Citroen C5 Aircross
evo India|March 2021
Citroen kicks off its Indian innings with its Compass and Tucson rival
Sirish Chandran
COMFORT. IF THERE IS ONE THING Citroen wants to be known for apart from being obviously French, it is for delivering comfort. All their communication, everything revolves around comfort and after a day with the Citroen C5 Aircross (Aircross is Citroenspeak for SUV), I can tell you that comfort isn’t mere marketing talk. This is Citroen’s global flagship, their brand shaper before the mass-market cars roll out next year and it does an absolutely wonderful job of delivering on comfort. Ride comfort, seat comfort, driving comfort, noise insulation, the C5 takes the stress out of driving. Even the annoying speed warning has a comfortable tone to it. This test, then, is about the Thrill of Chilling.

Let’s start with the styling which is quite the departure from massive grilles and macho posturing that’s the norm with SUVs. Now I wouldn’t go so far as to call the C5 Aircross pretty — nobody seems to want pretty cars anymore — but I will say that the softcurves, well-proportioned stance, and right amount of detailing comes as a breath of fresh air. Citroen’s double chevrons extend into the full width of the nose, splitting the headlights with a narrow LED strip sitting atop the main beam, halogen on the Feel spec we are testing here, LED on the Shine variant. The latter also gets a panoramic sunroof and remote tailgate while both variants get 3D-effect LED taillamps, 18-inch wheels that fill out the wheel arches and neat touches like the red-ringed anodised sections that emphasise the air dam. You will also notice red accents on the side skirts, Citroen calls them Airbumps, and there are red accents on the roof rails that contrast well with the blacked-out roof.

The C5 is 4500mm long, 2099mm wide and 1710mm high, all of which betters the Hyundai Tucson and Honda CR-V (which is no longer on sale) while the Jeep Compass is even smaller. The VW Tiguan, now only available in the Allspace 7-seater variant, is longer but narrower. All of which bodes well for interior space.

Advanced Comfort Seats

This is where the comfort-talk starts, with the wide, cushy and satisfyingly plush front seats. No need to mince any words here, these are the best seats in this class and, while plush, are also supportive enough that you can spend the entire day in them in, err, comfort.

The rear too gets Advanced Comfort seats which comprise three equally-wide sections that individually slide, recline and fold. Allied to the flat floor this gives you a thoroughly usable, and comfortable, middle seat, not the narrow hump that its rivals deliver — and that makes the C5 a proper 5-seater. It’s a brilliant idea if you regularly have a full car load of people, even better if you cart around kids and will be spared the screams of the youngest one usually stuck in the middle.

In reality though how many times have you seen five or seven people squeezed into a car? And especially something like the C5 will usually have the owner sitting in the back while being chauffeured to work. With 60:40 split seats the extreme two seats are wider than the apologetic hump in the centre, which means you can spread out in the back. In the C5 though you are confined to your designated seat, pushed into the extremity with no elbow room against the door pad, no centre armrest and no way to spread out as the three seats are individually bolstered. You get best-in-class shoulder room but with only one person in the back, all that space is gone to waste with no bums on the other seats. As for rear knee room, it is good enough but not best in class with the Tiguan Allspace being considerably more spacious and even the Tucson edges it out. On boot space though, with 580 litres expanding to 720 litres with the rear seats pushed forward and opening up to 1630 litres with the seats folded away, the C5 Aircross is best in class.

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