Road Test Review: Citroën C5 Aircross PHEV Shine

Independent review by Mike Torpey

5-minute read

Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV Shine Rear

Road Test: Citroën C5 Aircross PHEV Shine

Explore the key features of the Citroën C5 Aircross PHEV Shine in our expert road test review

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Plug-in hybrid power coupled with an all-round practical and versatile car makes this Citroën C5 Aircross PHEV a great option for a family car.


  • Exceptional comfort
  • Enjoyable to drive
  • Spacious interior
  • Economic
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Serenity reigns supreme is the mantra from car company Citroën with reference to its compact crossover C5 Aircross model.

And the French company is confident its C5 line-up offers a level of driving comfort never before felt in a car. Given that there are super luxury models out there costing 10 times the price, that’s quite some claim.

Engines and Performance

While both petrol and diesel versions of the C5 Aircross are up for grabs, our tested model was the plug-in hybrid in mid-range Shine trim.

Featuring a 1.6-litre petrol engine boosted by an electric motor, the PHEV develops a hefty 221bhp, making it capable of hitting 62mph from standstill in 8.7 seconds with a top speed potential of 140mph.

Significantly, and in the space of just a few months since the plug-in hybrid was launched, Citroën has upgraded the car’s battery to give it a better electric-only range of 41 miles.

The gain is only small, from 39 miles, but the drop in CO2 emissions from 32 to 29g/km also means a cut in benefit-in-kind tax banding (12 down to 8 percent).

The advanced comfort programme also extends to the car’s suspension with an initiative Citroën calls the ‘magic carpet’ effect which filters out and absorbs imperfections in the road surface.

We found the Aircross Hybrid a joy to drive - smooth and serene on all types of road.
Mike Torpey

The only minor niggle that could be found was that the steering is a touch on the light side. But the turning circle is terrific and parking is made all the easier courtesy of a reversing camera that includes a bird's eye view.

There are three drive modes accessed via a switch close to the gearshift – pure electric for city and suburban driving, hybrid which gives the best combination of engine and electric power and sport for the sharpest performance.

Comfort and Practicality

The seats in the Aircross are not only multi-adjustable but have an extra top layer of thick-textured memory foam and, on some models, a massage function too.

It’s part of the brand's Advanced Comfort programme based around four main themes - practicality, fluidity, peace of mind and the cocoon effect.

In truth, the latter theme embodies all four in that it covers essential elements needed for easy, stress-free family travel - in no particular order - brightness, insulation from wind and road noise, an air purifying system and wide sag-resistant seats inspired by the most comfortable furniture.

They genuinely are comfortable too, with wide cushions and seat backs, as well as a 15mm layer of thick textured foam at the surface.

It’s also worth pointing out that with three individual seats in the rear, the C5 Aircross sets itself apart in its area of the car market.

As they are of identical width, they provide the same comfort for the middle passenger as for the other occupants – a rare treat – and they also recline, offering five different positions, and can also slide forward by up to 150mm and be folded to form a fully flat load space.

Practical space is also very much a crucial part of the C5 Aircross make-up, in that overall space it is all well devised. The 580-litre boot extends to 720 litres with the rear seats slid fully forward and a whopping 1,630 litres with everything flat.

That’s in addition to various oddments spaces like door bins, glovebox, lidded central container and various cupholders.


All of this adds up to a near perfect family car - economic, spacious, dynamic, and very comfortable.

The mid-range Shine trim is also a great in-between option for drivers that want a bit more out of their car than entry-level models can offer, but don't want to fork out for higher specs. And, with the Shine specification, it's still reasonably kitted out, so you won't miss out on much by choosing the mid-level option of the C5 Aircross.