Citroen C5 Aircross

Citroen’s SUV moves upmarket

09 May 2018

CITROEN is to introduce a new Sport Utility Vehicle to rival the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail models, with first deliveries due here before the end of the year.

Prices are likely to start at about £23,000 for the new five-seat SUV, which will eventually become Citroen’s first-ever plug-in hybrid, probably towards the end of next year.

In the fastest-growing market, which is already awash with similar SUV and crossover models, the C5 Aircross’s unique selling point will be its supreme comfort, according to Citroen.

This will be achieved by means of its floating-on-air hydro-pneumatic suspension system that is now referred to as Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension.

Developed for Citroen’s rally cars, it is a very sophisticated system that harks back to the days of the Citroen DS 21 range, when occupants called it a ``magic carpet ride.’’

Taking things a stage further, the newcomer will also get ``advanced comfort upholstery,’’ which basically means the seats get more padding.

The comfort theme continues with the centre seat in the rear row, which is the same width as the outer pair so that the middle occupant gets the same space.

There is extensive soundproofing and the front windows are double thickness to minimise noise intrusion, whilst the air purification system uses carbon filters for ultimate filtration.

The vehicle is built on the same platform as the PSA Group’s Peugeot 3008 and DS 7 Crossback models, giving it a length of 4.5 metres and a width of 1.84 metres with a generous 2.73 metre wheelbase.

This makes it one of the roomiest mid-range SUVs, with the added benefit of a whopping 1630-litre luggage capacity with the rear seats down.

In a bid to appeal to younger buyers there are more than half a dozen colour choices for the outside, plus five interior trim and equipment options.

Alloy wheels ranging in size from 17 to 19 inches are on offer, plus three contrasting colour packs for parts of the bodywork, such as the bumper and roof bars.

Interior kit includes an eight-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and Citroen Connect sat-nav plus wireless phone charging.

There is a vehicle-surround camera, a forward camera built into the rear-view mirror and a so-called Highway Driver Assist mode with adaptive cruise control and active lane departure warning for semi-autonomous operation.

Initially there will be a 130bhp petrol engine with a six-speed manual gearbox and a 180bhp alternative with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Diesel offerings will be Citroen’s BlueHDi 130 with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions plus a BlueHDI 180 with automatic transmission only.

The company says that although the standard vehicle will be two wheel drive, next year’s hybrid will get drive to all four wheels.

Prices have yet to be announced, but Peugeot’s 3008 sister model currently starts from £22,000.