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New Citroen C5 Aircross SUV, mid sized French SUV

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Supersonic
High five for Citroen's new medium SUV

https://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/road-tests/109909709/high-five-for-citroens-new-medium-suv

 

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Citroen has always been more keen on quirky people movers than high-riding SUVs. It's a very Continental thing.

Except that it's becoming less of thing as time goes on, which is why the French brand has finally created something that competes in New Zealand's most popular single new-vehicle segment: medium SUVs. So say "salut/gidday" to the new C5 Aircross, a European Car of the Year nominee that's heading here in September.

Perhaps because it's come so late to the SUV party, Citroen reckons the C5 Aircross answers buyer concerns about the relative lack of comfort and practicality in the latest fashion-led soft-roaders.

It's based on the same front-drive platform as the Peugeot 3008, but it's 55mm longer in the wheelbase (and stretched by the same amount overall).

The idea is that the C5 Aircross is more spacious on the inside than your average medium SUV, more comfortable with Citroen's new-generation Advanced Comfort Seats (15mm surface foam, mattress-like filling and more memory foam underneath) and especially more practical.

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The rear seats are split 40/20/40, all three sections slide individually and the backrests can be adjusted for rake, meaning luggage capacity ranges from a generous 580 litres to a very impressive 720 while maintaining five chairs. Not exactly luxurious for rear occupants in the latter position, but hey - you can do it.

It's all very people-mover-like. You can see what they've done there.

There's just one high-specification model for NZ, powered by a version of Peugeot-Citroen's familiar 1.6-litre turbo-petrol with 132kW/250Nm. That's more grunt than you get in the top-line 3008 petrol models (121kW/240Nm) and it's matched to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The comfort ethos continues in the suspension with Citroen's Progressive Hydraulic Cushion (PHC) dampers, a unique system originally developed for the brand's rally cars that has extra baby dampers at the top and bottom of the main units to smooth out the up-and-down movements, while maintaining good control in the mid-range.

So at a projected price just under $50k, you're potentially getting a larger, more powerful and better equipped SUV (stuff like adaptive cruise will likely be standard on the Kiwi C5 Aircross) for a little less money than the equivalent 3008.

It's expected to account for at least of half of Citroen's Kiwi volume when it comes on stream in September, although with no price-leading model and the fact that it's a new thing for a niche brand, it'll still be a fairly small concern. The local distributor reckons the 3008 will still outsell the C5 Aircross three-to-one.

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At Citroen's international media launch in Morocco.

Marrakech in fact, from the chaos of the city where you're constantly dodging battered Peugeot 504 utes, out into wide open spaces and around the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.

An ambitious drive-location and obviously one chosen to showcase the squishy underpinnings and long cruising legs of the C5 Aircross.

​The so-called "180" (that's horsepower) version of this engine is a gem: perky and punchy, even if it gets a little raucous up top. The eight-speed transmission is seamless and smooth at a cruise, although it can get a bit fidgety when you ask the big questions with the throttle.

The roads in Morocco are famously bad in places: narrow, ruts and plenty of big potholes.

A tough test then. As with the PHC-equipped C4 Cactus we tested in NZ late last year, we found the C5 Aircross chassis had a tendency to occasionally crash into broken tarmac at urban speeds, but cruised serenely on the open road, combining the right degree of classic Citroen "waft" with good body control.

It's a ride-handling combination that suits the medium-SUV C5 Aircross much better than the city-oriented C4 Cactus. And don't mistake comfort-oriented dynamics for a sluggish feel: the C5 Aircross is literally light on its feet, with a kerb weight of just 1430kg.

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We ventured off-tarmac a little, although take note that as with the sister 3008, the C5 Aircross is front-drive only.

Kiwi models will likely ride on 19-inch wheels, but if you're willing to step down to 18s you can have Grip Control as an option - a drive-mode selector that adjusts traction control and transmission calibration for low traction surfaces.

What really stands out?

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Character: a more fluid low-speed ride would be welcome, but overall the Citroen's deliberately non-sporty demeanour and strong visual character are hugely refreshing.

The interior ambience is pretty chill as well - lounge-like in its styling and high in equipment.

The controls are pleasingly simple but there's hi-tech on board, including a neat virtual instrument panel.

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The choice of materials is more in the cheap-and-cheerful mould, though: the textures are interesting but a lot of the plastic is pretty hard. It's nothing like as premium as the touchy feely environment of a 3008.

Why would I buy it?

Because it proves that medium-sized SUVs don't have to be generic boxes. Because it really does blend SUV style with a touch of people-mover practicality.

Or because Citroen is doing some pretty cool stuff these days that's full of character without being self-consciously quirky, and you want in.

 

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Supersonic

Recently previewed in the Singapore Motorshow.

Looks like it is launching here this year.

Anyone booked this car?

 

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Hypersonic

Didn’t notice this car even though I was at the Motorshow.

I might have seen it n thought it was the C4. Citroen models almost all identical n following the S, M, L pattern of Benz, BMW n now even Volvo.

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Hypersonic

The backside light NICE ..... very 3D . 

 

A pair of sexy butt ....  :D

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3rd Gear (edited)

The 1st batch is here and sold out... Manage to test drive it thou. The comfort level is really excellent. The car is quiet on the move too.

Edited by theory_87

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Any owners of the C5 here? How reliable is the car so far?

 

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