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Car Review

Citroen C5 Aircross review

£23,360 - £38,310
710
Published: 22 Mar 2024
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

As promised, it's soft riding. Wonderfully so on most roads. Much of the time it wafts along as if borne on air, especially on medium-smooth surfaces. It's an odd mix, though, because sharp ruts and potholes will sometimes send a clang into the body, and there's a bit of steering column quiver too.

Some rivals – notably Citroen’s German counterparts – have stiffer steering and therefore feel heavier, while their suspensions tend to thud rather than clang. Some people prefer that German solidity, others the French levity.

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So how does it steer? 

If you pour it through bends progressively, the C5 Aircross is accurate and can make brisk progress. Roll is certainly a thing, but if you're expecting the unsteadiness of a newborn lamb, you'll be surprised at how resolute it is.

At least the featheriness of the steering matches the pedals: it's a car you caress rather than wrestle.

It's quiet, too. At a cruise that's down to well-suppressed tyre noise, and on acceleration the engines keep their peace, though the combustion engines both manage 10.5 seconds or so from 0–62mph; the mild hybrid manages the same feat in 10.2s; the PHEV shuffles that down to 8.7s.

How do the powertrains compare?

The diesel is reasonably smooth for its kind. The petrol manual is a little noisy but characterful.

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The PHEV gets a 13.2kWh battery with a claimed electric range of around 34 miles. You'll get a little less than 30 miles in mixed driving, and in our experience around 47mpg in the real world. In EV mode this C5 Aircross is very quiet and smooth, though you may notice a few pulses in the power delivery as the eight-speed auto sorts itself out. Still, unless you mash the accelerator suddenly the engine kicking in is barely noticeable, and impressively quiet too.

The mild-hybrid would be our choice. It's nice and quiet in town when the engine shuts down in stationary traffic. It's much smoother in coming to rest and moving away than its eight-speed predecessor was, and the gears are better spaced to work with the engine-motor combo.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

1.6 Plug-in Hybrid E-series 5dr e-EAT8
  • 0-628.7s
  • CO2
  • BHP221.3
  • MPG
  • Price£38,310

the cheapest

1.2 PureTech Plus 5dr
  • 0-62
  • CO2
  • BHP128.7
  • MPG
  • Price£23,360

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