First Drive Review: Citroën C5 Aircross

Independent review by Chris Russon

4-minute read

Red Citroen C5 Aircross Exterior Front Driving

First Drive: Citroën C5 Aircross

Explore the key features of the Citroën C5 Aircross in our expert first drive review

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The mid-sized SUV segment is as competitive as they come, but very few can match the C5 Aircross in terms of comfort and style.


  • Loaded with tech
  • Super practical
  • Comfort is second-to-none
  • Distinctive design
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Citroën is making a play for a piece of the action in the booming mid-sized SUV market with its new C5 Aircross flagship.

Competitively priced and complete with exclusive features, Citroën says its new model is all about comfort.

The C5 Aircross is fitted with Citroën’s latest suspension system, specially designed seats, and has plenty of room throughout the cabin.

The result brings a ‘magic carpet’ ride to the mainstream SUV sector, and in this league the French carmaker is out on its own.

The C5 Aircross was introduced in 2017 and most models will come in cheaper than its cousin, the Peugeot 3008.

Driving Experience

On some shocking road surfaces in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the new C5 Aircross proved itself a champion, protecting all on board from jolts and jarring.

Only vehicles with air suspension – and costing thousands of pounds more – could have acquitted themselves in such capable fashion as the C5 Aircross.
Chris Russon

The C5 Aircross range includes a petrol powered 1.6-litre PureTech engined version or a 2.0-litre diesel variant.

Both of the range toppers have 180bhp on tap, giving the car more than enough performance, and both are fitted with 8-speed automatic transmissions.

Officially, there’s less than half a second between the two when it comes to 0 to 62mph times, with the PureTech model marginally quicker at 8.2 seconds and the BlueHDi diesel 8.6 seconds.

Top speeds are 134mph for the petrol and 131mph for the diesel, but the real difference comes with fuel economy, which is rated at 60.1mpg for the diesel, with the PureTech petrol version coming in at 49.6mpg.

Emissions are 129g/km and 124g/km, and that’s on 19-inch wheels in top grade Flair Plus trim.

Entry level Feel models feature 130bhp engines with a 1.6-litre diesel rated at 68.9mpg and a 1.2-litre PureTech petrol model – both with manual gearboxes – at 54.3mpg.

Those are commendable figures for a car that tips the scales at some 1.5 tonnes, and on my tests in the two higher powered versions of the C5 Aircross, I saw averages of 39mpg for the PureTech and 43mpg for the diesel – both impressive given the conditions.

Where the C5 Aircross scores is with its ride and handling, which in this class of car is top-notch thanks to Citroën’s Progressive Hydraulic Cushion shock absorbers, which iron out all but the most severe bumps as if they weren’t there.

Couple the advanced ride to extra padding in the seats and the C5 Aircross is one of the most comfortable cars around – and that goes for off-road use too.

Equipment and Technology

The C5 Aircross is a hugely important vehicle for Citroën – its first model in this class of SUV since 2013 – and not only is it dressed to impress, but comes kitted out with no less than 20 safety and driver aids.

Those include Citroën’s first semi-autonomous driving setup that will hold the vehicle’s position on the road automatically and – on the auto transmission models – an adaptive cruise control system, which can stop the vehicle and move off without driver intervention.

Other features include lane departure and blind spot warnings, automatic parking, and a surround-view camera system.

Citroën’s ConnectedCAM dash cam is standard fit on mid-grade Flair models and better specced Flair Plus models, but it comes as an optional extra on Feel versions.

Connectivity is fully smartphone compatible, and there’s a MirrorLink function to show your phone’s contents on the car’s 8-inch display screen.

Sat nav is standard on all but the entry-level version, and the C5 Aircross also sees the introduction of a multimode instrument panel, which can be configured in a variety of ways to show everything from conventional dials to navigation information.


Onboard storage is above average and includes a double-top opening centre console, a fair sized glovebox, and a wireless phone charging pad.

The C5 Aircross can be fitted with the PSA group’s Grip Control electronic traction system – another optional extra on automatics only – which enables it to conquer severe conditions including mud, sand, and snowy roads with little trouble. There’s also hill descent control for additional help.

And with a sliding rear seating arrangement made up of three individual seats, boot space ranges from a minimum of between 580 litres and a class-leading 720 litres, to a maximum of 1,630 litres with a load length of some 1.9 metres.


All in all, the C5 Aircross is quite the package, and its ride quality is second to none in this class of SUV. Tested on the roughest of terrains, it passed all the tests with flying colours and impressed across the board. It looked great while doing so, too.