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Citroen C5 Aircross review – A lesson in comfort

The new Citroen C5 Aircross is one of the most comfortable cars I’ve ever driven regardless of price bracket.

Recently receiving a mid-life update, the quirky SUV boasts standout styling and a decent feature set, and it’s now offered in two trims starting at R633,900. The top-end Shine model made its way through my hands over the last week.

Suspension smarts

The Citroen’s comfort is not only a result of luxurious, supple leather seats you sink into rather than sit on top of, but also clever proprietary suspension technology coined Progressive Hydraulic Cushions.

According to the manufacturer, these “reduce the irregularities of the road” in a unique way that’s different from the conventional damper setup. Inside the suspension units, one
“hydraulic cushion” is mounted at the top and one at the bottom – one for rebound and the other for compression.

Citroen Progressive Hydraulic Cushions

On bumpier terrains, the cushions slow down the vertical movements of the shocks so that the ride is more gentle – thus providing the manufacturer’s signature “magic carpet” effect.

Another benefit of the in-house suspension is that it works as a hybrid-of-sorts between conventional dampers and air-ride systems, and the body therefore stays level when accelerating and turning while simultaneously absorbing bumps expertly.

Pushing the C5 Aircross along is then a 1.6-litre, turbo-petrol engine paired with a six-speed automatic box with firm, sporty paddles behind the steering wheel.

A power output of 121kW and 240Nm means the Citroen is no slouch, though it’s also not the most efficient of powertrains out there averaging 9.3l/100km after a week of relatively-calm driving with the reserve light illuminated after roughly 500km.

French chic

The Citroen’s chic cabin brings tasteful touches such as multi-tone seat upholstery, matte chrome highlights, indented door panels reminiscent of the 2014 C4 Cactus, an angular multifunction steering wheel, a “floating” 10-inch infotainment unit, and a 12-inch digital driver’s display with five layouts and a futuristic font.

Moreover, controls for in-car features such as dual-zone climate control, navigation, vehicle settings, media, phone calls, and smartphone mirroring are found on an attractive piano black touch-sensitive surface right below the central screen.

Occasionally, these buttons didn’t register the first tap and I had to try again – which is a frequent complaint with touch-sensitive technologies regardless of manufacturer – but they look so good it was easily forgiven.

The sunken gear shifter was also given a distinct Citroen design touch and supplied satisfying clicks when shifting into gear, with this quality feeling extending to the rest of the cabin with each panel giving off a solid thud instead of an empty echo when performing the obligatory knuckle-tap test.

A helping of advanced abilities such as lane-keep assist which, thankfully, can be switched on and off through a physical switch, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring are also equipped to this top-end specification.

Moreover, its electric front seats are incredibly accommodating with ample space, there are plenty of sizeable storage pockets around the passenger compartment, and the boot, too, offers a massive 720-litre capacity. However, this combination resulted in the adjustable rear bench being rather cramped even on its furthest setting.

As expected from a manufacturer of French descent, there were also a few oddities inside the cabin such as the radio controls being split across both sections of the steering wheel instead of only being on one side, and the fact that there’s no button with which you can open the boot from the driver seat, but this is nothing you wouldn’t be able to live with.


The Citroen C5 Aircross is for the buyer who doesn’t want to break the bank but still wants to stand out in style.

Being luxurious, comfortable, and well-equipped, the pretty family SUV is up against daunting contenders in the R600,000-R700,000 price bracket but has enough positive attributes to keep its balance and fight back.

Citroen C5 Aircross

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