In last month’s review I wrote about Citroën’s Advanced Comfort programme and the C5 Aircross’s seats and suspension. Soon after writing, the country went into lockdown and I have had little opportunity (or need) to enjoy the Citroën’s levels of comfort – or, in fact, drive anywhere. The car currently sits on my drive with a tank of diesel which I filled more than three weeks ago.
What this period has given me is time to clear out the house of everything that my family no longer needs or wants. However, with recycling centres and charity shops closed indefinitely, I’ve nowhere to take all the unwanted items. That’s where the C5’s spacious interior has come into play. With 720 litres of boot space (seats up) thanks to its three individual sliding rear seats and removable boot floor, the C5 is ahead of rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai (430l) and the Mazda CX-5 (506l).
With rear seats folded flat the space increases to a generous 1,630 litres. More than enough for my current needs.
Loading is made easy thanks to the electrically-operated tailgate although the foot-operated sensor sometimes takes a lot of foot waggling.
Hopefully, things will return to some sense of normality soon and I can get the car emptied.
Advanced Comfort features give a smooth ride
You will probably remember the ‘adventure just got civilised’ TV advertising campaign in which Nigel Owens MBE (international rugby referee) tames a wild bear, gives it a haircut, teaches it to play the double bass and dresses it in a dinner suit to promote the civilised manners of the C5 Aircross.
The C5 is part of Citroën’s Advanced Comfort programme and includes two exclusive innovations, the first being suspension with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions which filters and absorbs surface unevenness. It is designed to give passengers a smooth driving experience by using two hydraulic stops – one for rebound and one for compression which gradually slow down the suspension movement to avoid sudden jolts at the end of travel. The other innovation is Advanced Comfort seats which include a layer of 15mm-thick foam to make the seats softer and more durable. The front seats are also filled with high-density foam to help avoid poor posture after long periods and its three individual, sliding, incline-adjustable and folding rear seats make the C5 the most modular and spacious SUV in its segment, says Citroën.
It certainly is comfortable to drive, even on long journeys. My only slight niggle is that the suspension and softer seats together with the automatic gear box and start/stop can make the car feel a little boat-like in slow moving traffic.
Things we don't like about the Citroen C5 Aircross
The C5 Aircross is one of my most liked long-term test cars in recent years. I took delivery of the Flair Plus just before the end of 2019 and it has already cemented itself as a firm favourite.
With its distinctive styling, big wheels and subtle side airbumps, the C5 is unmistakably Citroën. I’m pleased there is nothing else on the market today quite like it. But that could make it a ‘love it or hate it’ car for some when it comes to kerb appeal.
That said, I do have some niggly gripes. The first is the opening panoramic roof (included on Flair Plus models). It’s a treat for rear seat passengers, but, it is set so far back that it fails to bring any enjoyment to those in the front. In fact, it’s possible to forget it is there at all.
The second is the infotainment system. It follows that of its Peugeot brothers (our recently departed 508 had a very similar system) which consists of icons on touch sensitive dash-mounted buttons, physical push buttons and touchscreen buttons. It’s overly complicated and requires more eyeball time than should be necessary.
For example, to change the fan speed first you have to locate the icon referring to the control you want and press it, this takes you into the climate control menu, you then tap the screen for the settings you require. I’m all for a clean dashboard but there are times when a simple dial will suffice.
The washer jets are mounted to the wipers (also the same as the Peugeot 508) and are very slow to react when activated.
The rear-view camera, while okay during the day is hard to see at night due to the very poor picture quality on the screen.
My last small gripe is with the start/stop button. Rather than press and release to start, the button must be pressed and held, just for a second but just long enough for it to be an annoyance.
First world problems.
Small gripes aside, so far, the Aircross impresses in looks, comfort and build quality.
Citroen C5 Aircross 1.5 BlueHDI 130 Flair Plus joins our fleet
The Citroen C5 Aircross SUV is the brand’s third best-selling passenger car in the world (after C3 and C3 Aircross SUV).
It is available in three trim levels, Feel, Flair and Flair Plus, and four engines, 130PS petrol or diesel and 180PS petrol or diesel, with all but the 130PS petrol available with a manual or automatic gearbox.
Our test vehicle is a volcano red 130 BlueHDi diesel automatic model in Flair Plus trim emitting 106g/km of CO2 with an average fuel consumption of 56.3mpg. It’s worth noting that as of January 2020 Citroen has reduced the C02 figure to 100g/km.
Key features include: rear parking sensors, reversing camera with top rear vision, Mirror Screen including MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 19-inch diamond cut alloys, opening panoramic roof, keyless entry and start, sat-nav and hands-free tailgate.
The C5 Aircross stands apart through its unique design with strong features including stacked front lights and Citroen’s airbumps.
Comfort is high on the agenda. The C5 Aircross is fitted with the Progressive Hydraulic Cushions suspension system and advanced comfort seats, it has three individual sliding, retractable and tilting rear seats, and best-in-class boot space from 580 to 720 litres thanks to its removable boot floor.
Arnaud Belloni, Citroen marketing and communication director says the C5 Aircross is: “An SUV which allows you to brave the most demanding roads while experiencing real comfort on board. Because with a comfortable journey, you arrive 100% ready to embark upon any adventure!”