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Old 15th February 2021, 09:00   #1
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Default Citroen C5 Aircross Review

Citroen C5 Aircross Review

Citroen C5 Aircross Pros:

• A superbly engineered & properly premium crossover
• Very stylish exteriors & interiors! We love the design. It's matched to solid build quality
• Good quality cabin with comfortable seats, lots of storage & fantastic insulation
• 2.0L diesel engine is quick, efficient & extremely refined
• Smooth 8-speed AT gearbox impresses
• Excellent ride comfort and mature road manners. High speed behaviour is sorted too
• Large, well-shaped 580 liter boot gobbles up holiday / airport luggage
• Loaded to the gills with features such as a panoramic sunroof, handsfree tailgate opening, customisable instrument cluster, double laminated front windows, terrain modes...
• 4-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test. 3-point seatbelts for all five occupants, 6 airbags, blind spot monitoring system, ESP, hill hold, hill descent control and more

Citroen C5 Aircross Cons:

• Rear legroom is strictly adequate. Two 5’10" adults can sit behind each other, but not two 6-footers
• No turbo-petrol engine (big miss), no AWD for tourers & no manual gearbox for MT fans
• Not really sporty to drive. Cars like the Compass are more fun
• Missing some features we expect today (connected car tech, wireless charging, ventilated seats, 360-degree camera, subwoofer…)
• The bolstering of the 3 individual rear seats is suitable for slim passengers, not heavier ones
• Audio sound quality is alright, but nothing special as you’d expect in a premium car
• Many competing crossovers & SUVs offer a 3rd-row of seats, which the C5 Aircross doesn't have
• The LHD orientation of many controls (gear shifter, e-brake, bonnet release, engine start button)
• Long-term reliability & after-sales service quality are big unknowns


This is Groupe PSA's second foray into the Indian market. The first run in the 1990s ended terribly, with Peugeot abandoning the market & leaving many customers of the 309 in the lurch. This time around, Groupe PSA is entering the country using brand "Citroen" which it acquired many decades ago. It's a smart strategy in bringing Citroen, as Peugeot is a damaged brand in India. You can be sure that "Peugeot" won't even be mentioned in any of the publicity material.

The C5 Aircross crossover has the duty to establish the Citroen brand in India. This makes it a very important car for the company. Being a crossover will help as SUVs and crossovers are all the rage right now. Premium positioning also helps as its easier to handle the lower volumes, plus you avoid taking the entrenched crossover players (including Hyundai-Kia) head on. It's why they're starting with the C5 and not the C3.

Even as reviewers, we like driving different kinds of cars. The C5 Aircross is indeed a very unique offering. GTO says that he has conventional tastes & didn't expect much of the C5 Aircross; post an expressway drive, he has fallen in love with the car! If priced well, it can do reasonably well in India. The C5 Aircross was introduced in global markets back in 2017, yet surprisingly, it still feels very contemporary and fresh! When the car goes on sale in March 2021, it will be available in 2 trim levels - Feel and Shine (yeah, lame variant names...we know). Both will come with a 5-seat configuration, a 2.0L diesel engine, 8-speed automatic gearbox and front-wheel drive. Not offering a petrol is a major disadvantage in a market that is moving strongly to the cleaner fuel.

Citroen C5 Aircross Price & Brochure

Citroen is a fresh new brand here and I sure hope they don't go overboard with the pricing. Citroen MUST price the C5 Aircross competitively. If I were the CEO of Citroen India, I would not only give it a killer price (one of the reasons behind the success of new entrants like the Seltos & Hector), I would even be open to selling it at a loss. I'd simply write off the loss as a "marketing expense". No point spending 50 crores on marketing if the price is too high - instead spend 15 crores on marketing & use the 35 crores saved to subsidise the price. In India, word of a well-priced car spreads like wildfire. If Citroen prices it really well, the car might do reasonably well in the segment. If it overprices the car, then it will sink without a trace like say...the Nissan X-Trail, Hyundai Santa Fe and so many other expensive SUVs by non-premium brands.

In news articles, the company has claimed a high level of localisation, but I doubt that for a new premium product in Covid times (when suppliers have had capacity constraints). Keeping all of these points in mind and the fact that it is a truly premium car, we have our finger's crossed for a VFM price.

The C5's official brochure can be downloaded at this link.


Design & Styling

The C5 Aircross is unique when it comes to styling and quite a head-turner. It looks fantastic, and offers something "different" which makes it stand out from today's Japanese, Korean and Indian cars. Even GTO, whose tastes are very traditional, loved the looks and stance of the car. It's a different kick for sure. There is definite French quirkiness, but somehow, we don't have complaints.

On the road, other drivers, bike riders, pedestrians, old and young – all looked eagerly at our test car, with some wanting to know more about this unfamiliar maker. The car gets traditional Citroen badges, LED daytime running lights and tail-lamps, plastic cladding on the sides, silver inserts, fake air vents on the side, 18-inch alloy wheels and roof rails. The vehicle will be available in 4 single-tone body colours and 3 dual-tone shades.

Build Quality, Fit & Finish

The C5 Aircross has a monocoque construction and is built on the PSA Group's EMP2 platform. This platform is used by many other cars & many brands (including Opel and Toyota), but none of them are sold in India. The car is very solidly built. The doors & tail-gate have a good deal of weight to them and there’s not much flex in the body panels. The bonnet is not quite as heavy, but it's far from light or flimsy. Interestingly, the heavy doors feel like that of a tijori (vault) and shut with an incredibly satisfying thud. GTO looked funny, opening & closing the driver's door multiple times in succession just to enjoy its sound & feel. Overall fit & finish are just as you'd expect from a European car. Citroen hasn't shared the kerb weight of the C5 Aircross, but the Euro-spec car with the same engine weighs about the same as the Jeep Compass (~1500 kilo range).

Wheels & Tyres

Both variants gets funky 18” 'swirl' two-tone diamond cut alloy wheels with grippy 235/55 Michelin Primacy 3 tyres, which look proportionate to the metal on top. They fill up the wheel arches well, especially the front which isn't usually seen in India. While ride quality is very good, we wish Citroen had chosen a more sensible R17 size (or R16) as it would offer an even cushier ride + cheaper tyre replacement costs + lower chance of alloy wheel damage (thanks to a taller tyre sidewall) on broken Indian roads.

Ground Clearance

Citroen hasn't revealed the exact ground clearance of the car. The wheel - tyre combination fills up the wheel arches very well. In fact, the gap between the tyres and wheel arches is tight. Citroen does not appear to have significantly raised the car's ground clearance for India, and we guess it didn't need to as the international GC rating is 230 mm! We didn't scrape the car anywhere in our test.

Standard & Extended Warranty

The Citroen C5 Aircross will come with a standard warranty of 3 years / 1,00,000 km. Extended warranty will be available at launch. As is always the case, we strongly recommend extended warranty coverage, especially for European cars.


The C5 Aircross is loaded with safety features such as 3-point seatbelts for all five occupants, 6 airbags, blind spot information system, ESP, ABS, hill-hold, hill descent control, traction control, ISOFIX child seat mounts (including for the front passenger seat), coffee break reminder, underinflation warning, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera and auto door unlock on crash. The C5 Aircross was tested by the Euro NCAP in 2019. The standard car scored 4-stars in the crash tests, while the optional safety pack variant (which includes automatic emergency braking for cyclists) managed to get 5 stars.

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Cabin Design & Quality

Just like on the outside, the interior is also unique in many ways (e.g. split air vents). We love it! Sit inside and you know this is a premium product. The feel & design are appealing. The interior has a dual-tone metropolitan grey theme with silver, glossy black and chrome inserts. Glass area is sufficient. The dark-coloured interior doesn't feel as "airy" as a beige cabin, but it will conceal any signs of soiling better than a lighter theme. Soft-touch material has been used on the dashboard, and part quality feels good for the most part. Some of the plastic parts though - such as the glovebox & parts of the doorpad - feel rudimentary. A very premium-looking gear shifter and race car-like large paddle shifters have been provided. The pedals are finished in aluminium, which give them an upmarket look. Overall, the cabin feels well-built and durable. We didn't find any rough edges in the vehicle. Adding to the premiumness is a very uniquely European smell that you get in the cabin. This cabin aroma emanating from either the cabin materials or climate control makes the C5 Aircross one of the best smelling cars that we have sat in.

Space & Comfort

There is enough space at the front. Cabin width is healthy and so is the headroom. The electrically adjustable driver’s seat is superbly supportive. The seat slides back enough even for tall drivers to feel comfortable (typical of European cars). It comes with lumbar adjustment as well. Sadly, in such a premium car, the passenger seat gets manual adjustment and no lumbar adjust. Worse still, it's recline angle is controlled by a rotary knob like that of a Premier 118NE!! Expect your spouse to scoff at it. The leather & fabric upholstery is of good quality, with just the perfect amount of cushioning and padding. If you have a bad back, you will love this car on long trips. The center console is high and provides a sweet cocooning effect. It incorporates a fixed, long and wide leather-wrapped armrest which is placed at a comfortable height. The doorpads too host a leather-wrapped armrest which is useable.

Driving Position & Ergonomics

Ergonomically, we found the C5 Aircross to be user-friendly for the most part. The steering is good to hold, while the hornpad isn't hard to press. The horn itself is a nice-sounding, typically European dual-tone unit. The steering wheel is adjustable for height and reach, which makes getting the desired driving position easy. On the flip side, you cannot help noticing that this car has been engineered for LHD markets & no one bothered to make it perfect for RHD countries. The engine start/stop button, gear lever and electronic parking brake all have an LHD orientation. Accessing them just feels very unnatural & some drivers will have to stretch out to reach them. The instrument cluster is fully digital and customisable. This is a rare digital instrument cluster that me & GTO both gave a thumbs up too (even liked it more than in the BMWs). The colour combination & design are perfect + classy. The driving position is brilliant with a clean view of the road ahead. Even the dashboard is not set high like we see in many new models. At 5'10", not only could I see over the dash, but also the bonnet. However, rearward visibility is restricted by the small size of the windshield. The driver footwell gets a large & useable dead pedal.

Cabin Storage

The C5 Aircross does well in terms of cabin storage. There is a spot to park your smartphone at the base of the center fascia & a pair of cupholders on the center console. The door pockets are adequately sized, with no partitions or compartments. They can hold a variety of objects including 1L bottles and the knick knacks. The storage bin under the center armrest is massive! It has a section to hold a 1.5L bottle and I even managed to fit a small bag inside with ease. This storage bin is cooled. On the downside, the glovebox is weirdly shaped as the fuse box is located inside it. This restricts its carrying capacity. The glovebox doesn't have a cooling vent, but gets illumination. Coming to the rear, both front seats have seatback pockets and the rear doorpads get pockets that can hold a 1L bottle. Wait till you see the boot.


The C5 Aircross gets a dual-zone climate control unit which is effective. The interior was chilled in seconds, although we would wait to read in the Team-BHP ownership reports how it fares during hot Indian summers. The car gets an onboard Air Quality System which works as an air purifier. As mentioned earlier, there's an amazing premium smell that you get from the climate control and the cabin. @ Smokers, please don't light up in the cabin & ruin this lovely aroma.


Unique & Noteworthy Features

The C5 Aircross comes with most of the necessary features (including a panoramic sunroof and touchscreen head-unit with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), but not connected car tech, wireless charging, ventilated seats, 360-degree camera, subwoofer and other such goodies that we have come to expect in premium cars (thanks to the Korean twins). Standout features include three individual rear seats which can be slid front + back + folded + reclined independent of each other, ISOFIX child seat mounts on the front passenger seat (we do NOT recommend placing a child in the front), handsfree tailgate opening, customisable instrument cluster, double laminated front windows and a windshield that keeps road + wind noise low. The car also gets park assist, Eco and Sport driving modes, 5 selectable terrain modes and blind spot monitoring.

Audio System & Sound Quality

The C5 Aircross gets an 8" capacitive touchscreen head-unit with 6 speakers, voice commands and Android Auto / Apple CarPlay. The size of the touchscreen is adequate and the interface is alright to use, but it does have some quirks. Visibility is good even under direct sunlight. That said, the touch response is not the quickest and the display clarity while using navigation through Google Maps / Android Auto was sad. The doors hold a speaker each, while the front doors also house a tweeter.

The audio system is nice and most owners won't complain. But at the price at which the C5 is expected to sell, we would have expected more speakers, a subwoofer and truly premium sound quality. Just doesn't feel "special" & special is what premium customers pay the extra rupee for. To put things in perspective, the cheaper MG Hector offers vastly superior sound quality. Further, the volume doesn't go as loud as we'd like. Even at max level 30, it's not really loud enough for those BHPians who love listening to blaring music on that late night or early morning joyride. Another weird touch = volume controls on the left side of the steering wheel, while the track change is on the right (most cars have all audio controls on the same side).

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Old 15th February 2021, 09:00   #3
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Rear Passengers

Rear Seat Comfort & Space

Ingress & egress are easy. The cabin rear uniquely features 3 individual seats which can be separately adjusted. The good part of this arrangement is that 3 adults of a moderate weight will sit nicely. But heavier passengers will find each seat to be narrow (guess they are designed for the slim French!). The seat bolstering won't be ideal for heavy folk as it will poke you and interfere with the support. Also, no center armrest due to this unique seat arrangement.

For me & GTO (both fit & slim Mods), the cushioning and padding of the rear seats was just perfect - its neither too soft nor too hard. All 3 seats get comfy adjustable headrests as well. The headroom & legroom are strictly adequate though. We set the front seat for my 5'10" driving position, and GTO (also 5'10") could sit behind. But just that. Two 6-footers will NOT be able to sit one behind the other.

The seatbacks are adjustable, although I don't see you using their adjustability as the backrests are comfortable only when reclined all the way. Back support is excellent. Under-thigh support is sufficient and occupants of the side seats can slide their feet under the front seats. While the floor is almost flat and the center console does not stick out excessively, the middle passenger will be happier placing his feet on either side of it. The rear windows are big and a lot of light comes into the cabin, which will keep occupants from feeling claustrophobic in this dark cabin. Rear occupants do get a/c vents and a USB port for charging.

Boot Space

Luggage space is a cavernous 580 liters & we found the boot to be perfectly shaped. You can easily go for driving holidays with luggage for 5. The C5 Aircross is also well-suited to airport duties for international passengers. Sliding the rear seats forward increases boot space to 720 liters. Further, the rear seat’s backrests are split and fold down almost flat for when you need to haul serious cargo. Folding the backrests down gives the C5 a luggage capacity of 1,630 liters. The boot also gets a couple of shallow storage compartments on the sides and tie-down hooks for a net. A light and 12V power socket have been provided in the boot, while Citroen has given a big 2-piece parcel tray above the boot area. Why 2 piece? The outer half rises with the tailgate, while the inner half stays in place.

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Driving the Citroen C5 Aircross 2.0L Diesel Automatic

DW10FC turbo-diesel engine produces 175 BHP @ 3,750 rpm and 400 Nm @ 2,000 rpm:

The C5 Aircross will be available with just one engine & gearbox option - a 2.0L diesel mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Not offering a petrol puts the brand at a disadvantage as many customers now prefer petrols, although we can tell you this diesel engine is amazingly refined. The unit produces 175 BHP and 400 Nm which are healthy numbers & comparable to the Hyundai Tucson. The diesel engine is very smooth, refined and fast. It is quite tractable, which makes the car city-friendly. Throttle response is good and so is the driveability. The power delivery is linear in nature and passengers will be comfortable as there is no jerkiness or sudden kick from the turbo. The taller seating, good ergonomics, excellent frontal view, light steering and not-so-large footprint make the C5 Aircross stress-free to drive in the city. The turning radius of the car is 5.35 m, which is acceptable for the size.

Because of the engine & suspension, you will really enjoy this car on your highway drives. On the open road, the diesel’s 175 BHP and 400 Nm provide more than enough grunt to make the C5 Aircross a fast performer. The performance is enjoyable & you'll like taking the car to its max revs of ~4,800 rpm. What amazed us is that, even at these rpm levels, the engine sounds good and is beautifully refined. In fact, the refinement levels are so good that your passengers will think there's a petrol engine under the hood. The mid-range is strong and overtaking is a breeze. In terms of cruisability, the C5 Aircross will do 100 km/h & 120 km/h in top gear at a relaxed ~1,300 rpm & 1,800 rpm respectively. Yep, that 8th gear helps cruisability as well as fuel economy on the highway.

The 8-speed torque-converter AT (developed with Aisin) is butter-smooth in its operation, and only the slight change in engine pitch tells you when an upshift happens. When it comes to shifting speed, the transmission is acceptably quick, but not as fast as VAG's DSGs. Kickdown response time is satisfactory & it does not get confused either. The gearbox is in the right gear 99% of the time. A manual mode and racecar-like big paddle shifters have been provided. These are really nice, well-sized paddle shifters which look amazing and are great to use. Interestingly, they are mounted on the steering column and not the steering. Thus, they don't move as you turn the wheel. We prefer this kind of setup as its avoids confusion in fast corners. In summary, we'll say that the automatic gearbox is excellent; owners will be pleased.

The C5 Aircross gets 3 driving modes: Normal, Sport and Eco. Normal mode is the default when you start the car. Sport mode is what you should use when you're driving hard. Eco mode is genuinely useable on a daily basis, because the engine has 175 BHP on tap. We see owners using it in the city as well as for relaxed expressway cruising. Note that the Eco & Sport buttons need to be long-pressed to activate.

In addition to these, the C5 Aircross comes with standard, snow, all-terrain (mud, damp grass, etc.), sand and traction control off modes for tackling various terrains. An idling start/stop system has also been provided, which worked seamlessly on our test car.

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)

Citroen has done a fabulous job with the refinement levels. There is no body shake on start-up or shut down. At idling, you can hear some clatter from the engine, but it's nicely muffled on the inside. Stand outside the car and you'll notice how much of a difference there is in noise levels between out & in! Even at high revvs, the insulation is excellent & most passengers can be fooled into thinking it's a petrol engine. Wind and road noise are also very well controlled, including at triple digit speeds. Part of the reason for the wonderfully controlled NVH level is the use of double-laminated front windows and an acoustic windshield glass. These glasses help a lot in keeping outside noises out. The refinement levels are frankly superior to many Audis, BMWs & Mercedes' we've driven.

Mileage & Fuel Economy

The C5 Aircross has an ARAI rating of 18.6 km/l. 4-cylinder turbo diesels & 8-speed ATs offer good fuel economy in the city & more so on the highway, so owners will be satisfied in this area. What one must remember though is the 52.5-liter fuel tank is smaller than its rivals. The Compass and Tucson get 60 and 62-liter units respectively.

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Ride Comfort

The Citroen C5 Aircross comes with a MacPherson strut suspension with "double progressive hydraulic cushions" at the front and a twist beam axle with single progressive hydraulic cushions at the rear. Despite the 18" rims, the low speed ride is excellent! All the bumps & joints on the road are absorbed very well by the suspension. In fact, it is one of the best riding cars that I have tested in a long time (the last was the Hexa). The French really know how to give you a comfortable ride = the Peugeot 309, Logan, Duster and now, this Citroen. The C5 Aircross offers the kind of ride quality that is simply perfect for Indian roads. Even the expressway behaviour at speed is nice and composed. Your family will be very happy doing long distance journeys in the Citroen. What further aids comfort are the excellent, supportive seats.

Just the earlier week, we tested the Tata Safari (also with 18 inchers) and that isn't even close in terms of ride comfort. However, the pre-facelift Renault Duster (2019 and before) with 16-inch rims is still the benchmark for a magic carpet ride. If we give the pre-facelift Duster a 10 / 10 rating for ride quality, we will give the C5 Aircross an 8.5 / 10 score. We are sure that if Citroen gave the C5 Aircross 16 inch rims & taller tyre sidewalls, it would be a 10 / 10.

Handling & Dynamics

The Citroen has sorted road manners, but it's not sporty, or even as much fun as a Jeep Compass. High speed stability and composure are excellent - just as we would expect of a European car. There is no floatiness or bounciness on the highway. Expressway dips & undulations are dismissed well. You can confidently maintain high speeds over long distances. Very frankly, the high speed behaviour and overall feel of the car is comparable to Audis and Mercedes' costing Rs. 40-50 lakh.

In fast corners and on twisty roads too, the car has good poise. Sweeping curves can be taken at fun speeds and we're damn sure those Michelin tyres are contributing to the sorted dynamics too. Grip levels from the 235 mm Michelin Primacy tyres are impressive & it's nice to know that the ESP is there to help in an extreme situation.

Although, the driving experience is not what we would call sporty. A car like the Compass feels decidedly sharper, more agile & fun to drive on the twisties. It's clear that the Citroen's suspension is tuned more for comfort.


Like most modern cars, the C5 Aircross gets electric power steering. It is one-finger light at parking and slow speeds, which makes it very easy to pilot the car in the city. It weighs up acceptably at high speed. The steering wheel itself has a lovely design. It is small & sporty, but this isn't a steering that is "involving" for an enthusiast.


The C5 Aircross comes with disc brakes at the front & rear. The braking is powerful and the car comes to a halt from triple digit speeds in quick time. The pedal feel is sharp. It'll take a little getting used to when you are new to the car, yet we liked this sharp pedal feel.

Niggles & Problems

As a brand, Citroen isn't particular known for top reliability. Google up and you'll see several reports from UK & Europe that reliability can be patchy. That is unfortunately the case with almost all European brands, be it VW-Skoda at one end of the market or Audi-BMW-Mercedes at the other. Don't expect a "Fortuner" experience & be sure to get that extended warranty.

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Citroen C5 Aircross Exterior Images

Unconventional styling. Me & GTO didn't think too much of it in the pictures, but loved it in person! Smart-looking unique face with bright LED DRLs ensure the C5 Aircross stands out in a crowded Indian marketplace:

Equally smart rear is more conventional. We like the stance, as well as the LED tail-lamp styling, (fake) dual exhausts and the stance from the fat 235 Michelins:

C5 Aircross measures 4,500 mm, 2,099 mm and 1,710 mm in L x W x H respectively, with a wheelbase of 2,730 mm. Side body cladding, large wheels and roof rails enhance its crossover appearance, although we find that fake vent (below the front door) to be ugly & unnecessary. Sticks out like a sore thumb. If we were ever to buy this car, we'd blacken it and make it disappear!

A new brand and a very "different" design that turns heads everywhere. We had cars surrounding us on the expressway to check it out:

It's a good-looking car from every angle IMHO. Despite being 4 years old already, it still manages to look fresh:

LED DRLs sit above the headlamp cluster and double up as turn-indicators. "Feel" variant (what an awful name) gets halogen headlamps:

Shine variant (equally yuck name) gets full LED headlamps:

Radiator grille is split. The slimmer section on top incorporates a chrome Citroen logo that sort of flows into chrome slats, while the wider lower portion features black plastic slats:

Front bumper houses SIX parking sensors and a wide air dam. Notice air intake with a silver border on each side. While the one on the left is functional, the one on the right is sealed:

Halogen foglamps are placed low. They double up as cornering lights:

Healthy amount of underbody cladding provided. While the piece in the front is made of plastic, there is a strong metal plate placed just behind it. Well done Citroen!

Long bonnet features a wide and largely flat central dome, with prominent depressions on both sides. We feel this is over-styling things, and GTO hates them:

Wiper spindles are parked under the bonnet. Wipers have integrated windshield washers placed on them:

Shut lines are tight & uniform in most areas:

They get slightly wider around the bonnet...

...and tailgate:

While cars with single-tone colours get body-coloured ORVMs, those with dual-tone paint schemes get glossy black ORVMs + integrated blinkers:

ORVMs house very useful puddle lamps underneath. Sensors for the blind spot monitoring system are located next to them:

Premium-looking request sensor & a keyhole provided on both front door handles:

Glass area is healthy and lets a good deal of light inside the cabin. Thick C-shaped chrome insert running around the windows looks terrible, especially toward the rear where it is so thick! Looks more like the after-market chrome accessories you see bling-lovers buy as part of a chrome pack:

Subtle crease runs low on the doors. Large black cladding sports a single silver insert. Am sure BHPians will blacken this to get rid of it:

Subtle protrusion on the rear wheel arch cladding acts as a splash guard:

Smart looking 18” 'swirl' two-tone diamond cut alloy wheels shod with grippy 235/55 section Michelin Primacy 3 tyres fill up the wheel arches well. Good to see the C5 gets tyres that a premium car deserves. While ride quality is very good, we wish Citroen had chosen a more sensible R17 size (or R16) as it would offer an even cushier ride + cheaper tyre replacement costs + lower chance of alloy wheel damage (thanks to a taller tyre sidewall) on broken Indian roads:

As is expected in a car of this segment, disc brakes are provided at the rear as well:

Front and rear wheel wells get full plastic cladding. NVH levels are all-round fantastic!

Solid underbody protection has been provided on the sides as well :

Roof rails are finished in glossy black and have silver inserts. Yep, they are functional & not merely for show:

Shiny black roof is ribbed for superior rigidity:

Shine variant gets a panoramic sunroof. Owners & kids will love it, and the feature sure is becoming increasingly common in 20+ lakh rupee cars:

Tailgate gets a subtle and neatly integrated spoiler:

Red windshield washer is properly hidden in the HMSL:

Split tail-lamp clusters consist of rectangular LED pilot lamps (they look eye catching at night). Don't miss the reflectors on the side:

Tailgate has a clean design with none of the excessive cuts & creases we see on so many new cars. Rear windshield's viewable area is on the smaller side:

Dual tone rear bumper houses 6 parking sensors. It has fake vents on either side and fake dual exhausts with silver borders:

Just like the front, foglamps are placed low in the corners of the rear bumper:

Generous protection for the 52.5L fuel tank. Someone at Citroen must've gotten petrified after seeing Indian roads! As fans of touring & haters of unknown highway fuel pumps, we wish it had gotten a 60L tank:

Well-concealed twin exhaust pipes are located on the left. Notice the underbody protection next to them:

Apart from the Cumulus Grey colour of our test car, the C5 Aircross is available in three other colours. A small colour palette, we must say! Here it is in Pearl White. Those red highlights look horrendous - please blacken them if you buy this:

Perla Nera Black. Sharp, no?

Tijuca Blue. The car is available with a black roof in the grey, white and blue shades:

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Citroen C5 Aircross Interior Images

Dashboard design is different and looks like nothing else in the market...we like it. Has character. Grey and black theme makes things "dark", but is easier to maintain than beige:

Windscreen is large, dashboard is low and the seating position is a little tall. This means one can also see the bonnet and get a very clean view of the road:

Small, sporty steering is flat on the top and bottom. Lovely to hold. Buttons to control the volume control and voice commands are on the left spoke, while those to control the telephony features & track change are on the right. Large sports car-like paddle shifters behind:

The steering can be adjusted for height & reach, both:

This is the rare digital instrument cluster that me & GTO both loved. Looks mean & classy. 12.3-inch customisable screen features a digital speedometer in the middle, a revv counter on the left (very hard to get exact rpm level) and a display for the selected gear on the right. It also shows fuel and temperature gauges, and a retro-style sliding speedometer at the top. We love how the display even in D (regular mode) tells you what gear is currently engaged by the AT:

Apart from red, you can choose from blue and brown as the theme colour for the instrument cluster. Red is best IMHO:

Some more options, including a minimal view and a personalised view:

Left dial doubles up as the MID which provides a wide range of information. You can toggle between the tachometer, two trip meters and a DTE:

Light and wiper stalks get chrome inserts. MID functions can be controlled by pressing the outer tip of the wiper stalk:

Control stalk for the cruise control is located below, on the left. It gets a speed limiter function too:

Split air-con vents look very unique & different! They get air volume controllers which can turn the air flow off fully:

Card holder, headlamp leveller and switches for the alarm system motion sensors (our best guess - have asked Citroen) + child lock are located on the right. Cubby hole below:

Bonnet release is inconveniently located at the base of the A-pillar on the left side! Worse still, the door needs to be opened to access it:

Black doorpads have interesting detailing. We don't like the 8 indents and feel they make it look unnecessarily busy. Grey leather-wrapped armrest for the driver:

Console houses the usual set of buttons. All windows get one-touch up/down and anti-pinch functionality:

Door pockets are adequately sized, with no partitions or compartments. They can hold a variety of objects including 1L bottles and the knick knacks:

Running board is not wide, making ingress / egress easier. It gets 'Citroen' branded aluminium scuff plates:

Front seats offer terrific support, with just the perfect amount of cushioning and padding to make them comfortable over long drives. They sport grey grained leather and graphite cloth upholstery. We don't like the lighter shade of grey used as it reminds us of the economy cars of the 1990s (e.g. 800, Santro):

Driver's seat is electrically adjustable. Fore & aft travel range is enough to accommodate tall & short drivers alike, as is usually the case with European cars. In this image, you can also see the prominent partition created by the center console. Almost like a wall!

Height adjustment range is healthy as well. Short or tall, no one will complain:

Driver's seat gets a rotary knob for lumbar adjustment. Your spouse will be mighty angry as the passenger seat doesn't:

Front passenger seat gets manual adjustments, including a 118NE-style rotary knob for recline adjust. Yuck!

A closer look at the grey grained leather and graphite cloth upholstery, with orange contrast stitching:

Uniquely, the front seat gets ISOFIX child seat mounts. Though the front airbag can be deactivated, we don't recommend placing a child in the front seat. In our opinion, the backseat is best for kids & child seats:

Leather-wrapped center armrest is wide enough for both front seat occupants to use comfortably. However, it is not adjustable. Drivers of some heights will find it comfy, some won't:

Seatbelts are height-adjustable. Both front seatbelts get pre-tensioners and force limiters:

Pedals are finished in sporty aluminium with black rubber grips. Dead pedal is very usable. Full carpeting (including the top) makes the footwell look clean & tidy:

ORVM coverage area is fair. They come with blind spot warnings (e.g. if a car is in your blind spot), heating and auto-folding functionality:

This small dot turns orange if the sensors detect a vehicle in the driver's blind spot:

IRVM size is just adequate & it comes with an auto-dimming function:

Rearward view is limited due to the small windshield and thick D-pillars. Better to rely on the reversing camera & parking sensors:

Modern and stylish center fascia. French car designs are usually a hit-or-miss, and we definitely like this one. Gear shifter & e-brake are all LHD oriented. Quite sad no one bothered to convert this to RHD:

Split air-con vents are finished in glossy black with silver surrounds. 8-inch touchscreen head-unit with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay. Used to control many functions including the climate control system. Sound quality is just okay, nothing special for the price. A cheaper car like the MG Hector offers a far superior audio experience:

Touch buttons to quickly access the main categories are located right below:

Park assist has to be operated through the touchscreen. You can choose between parallel parking, entering a bay parking space and exiting a parking slot:

Map display via Android Auto leaves a lot to be desired. The resolution is really sad:

Switches here include central locking & idling start/stop disable. We find the parking lights button to be quite stylish, the way it's on the edge of that panel:

Even the reversing camera display is poor by premium crossover standards. Has many viewing options (including top view):

USB port, 12V charging socket & a storage area on the center console:

Sadly, all these controls - including the engine start button - are for LHD! You can see the Sport / Eco mode & hill descent controls too:

LHD placement aside, the gear lever looks very stylish! Might be a stretch to reach for short drivers. Rotary knob for operating the terrain modes is on the right, with another storage cubicle below:

The C5 Aircross gets an electric parking brake:

Center console houses two cupholders. Storage bin under the center armrest is deep + cooled + can hold a 1.5 liter bottle or a small bag comfortably:

Left side of the dashboard is kept interesting by a soft plastic piece resembling a leather strap (like on handbags) with orange contrast stitching:

Glovebox is weirdly shaped and has poor carrying capacity, due to the fusebox being located in it. Passenger airbag deactivation switch, illumination and pen holders have been provided, but there is no cooling vent:

Roof bezel consists of the cabin lamps, seatbelt warning for all onboard, airbag warning light and Bluetooth mic. Cabin lights include a central unit with another two on the side. No sunroof controls as Citroen's fleet (shockingly) wasn't filled 100% with the top variant only. Considering that 100 web + print + video reports will go live today, that's a marketing failure. Your first public showing and you don't put your best foot forward? We can't remember the last time we reviewed anything other than the topmost variant:

Sunvisors are meaty and good to touch / feel. Both units get ticket holders and vanity mirrors with covers + illumination:

The C5 Aircross gets 6 airbags in total, including side airbags (no seat covers please)…

…and curtain airbags:

Panoramic sunroof of the Shine variant features dual electric motors with an inbuilt auto-reverse safety function:

Things look organised even in places where most owners won’t look, such as below the dashboard in the driver's footwell. A footwell light has been provided:

For all the design flair that the car has, it comes with a simple & boring keyfob. Has a button to start the headlights (follow-me-home function):

Last edited by Aditya : 15th February 2021 at 09:06.
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Old 15th February 2021, 09:00   #8
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Rear doors swing out sufficiently wide and the floor isn't too high off the ground. This makes ingress & egress convenient:

Rear doorpads have the same theme. Rear speakers are housed here:

Door pockets are smaller than the front ones. They can hold a 1-liter bottle:

Headroom and legroom are strictly adequate. GTO (5'10") could sit behind my 5'10" driving position, but that's it. Two 6-footers - one behind the other - is impossible:

3 individual seats is a unique arrangement, we must say! Rear seats are fine width-wise for the slim and fit, but heavier people will find them to be narrow. No center armrest here:

Middle passenger gets a 3-point seatbelt as well:

ISOFIX child seat anchors have been provided on both side seats:

Adjustable headrests are just perfectly positioned and occupants can literally rest their head on them over long journeys. But you'll have to move in a bit as the roofliner is very close on the side (see the gap between my head and the roofliner on the side):

Though the window line rises toward the rear, there is enough light coming in. Notice how large the fixed quarter glasses are:

This is the max that the rear window rolls down to:

Simple looking rear a/c console with a USB port below:

Spring-loaded grab handles have been provided above all passenger doors. Rear units get coat / bag hooks:

Seatbacks are scooped out to liberate more knee room. Both front seats come with deep storage pockets:

Floor hump is not intrusive at all, but the center passenger will be happier placing his feet on either side of it, thanks to the protruding a/c console:

A look at the whitish-grey roofliner. Rear cabin lamp is located right above the rear seats:

Two individual lights here too!

Huge 580-liter boot with just the perfect shape. The opening is wide, which makes it convenient to load luggage:

Large two-piece parcel tray with thick borders. Only the outer half moves up with the tailgate:

You can also remove just half of it:

Not just a string with a loop, but a proper plug has been provided to attach the parcel tray to the tailgate. We like this kind of attention-to-detail:

Removing the parcel tray makes the boot appear much bigger. This should easily swallow your family's vacation bags...and then some:

Boot light & 12V power outlet with a flap:

Narrow, shallow storage cubicles on both sides. Cargo tie-down hooks are provided in the 4 corners of the boot:

Rear seats get fore & aft adjustment. The travel range is limited though, and the difference between the seats in extreme positions is ~3 inches only. Because the legroom is anyway limited, no passenger will agree to taking his / her seat ahead:

Sliding the seats forward increases the cargo capacity to 720 liters:

A visible gap between the seats and boot floor when the seats are slid forward:

Rear seats can be reclined individually. Here's the difference in the angle between the reclined & regular positions. You won't use this adjustment much as the seat is comfortable only when reclined:

Each seatback can be folded down independently, giving you lots of combinations & flexibility. The seat bases are fixed and cannot be tumbled forward though:

Folding the seats down gives you 1,630 liters of cargo capacity:

Sweet! A dedicated slot for the warning triangle on the tailgate:

Handle to pull the tailgate down. The pneumatic struts that hold the tailgate up are strong and it takes some effort to pull it down. Luckily, the Shine variant gets a hands-free electric tailgate:

Use this sturdy handle to lift the boot floor:

Spare is a full-size tyre on an alloy wheel. Just the way we prefer it!

Last edited by Aditya : 15th February 2021 at 09:07.
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Old 15th February 2021, 09:00   #9
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Me & French cars have never seen eye-to-eye (309, Fluence, Koleos) and I wasn't expecting much of the Citroen. Suffice to say, after driving it, the C5 Aircross blew me away. Definitely among the more impressive cars I've test-driven in the last year. It's very sorted & an all-rounder in almost every way. I'd even buy it over the likes of the X1 & Q3 from segments above.

I didn't like the design from the pictures. In person however, the car looked really good.

Hope they price it well. Kia & MG have proven that Indian customers will accept a fresh new brand if the product is good (which the C5 Aircross is) and the price is right. Am concerned about the pricing as the French haven't always understood India well (even in industries other than automobiles). Am sure it's not going to be cheap with that 8-speed AT, blind spot monitoring system, insane levels of insulation etc., but it had better offer good value when launched. VALUE is key.

It was a fun day with this & the Safari:
Citroen C5 Aircross Review-42.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 15th February 2021 at 09:08.
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Old 15th February 2021, 09:42   #10
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Default Re: Citroen C5 Aircross Review

Looks like a worthy entrant in the market. Citroen will have to make no mistakes to get this right. Considering the fact that more than half the country won't be able to pronounce the name right. Right from pricing to sales and service will leave no room for error in this competitive landscape. Kia and MG did manage to break the barrier but I am not too hopeful with the French.
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Old 15th February 2021, 09:44   #11
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Default Re: Citroen C5 Aircross Review

I feel the C5 Aircross is the ideal launch vehicle for Citroën in India; it is not a large volume segment and hence reasonably good numbers will easily get noticed.

I am surprised that they decided to launch with just one diesel engine option, especially considering that turbo-petrols are kind of a norm in this era.
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Old 15th February 2021, 09:45   #12
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Default Re: Citroen C5 Aircross Review

Wow, didnt expect the Citroen review so soon. I guess their Marketing department has had the timelines planned perfectly.

In my honest assessment, this car will not be as successful as the Seltos or Hector in India. Reasons below
  • The car has too many misses. So many basic features missing in this car! Most Indian mass market buyers will buy the Sonet even compared to the Citroen! Feature to feature, the Sonet beats Citroen hands down.
  • Too many Ergonomic quirks, which Indians just hate. Look at the Gear level, would I be using the driving modes more than the gear lever?? If you have sliding rear seats, why the hell would you not provide the slide frame for additional 4 inches!! What harm does it do to the car. THIS IS JUST NOT AN INDIA PRODUCT, BUT A JUGAAD EUROPEAN CAR!
  • French and pricing. The French believe that connoisseurs pay for a quality product, not true in India
  • Competition response. Kia, Hyundai and Tata will respond to the launch and try to kill this product with offers and pricing.

Last edited by Samurai : 16th February 2021 at 15:53. Reason: Citroen, not Citreon
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Old 15th February 2021, 09:50   #13
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Default Re: Citroen C5 Aircross Review

Thanks for a great review and with an eye for all the finer details as always.
Would be great if you could respond to a few queries which I have:

1) In terms of Driving feel, as the C5 is tuned for comfort, does it suffer in high speed driving dynamics - does it roll on corners?

2) Also, in the driving dynamics aspect, if we were to load the C5 fully, how would it affect the ride quality, as those 18 inch tyres in Indian conditions could tend to have a harsh ride?

3) Any idea of the real world mileage that you got in city and Highway conditions?

4) Is this Diesel Auto Combo better than the Jeep Compass (New one?) the Jeep Compass Diesel Auto has been let down by its confused gearbox - is this one better.

5) Coming to boot space, can you fit as much luggage in the C5 Aircross as the Superb? The Aircross has 580-720 L with rear seats up while the Superb has 630L , so ideally you should be able to accommodate as many bags. (However, I feel that may not be the case - the C5 Aircross gets a full size Alloy wheel spare and I am sure that would take away at least 150L of space from the boot and if the boot space quoted is till the Roof headliner, the actual space below parcel shelf will be less.) Please do share the actual boot space measurements if possible!

6) How would you rate the Interior quality and the Audio system quality compared to the Superb?

Thanks !

Last edited by Behemoth : 15th February 2021 at 09:53.
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Old 15th February 2021, 09:58   #14
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Default Re: Citroen C5 Aircross Review

Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
In terms of Driving feel, as the C5 is tuned for comfort, does it suffer in high speed driving dynamics - does it roll on corners?
It's very stable at high speed. Yes, it has more roll in fast corners than a Compass or Seltos, yet nothing alarming. In control. Grip levels solid. Tyres hardly squeal, unless pushed really hard.

Is this Diesel Auto Combo better than the Jeep Compass (New one?) the Jeep Compass Diesel Auto has been let down by its confused gearbox - is this one better.
Far, far superior. Will give the gearbox an 8.5 / 10 rating. No complaints at all.

How would you rate the Interior quality and the Audio system quality compared to the Superb?
Superb's ambience feels more luxurious for sure, although the C5 Aircross is also premium. The Superb is a large family car that can be chauffeur-driven, while the C5 Aircross is one heck of a personal-driven crossover. If they price it well, the car will be one of my top recommendations.
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Old 15th February 2021, 10:01   #15
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Default Re: Citroen C5 Aircross Review

French-looks, performance, NVH levels and ride quality are the talking points. But other bits are just average like the features set, rear-legroom (I don't think anyone is going to slide the rear seats forward considering the already limited legroom), touchscreen (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay don't look great on the 8-inch touchscreen!), camera quality is just about okay (it doesn't have a 360 deg camera so it fudges the surround view based on the rear-view camera). Also the instrument is larger in size than the touchscreen, 12.5 inch vs 8 inch, rarely do we see that! Last but not the least the LHD controls for most things especially the bonnet opening lever, small almost useless glovebox, gearlever and electric parking brake!

Price according to ACI is going to be 30L ex-showroom, after-sales and service network are some of the question marks I have. Citroen needs to seriously price the car rightly and provide excellent support and service otherwise it will be DOA and it will not be the right precedent for the C21 C-SUV!

Last edited by CEF_Beasts : 15th February 2021 at 10:07.
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