It’s rare for me to like a car less as time goes on, because I tend to warm to pretty much anything the more miles I do. So the fact that I rather liked our C5 Aircross from the outset was very promising, and sure enough I’m still really enjoying running it. One of the reasons why I like it so much is because it’s better to drive than many SUVs – not that it can overshadow the true greats such as the BMW X3 or Porsche Macan of course, so don’t go getting any ideas…
Log on to the official Citroën website and on the C5 Aircross pages you’ll see lots of references to comfort; it’s the same in the brochure. Citroën makes some bold statements in the latter, such as “the flying carpet effect’ and “bumps are history”, and to a point it’s marketing hype. But not totally, as the C5’s ride is really pretty decent, despite the fitment of 19-inch wheels on our test car. Anyone can fit soft suspension to their SUV and claim it’s a class leader in terms of comfort – the key is to also minimise roll in the bends, and again Citroën has done an impressive job here, even if the steering is on the inert side. But this is no one-trick pony, as the rest of the dynamic package is impressive too. It’s unlikely that any Porsche Cayman or Lotus Elise drivers will be chopping in their steeds for a C5 Aircross, but overall the Citroën acquits itself admirably.
As noted in the previous report, the 1.5-litre engine is punchy, despite being an entry-level unit; it’s only a little raucous under acceleration, and it’s all but silent even when cruising at high speeds. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts gears pretty much imperceptibly, but a manual mode with paddle shifts lets the driver take control. It’s a system that works very well, although it doesn’t have the speed of a dual-clutch transmission, as the EAT8 gearbox has a torque converter, made by Japanese company Aisin.
Other things that I’m liking about the Citroën’s driving experience is the lack of over-servoed brakes – something that seems to be becoming ever more prevalent. One aspect that has been particularly annoying, though, is the intrusive lane departure warning system, which I was previously unable to turn off thanks to the switch falling inside the dashboard. My local Citroën dealer took just 15 minutes to fix it, so now I can turn off the system as soon as I get in and start the car. And I make sure that I always do, because as with too many driver aids these days, this piece of technology can be a little over-sensitive and really annoying…
Date arrived 21st October 2018
Fuel economy 48.0-56.3mpg (WLTP combined) 43.9mpg (on test)
Lots of cars now come with a panoramic roof, but the Aircross is unusual in that the front portion slides back over the rear section, to let the air in.
This plastic moulding came fitted between the boot and the rear seats. It acts as a divider, but having taken it out to fold the seats, we can’t get it back in.