If you are looking for style and substance wrapped up in a practical package, listen up. The Citroën C5 Aircross may just be the car for you.
(updated: 23 September 2023)
The turn of the decade saw a sharp increase in the number of crossovers, each touting more benefits than the last. This has subsequently turned consumers into crossover connoisseurs, who now expect a good 3-in-1 deal: Good looks, Practicality, and Effective cost savings.
You’re effectively spoilt for choice when hunting down something that rides tall on the roads. And I believe I’ve found something that tick the above requisites rather well.
French glow up
The Citroën C5 Aircross ditches its old and bland facade in favour of a new handsome demeanour.
Its new front fascia is dressed to the nines and gives the C5 a more commanding presence on the roads. Plastic trim pieces clad the underbody, woven into the design in a discreet manner. Roof rails and a flushed rear give it taut proportions.
Not much has honestly changed on the outside from its predecessor, but these subtle improvements coagulate into a much more future-focused design.
Fun on the outside, practical on the inside
The Citroën C5 Aircross dials down the French quirkiness, and functionality takes precedence in the cabin.
Instead of the usual 20:40:20 layout where middle passengers get ostracised, the C5 adopts a 30:30:30 layout with 3 individual seats. If you got 3 kids or adults, they’ll be contented in the back knowing that all is fair in the world. Although, the single rear USB port would be something they would have to fight for.
Since it’s 3 separate seats, each can be folded flat independently, creating versatile options for carrying odd-sized cargo. Even with the seats upright, the C5 still boasts 580 litres of boot space, which can be configured to have a flat floor as well.
Up front, the C5 portrays a clean demeanour with a little bit of French flair thrown in for good measure. The digital instrument cluster up front provides ample information for the driver, and everything is laid out with visibility in mind. A virtual Citroën C5 Aircross is also present on-screen, a small easter egg!
Entertainment is commanded by an 8-inch touchscreen nested in the middle of the C5’s unique dual-channel aircon vents. The interface may seem alien at first, but the simple UI is easy to get a hang of. Should you not want to deal with it, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections are available too.
There are two USB-A ports and a 12V port found up front, although I would have loved to see at least one USB-C port present.
Otherwise, the centre console is tucked neatly with no outwardly protrusions, and this opens up the cabin space for front occupants. You also get a deep centre cubby hole, with space enough for even full-sized tissue boxes.
All seats are upholstered in a blend of synthetic leather and fabric, and the fronts even have slight bolstering which is handy in the corners.
Overall, its sensible nature really makes the cabin a pleasant place to be.
The 1.2-litre 3-cylinder that resides under the hood is the same one found in most French models today, and its hardy nature is a tried and tested formula.
Power figures are modest at 129bhp and 230Nm of torque, but this torque is available at just 1,750rpm, which gives the car a bit of a kick off the line. Plus, the 1.2-litre porker does make a nice grouchy sound when under stress. I like the sound, but I don’t think it’ll resonate well with some folks who wish for a quieter experience instead.
At full chat, the C5 will hit the centurion mark in around 10.3 seconds, and reach a top speed of 188km/h. Because of its heft, the engine would have to work hard just to keep the momentum going, and that hinders fuel consumption to an extent.
During my test, I managed to garner an average of 10.8km/litre, which is good for about 570km of range from the 53-litre tank. A decent showing considering I was more or less between 3-4000 rpm at all times in order to keep pace.
(update: 23 September 2023)
And then somehow, our resident fuel economy tester managed to squirrel his way into the C5’s driver seat and came back with an overall average fuel economy of 6.5-litres/100km or 15.3km/litre across a test-driven 480km, compared to Citroën’s claimed 4.9-litres/100km or 20.4km/litre figure.
Vivek was last seen sobbing silently in a solitary corner of the office for failing to even come close to the claimed fuel economy number.
If you don’t take every corner like your life depends on it, the C5 is really comfortable taking bends at leisurely speeds. Citroën’s Advanced Comfort suspension setup works brilliantly here, and bumps and undulations in the roads are mostly cancelled out.
I’ll be honest, I did not have ambitious hopes when I first got into the Citroën C5 Aircross. Having previously reviewed its smaller C4 sibling, which was lacklustre to say the least, I was harbouring thoughts that the C5 would be built with similar veins.
However, I am pleasantly and thoroughly surprised at just how good it is. Sure, it may not have the best fuel economy, but it’s a strong soldier that does everything you want it to with gusto. And it does this, with true blue French flair.
In a world filled with a sea of bland-looking SUVs, the C5 stands out from the pack.
Citroën C5 Aircross
Engine: 1,199cc, 3-cylinder in-line PureTech Turbocharged
Gearbox: EAT8 8-Speed Automatic
0-100km/h: 10.3 Seconds
Top Speed: 188km/h
Fuel Economy: 20.4km/L (Claimed)
Price: S$152,999 with COE (Accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Citroën Singapore
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