy access and exit. That height does mean some roll on corners but it's all kept well under control.

Exceptionally light power steering at low speed means manoeuvring this large SUV into tight spots is easy and the build quality is impressive, with all doors closing with just the minimum of force.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C5 Aircross Shine plug-in hybrid

Price: £34,360

Mechanical: 225ps, 1,598cc, 4cyl petrol engine and 81kW electric motor driving front wheels via eight speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 140 mph

0-62mph: 8.7 secs

Combined MPG: 157

Insurance Group: 32

C02 emissions: 32 g/km

Bik rating: 11%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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