Citroën C5 Aircross long-term test review

Citroën's largest SUV is based on the same underpinnings as the What Car? Award-winning Peugeot 5008, but is it as easy to live with? We're finding out...

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What Car? team
12 August 2019

Citroën C5 Aircross Flair PT180

The car Citroën C5 Aircross Puretech 180 Flair

Run by Alastair Clements, special contributor

Why it’s here Citroën’s new entry into the congested large SUV market offers something different, with an approach that favours comfort over dynamic excellence

Needs to Offer more than just quirky looks and a supple ride. In this class, nothing short of brilliance will do


Mileage 3868 List price £28,930 Target Price £27,182 Price as tested £29,050 Test economy 29.9


12 August 2019 – The green, green grass of home

No matter how confident you are about the choice of a new car, it’s always tempting to wonder if the grass is greener on another page of the brochure. And I recently got a chance to find out, when my petrol-engined C5 flashed up a couple of warning lights and my local dealer asked me to drop it in for a checkover.

Citroën C5 Aircross long-term test review

In its place, I spent a few days in a diesel-engined 1.5 BlueHDi 130 C5 Aircross that, engine aside, was near-identical. In some ways the diesel better suits the relaxed nature of the C5 with its more easy-going response and loping gait, and it makes an ideal companion for the eight-speed automatic gearbox, but I soon tired of the intrusive diesel clatter, which upset the Citroën’s usual serenity.

Citroën C5 Aircross long-term test review

I was pleased to get my car back and to enjoy both the refinement and the punchy nature of the turbocharged petrol engine. As for the warning lights, the team at Tates Citroën in Crawley did some non-invasive testing and were unable to replicate the fault, so for now I’m putting it down to an over-sensitive sensor.

Citroën C5 Aircross long-term test review

The extra 50bhp of the petrol engine means effortless performance, but there are definitely roads on which the C5 excels and those on which it doesn’t. A weekend away with the family brought this into sharp focus as we hacked across town, then had a lengthy motorway blast, before a final run along twisting A-roads to reach our destination. On the first two, the Aircross was peerless, thanks to its quiet nature and superbly comfortable ride (which also makes it an ideal car from which to take pictures).

Citroën C5 Aircross long-term test review

On the cross-country section, however, it rather fell to pieces. The relatively slow steering and fairly epic body roll discourage the driver from trying to have too much fun, but not as effectively as the passengers, with the floaty ride prompting both of my daughters – even 10-year-old Niamh with her usually iron constitution – to complain of car sickness.

Citroën C5 Aircross long-term test review

On the plus side, the boot is huge and there are masses of internal storage options – not least the vast bin beneath the central armrest – plus the excellent routing options of the TomTom sat-nav make it easy to dive around the worst of the traffic.

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