French Flavour SUV Citroen C5 Aircross
Every aspect has a French flavour in it
The sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment in India is getting stronger since few years. The customers are attracted to the SUV segment because of the high ground clearance, aggressive styling and powerful engine. The sales of SUV has more than doubled over the last five years. Considering all these points all the OEMs in India have started to bring SUVs from their table. India, houses all the global OEMs but one name was missing, which was Citroen. Now the brand has entered the Indian market with its globally successful product the C5 Aircross SUV. Citroen has redefined the name SUV to Smooth Unique Vehicle. Why is it so?
Most of the SUVs try to be stylish and sporty, usually resulting in large wheels and a muscular look, but the C5 Aircross has got plenty of styles and has put comfort first, which is exactly how it should be with an SUV. By looking at the car, one can easily say it was developed in France because of some neat design features, such as 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, the intricate 3D brake lights and contrasting colour accents dotted around the body, the Citroen C5 Aircross looks considerably more interesting than its main alternatives the Jeep Compass, Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace etc.
The styling of C5 Aircross is distinctive and we could see the French marque evidently. Design elements like the ‘Airbump’ protective panels at the bottom of the doors and around the wheel arches, dummy oblong intakes in the lower bumper and side panels, window lines accentuated with a C-shaped chrome finish and blackened pillars that give a floating roof effect differentiates it from its competitors.
Every aspect has a French flavour in it. The interior of the C5 looks premium. The dashboard follows the contours of the air vents is a nice touch with enough feel-good, soft-touch plastics, brushed chrome finishes and slick operating switchgear. In terms of equipment, the C5 Aircross has a 12.3-inch digital cockpit with a digital instrument cluster with modern and retro luck. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment looks small and at the same time bit difficult to navigate.
The C5 Aircross is available only as a five-seater and, with no option of four-wheel drive, it doesn’t really do the ruff and tumble stuff. Instead, it has focused on ride comfort, seat comfort, driving comfort, noise insulation, the C5 takes the stress out of driving. Therefore comfort is the key element of C5 Aircross. The comfort of the car is determined by key elements like comfortable seats, ride quality by having good suspension, tyres and nicely insulated cabin. Most of the OEMs try to concentrate on any one of the elements, but Citroen has ticked all the boxes.
The rear passengers too get utmost comfort with three individual seats. This lets you move the seats forwards or backwards or recline them independently.
The seats of the car make you feel like sitting on a sofa due to its high-density foam. The seats offer you great support and keep you comfortable for long hours behind the wheel. It also looks premium due to its unique colour selection of grey grained leather and graphite cloth. The rear passengers also get the utmost comfort with three individual seats which lets you move the seats forwards or backwards or recline them independently. There’s enough knee space for the rear passengers, albeit perhaps with tall people who are above 5.8 inches, their knees lightly brushing the backs of the front seats.
The C5 Aircross is best on urban roads. Like other SUVs, C5 also has a MacPherson-strut suspension setup at the front axle, with a torsion beam attached via trailing arms at the back. So what differentiates C5 from its competitors? Along with the regular suspension unit, it gets a ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushions'. The new suspension unit helps in avoiding the jerky blow to the body when the shock absorber rebounds. The hydraulic stops, absorb the shock and help to slow down the action of the shock absorber and make it return to its position in a progressive manner. This innovative technology makes C5 Aircross a more comfortable car. With this the C5 iron out the low-speed firmness to deliver a nice plush ride irrespective of speed. At the same time due to its soft suspension, it is not that much planted and there was enough body roll. But the overall ride comfort is clearly top class. Always there is a trade-off, either you get comfort or fun. Citroen has chosen to provide ample comforts since its being the biggest USP of the C5 Aircross.
The 8-speed automatic reacts promptly when you ask for a burst of acceleration on the move and changes smoothly through its gears.
While the C5 Aircross is comfortable on the highway, it does a pretty good job manoeuvring around the city, too. It also adds more comforts and makes a peaceful long-distance cruiser, stifling wind and road noise. Thanks to the double laminated front windows with an insulating layer and acoustic windshield along with heavy soundproofing for the engine compartment.
The C5 is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine making 177PS and 400Nm and mated to an 8-speed Aisin automatic transmission. The power and torque figures are very strong for an SUV of this size. It also comes with multiple drive modes namely Normal, Eco and Sport mode. The 8-speed automatic reacts promptly when you ask for a burst of acceleration on the move and changes smoothly through its gears. You can also take the control of the gearbox through manual paddle-shifters which are mounted on the steering column.
With an overall 33 litres of storage space inside the cabin for holding a lot of water bottles, the boot space is also a best in class with 580 litres expanding to 720 litres with the rear seats pushed forward and opening up to 1630 litres with the seats folded away. Since the floor of the boot is low, it's very easy to feed bulky items in through the large boot aperture and get them back out again.
In spite of having more SUVs on the road, none of them are quite as relaxed on the move as the Citroen C5 Aircross and arguably as good looking, making it a pretty unique proposition. If you’re looking for a comfortable family travel, C5 Aircross should definitely be on your parking slot.
_ Bhargav Sridharan