After some time in the Australian automotive wilderness Citroen, under its new importer,
Inchcape, has been rejuvenated, albeit with a range of just four models: the C3 small
hatchback, C4 wagon, C5 X wagon and, this review’s vehicle, the mid-sized SUV C5

Sadly, for a brand with such a long and proud history, and some impressive vehicles, sales
continue to be negligible.

The original C5 Aircross, launched here in 2020, came in two variants, Feel and Shine, but
with the 2023 upgrade dropped back to a single high-spec Sport variant.

Aircross has an imposing stance on the road which makes it look and feel larger than it
actually is. In fact, at 4.5-metres long, it’s smaller than leading competitors such as
Hyundai Tucson, Nissan X-Trail and Toyota RAV4.

The overall shape sticks to traditional SUV body styling but with an imposing grille
highlighted by the latest version of the iconic Citroen chevron badge leading to a high-tech
two-tiered bonnet, stylish side vents with coloured inserts and four-piece taillights.

There are roof rails around a panoramic sun roof and 19-inch Art full black diamond cut
alloy wheels.

Both sides have lower cladding featuring Citroen’s clever air bumps, a more subtle version
of the side protectors that we first encountered in the C4 Cactus.

Ground clearance is 182 mm so it’s not suitable for any serious off-road conditions.

There’s a choice of six colours. Only one is standard, with four metallic ($690) and one
premium ($1050) options.

The interior of the C5 Aircross is large, comfortable and functional with a high-driving
position and height and reach steering wheel adjustment.

The steering wheel, with built-in controls, has a lovely feel to it. It has a thick rim with a flat
base paired with a gloss black and satin chrome finish and full-grain leather.

The seats are wide and comfortable. According to Citroen they have been inspired by
modern bedding and its use of ‘memory materials’, including foams of different densities
and hardness depending on the role – support or cushioning – of the component.

Both driver and front passenger seats have heating but only the driver has powered
adjustment, multi-point massage and lumbar support.

There is plenty of practical storage spaces including a large butterfly-style storage box in
the centre console. In front of it are two cup holders and a long slot ideal for wallets or
phones. At the base of the front console there’s another tray with two USB ports and a
12V power socket.

Rear passengers get directional air vents and another USB port.

There’s plenty of headroom both front and rear with the three individual rear seats able to
slide forward and back, tilted or folded although the centre seat folds flat rather than
providing a centre armrest.

Legroom isn’t quite so good even with the seats set back.

C5 Aircross has an impressive cargo capacity of 580 litres, expanding to 720 litres when
the rear seats are folded, up to 1630 litres to roof height. The boot floor can be set to two
different levels, with a space saver spare wheel beneath it.

The 2023 upgrade to the C5 Aircross adds extra power and torque to the existing 1.6-litre
four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine with power up from 121 kW to 133 kW at 5500 rpm and
torque from 240 to 250 Nm at 1650 rpm.

Transmission also steps up from the previous Aisin six-speed automatic transmission to an
eight-speed Efficient Automatic. As before, drive is to the front wheels, there’s no all-wheel
drive option.

Fuel consumption is listed at 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined city/highway
cycle. We averaged 7.4 L/100km during our week-long test.

Unlike its Peugeot 3008 sibling / rival there’s no plug-in hybrid variant in the Aircross at this
stage although it is available overseas.

Standard safety features include six airbags, adaptive cruise control with stop / start,
function, front autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot
monitoring, lane departure warning and correction, speed sign recognition, driver
inattention alert, distance alert system, traffic sign recognition, speed limit recommendation
and speed limiter function, front and rear parking sensors, 180-degree reversing camera
with top-down view, and tyre pressure monitoring.

Inside there are front, side and curtain airbags, child lock functionality on the rear doors
and windows, and ISOFIX mounting points in the rear window seats.

There are two screens, a 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen in the centre of the
dashboard and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster in front of the driver. Both are crisp,
clear and easy to read.

Unfortunately, Citroen has followed the current trend of tablet-style controls in place of the
traditional buttons and knobs. Only the audio on/off and volume control gets the latter, and
it’s on the left-hand side of the centre console. Everything else, including the air
conditioning controls, need a series of taps with the resultant driver distraction.

By contrast the digital driver display is very user-friendly and provides information with
minimal time needed from the road ahead. Even better it can be configured to fits each
driver’s preferences.

Integrated satellite navigation is standard as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto pairing;
DAB+ digital radio; voice recognition for phone, radio and SatNav; and USB sockets in the
centre console and the rear of the front armrest.

There is a wireless smartphone charging pad at the base of the dashboard.

The standout feature of C5 Aircross is comfort, not only inside but also in its driving
qualities. It uses Citroen’s all-new Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension which use
two hydraulic stops – one for compression and one for rebound which work in tandem to
further slow down the whole action of the shocks

Advanced soundproofing reduces road and wind noise by using double-laminated front
windows, while attention has also been paid to the engine compartment’s soundproofing.

Although C5 Aircross doesn’t come with all-wheel drive, it does have Citroen’s Advanced
Grip Control which provides some AWD-like capability on low-grip surfaces – snow, mud,
sand, ESP off – through the vehicle’s traction control system.

Performance is much as you would expect from a four-cylinder 1.6-litre engine It works
fine around the suburbs and cruises well enough on the motorway but did struggle to
accelerate quickly when needed on the hilly segment of our rural test route.

Fuel consumption is listed at an ambitious 5.3 litres/100 km on the combined
urban/highway cycle. On our test we averaged 7.6 L/km.

Unfortunately for Citroen the C5 Aircross sits in the congested mid-sized SUV market
segment and, although, at $54,990 plus on-road costs, it’s priced around the same level
as the top spec models of its rivals its languishing near the bottom of sales ladder.

Which is disappointing because it offers so much in terms of performance, styling, comfort
and individuality. Well worth a comparison test drive.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 9/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Overall: 7.5/10


C5 Aircross Sport: $54,990
Note: This price does not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local
Citroen dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Citroen C5 Aircross Sport 1.6-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 1.598 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 133 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 250 Nm @ 1650 rpm
Fuel type: Petrol 98 RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 5.7 litres per 100 km
CO2 emissions: 130 g/km

Drivetrain: Eight-speed automatic

Length: 4500 mm
Width: 1859 mm
Height: 1695 mm
Wheelbase: 2730 mm
Turning Circle: 10.7 metres
Kerb Weight: 1402 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 53 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid Disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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