Citroen C5 Aircross Road Test Review – Bonjour India

Since the early 1900’s, Citroen– a French Car manufacturer has been making waves with their innovations and design. Its now time for the Indian market to get a taste – Citroen C5 Aircross is launching in India this year. Citroen’s maiden product will go on sale with a diesel engine in a choice of two variants – Feel and the fully loaded Shine. Let’s get to know this car better.

Food for Thought

Citroen was founded by Andre Citroen in 1919Way back in 1934 Citroen introduced the Traction Avant which was known for its revolutionary for a unitary body with no separate frame, four-wheel independent suspension, and front-wheel drive. Later on, in the 1950s, Citroen developed a remarkable type of suspension. A high-pressure hydraulic system was used in over 9 million Citroën cars. The Citroen C5 is the car used by former French presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, and from 2012 by François Hollande as their official car. The C5 was first shown to the world in 2015 as a Concept at the Shanghai Auto Show and made it into production in 2017.

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Citroen which is a part of the recently formed Stellantis group which includes Fiat Chrysler and the Peugeot  and automotive brands: Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroen, Dodge, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, Ram Trucks and Vauxhall Motors under one umbrella. For India Citroen C5 Aircross vehicle will be produced out of the Thiruvallur facility in Tamil Nadu that Groupe PSA had acquired from CK Birla Group used for the iconic Hindustan Motors.

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Exteriors

At the front, there’s the unmistakable double chevron designed logo finished in chrome spanning across the width of the bonnet encircling the bright LED DRL’s – which gives it a chic French look. And right below that is a twin slat gloss black grille. The Feel variant which we were driving comes equipped with normal twin halogen headlight assembly. The dual tone bumper looks unique with the fake air dam on either side finished in silver.

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The fog lamps are placed at the very bottom of the bumper on extreme sides. Talking about the side, the C5 Aircross has a tall body with large doors making ingress and egress very easy. It comes with roof bars and side air bumps with contrasting colour accents dotted around the body.

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Coming to the rear, it has a very distinct style with rectangular 3D rear tail light effect which makes it stand out in the crowd. French and fashion go hand in hand, remember? The stylish SUV will be offered in four single tone shades – Pearl White, Cumulus Grey, Tijuca Blue, and Perla Nera Black, along with dual-tone black roof option for the first three colour schemes, bringing the total to 7 colour options.

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The Shine variant will come with LED Vision Projector Headlamps, with LED daytime running lights, ORVM-mounted LED turn indicators, and LED taillamps. The SUV gets a set of 18-inch ‘SWIRL’ two-tone diamond-cut alloy wheels which comes as standard equipment on both variants. Also, we were surprised to a see full-sized spare tyre with the same alloy wheel – a feature which most car manufacturers skip.

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Interiors

The C5 Aircross rules the roost when it comes to a neat and minimalist styling with a touch of premium feel. You’ll find enough room in the front and the seats come with plenty of thick padding. The drivers seat gets electric adjust while the passenger seat comes with manual adjust. The C5 Aircross will stand out for its unique rear seat configuration.

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There you’ll find three individual seats which will allow moving the seats forward, backward and even recline individually which is a great feature. The car also comes with plenty storage bins which includes XXXL central storage bin under the arm rest. You get a generous storage tray under the dashboard with a wireless charging pad even for a fairly large phone and two good-sized cup holders just behind the gear lever.

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The C5 Aircross’ infotainment comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Unlike some touchscreen systems, the Citroen C5 Aircross’ infotainment display comes with a row of shortcut buttons to help you access key features easily.

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The Citroen C5 Aircross has 580 litres of boot space with the back seats raised which can house 2 big and 2 small suitcases which can be expanded up to 1,630 litres. Enough room we’d say. Other features include dual-zone climate control, park assist function, electrically adjustable driver seat, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, push-button start and much more.

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Engine, Transmission & Drive

This SUV is powered by 2.0 litre diesel engine with 177hp and 400Nm torque. The engine comes mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox also endearing known as EAT8 gearbox. Citroen C5 Aircross’s fuel-efficiency is rated at 18.6 km/l (ARAI tested). We’re pretty certain that the real world efficiency will be slightly lower than what the manufacturer claims.

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It comes with Progressive Hydraulic Cushion -equipped suspension system which is helps smoothen out bumps and maintains a flat ride for superior ride quality. It also gets a Grip Control system with five terrain modes – Standard, Snow, All-terrain, Sand, and Traction control off and two drive modes – Eco & Sport.

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For starters, the ride quality is great– the best in this price bracket for sure. Thanks to the trademark Citroen hydraulic cushions that is known as ‘Magic Carket’ for obvious reasons that absorb all those bumps so well and as a result, the Citroen C5 Aircross is more comfortable and more relaxing to drive than most family SUVs. It has a very distinct dive under braking or at turn-ins, but the cushioned suspension does it’s thing. It also has grippy tyres and predictable brakes with good feedback from the steering wheel. Overall it’s a very pleasant car to drive with a lively engine and a perfectly matched gearbox. You have this very different drive feel in the C5 that is not felt in any cars in its segment.

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Competition check

The Citroen C5 Aircross competes with the Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass, Skoda Karoq, Honda CRV in its class.

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Verdict

Well Citroen has taken time to get their first product into India but they want to do it just perfect hence chosen the C5 which is their flagship model. The car looks different and has that French styling that demands a lot of attention with tons of road presence. The car lives up to its marketing term ‘Magic Carpet’ with its unmatched ride quality oozing brilliant comfort.

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Though the C5 does miss out on a few features but makes up for them with the ride quality, performance and cabin space utilization. If you want a car that makes you stand out of the crowd along with some mind boggling drive feel and flaunts a very different looking badge then the Citroen C5 Aircross is for you.

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Words – Amit Shelar & Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar

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