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Citroen C5 Aircross — long-term review

Are crossovers better when they're not sporty?

Specification:
Citroen C5 Aircross
Engine:
1199cc, 3cyl turbo petrol, FWD, 129bhp, 170lb ft
Claimed MPG:
44.6mpg WLTP, 121g/km CO2
Performance:
0–62mph in 10.5secs, 117mph
Weight:
1615kg
Price:
£28,330/£29,400 as tested

The top spec of a range isn’t always the best. In fact with the C5 Aircross, I’ve got a lot of affection for the bottom one, and that’s what I’m driving for the coming months. It’s got the sweet little three-cylinder turbo engine and – hurrah – a manual gearbox. The Aircross doesn’t have the sort of chassis that demands power. And I don’t expect to use it in a way that demands torque. It’s not like I’ll be towing a caravan up an Alp.

So the base-model mechanical spec is in place. But then it’s been tripped up by the trim. It’s the uppermost Flair Plus.

That brings with it one of my pet peeves: a motorised tailgate. Always prefer a DIY door folks. Also the Flair Plus has a panorama glass roof. I’ve never liked them, because they add weight, and they reflect noise back into the cabin where a proper headlining would absorb it. Plus a lorry-driver friend said truckers all look down through the glass and watch car drivers scratching their goolies. Not that I do, you understand.

The Flair Plus also has 19-inch rims, which I feared might imperil the ride, but don’t seem to, so I’ll let them pass. My phone’s too old to use the wireless charging plate, but those of you who are upgraders will be glad of it.

So the only real benefit, for me personally, of the £2,400 upgrade from Flair to Flair Plus are some minor cosmetics, and the adaptive cruise control which is useful for average-speed-cam motorway sections.

To its OTR price this actual example adds £720 in pearly white paint and £250 for the black roof and £100 for the black paint on the wheels. It’s a good visual combination, but £1070’s worth? Blue with grey wheels is fine and costs half that.

Anyway, I’m getting on well with it so far. The whole rig encourages a zen style of driving. The ride and seats really are a step ahead in comfort, it’s pretty quiet, and the view out helps you anticipate.

The huge boot’s already been tested by a recycling run with some scrap iron. My kid loves the individual back seats and, her Dad’s reservations notwithstanding, the glass roof too.

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