The vehicle has a fantastic ride quality, impressive refinement,and an easy-to-drive nature
It is commonplace to describe cars as sporty, sleek, muscular, sophisticated and so on, but with Citroen’s C5 Aircross, it is hard to come up with familiar terminology. The SUV does a good job of balancing the ‘odd yet attractive’ look with its multi-layered front replete with split headlamps, unconventional grille, additional air intake slot below the grille, faux inlets and wide-set fog lamps.
The most noticeable features are the lower door mouldings that haveblock styling elements and the neat swirl-like alloy wheels, while the rear has a pair of fake air and exhaust outlets; the tail-lights with 3D LED modules really draw attention. Accentuating the looks on this car are silver accents on the side moulding, front bumper and roof-rails.
The block-like details carry to the inside too, reflecting in the seat upholstery, door pads and the cube-like air-con vents. Even the steering wheel is sort of a ‘squircle’ with the bottom and top edges flattened.
The digital instrumentation is a bit too radical though, and whilst customisable, it lacks the option of conventional looking dials. In ‘Dial’ mode, there is a numeric speed read-out and an additional slide-rule speed display along with a bar graph-like tachometer which isn’t easy to read.
The front seats are broad and incredibly comfortable while the rear seats are cosy enough. There is plenty of head and shoulder room at the rear too, though leg room is only sufficient.
The C5 gets three independent and identical rear seats, each having the ability to slide, recline and fold. While the C5 nails it as a 5-seater, as a 4-seater, the individual seats won’t let occupants spread out and there is no armrest either.
There is also plenty of equipment on offer with a powered driver’s seat, dual-zone auto climate control, an air-quality system, puddle lamps and a touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay being standard.
The steering is light and it is easy to manoeuvre the C5 through city traffic. That said, the engine is not meek — the 177hp 2.0-litre diesel is strong and delivers power in a very linear manner. Part-throttle response is good and putting your foot down at almost any speed rewards you with a nice strong surge ahead.
Amplifying the engine’s strength is the 8-speed gearbox that keeps you in the meat of the powerband. It holds onto gears for longer though it will automatically upshift around 4,000rpm even if you are in full manual mode.
Apart from some sharp edges that catch the suspension out, the C5 sails over bad roads and delivers a really nice and pliant ride. The C5’s dampers use additional springs and hydraulic bump stops to progressively slow down the damper stroke, giving the car a wafting-on-air kind of feel.
While tyre grip is good, the softer springs mean there is body roll and the nose tends to bob under aggressive braking. The C5 is unlikely to be cheap with company sources pegging the entry variant to be priced around ₹30 lakh.
The car looks chic, and it nails its stated mission of comfort with fantastic ride quality, impressive refinement, and an easy-to-drive nature.
So, while it maybe typically French, its chosen focus points are Indian requirements, and that is what Citroen will be counting on, to open a strong innings in India.