Citroen starts hybrid journey

13 November 2019

CITROEN today opens the order book for a new hybrid version of its C5 Aircross SUV model, with an all-electric range of 30 miles and a price tag of £35,000.

The newcomer is a plug-in hybrid, which the company says is its first step towards the ultimate electrification of its entire range of vehicles within five years.

The French firm is following the general trend towards hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles that will soon sound the death knell for conventional petrol and diesel models.

Although in the case of this new version of the C5 Aircross the emissions-free electric range is just 30 miles, that should be enough to avoid city centre charges.

Indeed, it will be enough to avoid it being banned from some city centres completely, which may be the fate of diesel models in some cities soon.

When the new Citroen arrives here next spring it will have a combination of a petrol engine and battery pack, which can be charged at home or by the roadside.

The 1.6-litre four cylinder petrol engine has a power output of 180bhp, which increases to a total output of 220bhp with the battery output added.

In everyday use the vehicle can offer power courtesy of the engine only, a combination of the engine and batteries, or purely by the batteries themselves, which generate a theoretical range of 30 miles.

The battery pack is a 13.2kWh lithium-ion affair that powers an electric motor on the gearbox to create combined pulling power of 320Nm.

Although economy figures are meaningless for these types of vehicle because they bear no resemblance to real-world achievements, the official figure for this car is a 166mpg.

This would suggest that the vehicle could travel from Newcastle to London on just two gallons of petrol and a fully charged battery, which is obviously fantastical.

There is also an official CO2 figure of just 39g/km although that is arrived at by combining the average of the battery and petrol engine together.

It does not apply to the petrol engine working by itself after 30 miles, and it does not factor in the CO2 created to generate the electricity to charge the batteries.

Citroen says that the hybrid SUV will have a top speed of 85mph purely on battery power and that those batteries can be fully charged in just under two hours.

This is by using the high-capacity 7.4kW wall box charger, so it will take significantly longer when using a conventional home plug.

The new hybrid versions will sell alongside the current two-litre PureTech models, with the engine and electric motor connected to the same eight-speed automatic transmission system.

Citroen says it has taken the opportunity to enhance the ride quality of the vehicle by making changes to the suspension to cope with the UK’s plethora of speed bumps and pot holes.

There is a new multi-link rear axle and what the French firm calls its Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension system to create its renowned `floating on air’ ride for occupants.

Inside there are the same sliding, folding and reclining rear seats but the luggage carrying capacity is reduced by the batteries from 780 litres to 600 litres.

Additional equipment over that of the standard model includes blue exterior trim, a frameless rear view mirror and different graphics for the 12-inch instrument binnacle and eight-inch infotainment screen.

There is a three-year subscription to live traffic updates, Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto.

The C5 Aircross hybrid costs £35,340 in comparison to the flagship Flair Plus petrol version at £31,935.