Launch Drive: Citroen C5 Aircross 2019 review

Moving Well | Greg Hill | Posted on 05 August 2019

Greg Hill road tests the 2019 Citroen C5 Aircross mid-size SUV.

Citroen has been building vehicles for 100 years, and in Australia its cars have always offered something a little outside the mainstream. With the C5 Aircross it has gone from quirky to clever, while retaining a distinct French character.

Citroen’s all-new C5 Aircross mid-size five-seat SUV is a quiet achiever that has an eye-catching appearance and uses its cabin space cleverly. It’s an urban-focused, family-friendly, front-wheel-drive-only SUV

On our launch drive from Sydney to the Hunter Valley and back, what stood out was how comfortable and quiet the C5 Aircross was over a wide variety of roads.

Citroen is part of the giant PSA Group (the second-largest car manufacturer in Europe), so its engineers have access to a massive range of proven components, as well as the ability to develop their own. The C5 Aircross is closely related the Peugeot 3008 as they share many running-gear components such as engine, transmission and driveline. The jewel in the C5 Aircross crown, though, is the all-new suspension, featuring Citroen’s ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushions’ system.

C5 Aircross is Citroen’s first offering in the crowded and highly competitive medium SUV market and it comes in two variants – Feel and Shine. Although the Feel grade is the entry point for the range at $39,900 plus on-road costs, it’s well equipped to take-on mid-spec models in the category with a long list of practical standard features and safety gear. The Shine is dressed to impress and, with a price-tag of $43,990 plus on-roads, has enough kit to give premium models a run for their money.  

It has the raised seating position and commanding forward view that’s so appealing about this class of vehicle and the cabin design has been well thought out. An excellent fully digital instrument display has three selectable graphic styles for the information display. Generally speaking, it’s a more user-friendly layout than previous Citroens but there are still a few hard-to-find functions.

Close up of Citroen C5 Aircross interior and steering wheel
Close up of Citroen C5 Aircross gears


Plenty of front-seat shaping and varying-density foam layers in the Shine’s ‘Advance Comfort’ upholstery provide excellent cushioning and support. Three individual, equal-width rear seats that slide, recline and fold flat, together with a cavernous boot compartment, make up one of the most versatile and roomy passenger/luggage combinations in the class.

On the road, there is a noticeable bias towards comfort. Handling and performance are capable but conservative. The steering is light, while cornering is well mannered with a surefooted rather than exciting feel. Both variants get PSA’s advance ‘Grip Control’ system for when conditions get loose and slippery. This provides extra traction-control modes that the driver can select to suit the road conditions – standard, snow, mud, sand and ESP off (turns off the ESP control system).

Under the bonnet, PSA’s 1.6-litre turbo-charged, four-cylinder engine has 121kW of power and 240Nm of torque on tap. It drives the front wheel via a conventional, torque-converter style six-speed automatic with a Sport mode and column-mounted paddle shifters. It’s not the most powerful unit in the class but in keeping with the vehicle’s character, the combination will easily meet the everyday needs of most buyers, despite working a little hard at times on steep hills. Likewise, the fuel consumption is competitive with an official ADR of 7.9L/100km, but it does require premium-grade petrol.  

Citroen C5 Aircross

PRICING

Price as tested
Feel: $39,990 plus $4608 on-road costs.
Shine: $43,990 plus $4776 on-road costs.

DRIVETRAIN

Engine:1.6-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder, six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, FWD.
Power:121kW@6000rpm
Torque:240Nm@1400rpm
Tyres - Feel: 235/55 R18. Shine: 205/50 R19. Space-saver spare.

FUEL

Type: 95 RON premium grade petrol, 53-litre tank.
Government ADR figure: 7.9L/100km
CO2 emissions: 179g/km

STANDARD SAFETY

Six airbags, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) up to 85kmh, blind-spot monitoring, active lane-departure assist, speed-sign recognition, driver-attention alert, distance alert system.

STANDARD FEATURES

12.3-inch fully digital instrument panel, 8.0-inch touch-screen infotainment system, navigation, digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 180-degree view reversing camera.


Shine adds:
Advanced Comfort seat with electric adjustment for driver, leather and fabric-covered seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, wireless phone charging, aluminium pedals.

WARRANTY/SERVICING

Five years/unlimited kilometres.

Twelve months or 20,000 kilometres service.