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Citroen C5 Aircross — long-term review

Take back control!

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

All UK versions of the Aircross have a digital instrument panel. You can switch this to show 3D navigation, either as a small tile, or covering most of the screen. Or you can call up a big graphic of the road lanes and the car ahead, to reassure you the driver assist is working properly.

But when you don’t want those, it’s hopeless. Opt for the rev counter and it’s just a tiny white-on-grey bar, surrounded by blank space. Why not bigger and round? Y’know, legible? Choose the ‘media’ option while you’re listening via CarPlay and you find it can’t actually show your CarPlay song on the driver’s screen, only on the main central CarPlay screen.

And switching modes on this driver screen – say you call up the nav as a tricky junction approaches – brings up agonisingly slow abstract transition animations. Pretty the first time, irritating for ever after.

Those driver assist systems by the way don’t include full lane centring, just a departure system that nudges the steering (fairly coarsely) when you stray to the line.

It’s got adaptive cruise, which I’ve come to regard as really desirable for running through average-speed-cam sections. But because it’s blessed with a manual transmission, it can’t follow the car in front to a halt, as that would mean a judder and stall. So instead below a certain speed there’s a loud chime, and the dash screen flashes a big warning message: ‘Take Back Control!’

This French car must be a closet Brexiteer.

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