CITROEN has done it again.

Last year I was extolling the virtues of its cracking small SUV, the C3 Aircross, which – in a year that produced an abundance of crossovers – was pipped only by Volvo’s XC40 as my best newcomer.

So could the French firm produce an equally impressive but bigger version? The answer is a big fat yes.

Utilising the same platform as the Peugeot 5008, the C5 Aircross not only stands out from the crowd with its bold, funky looks but delivers in key areas.

There’s a couple of diesel engines and two petrol units to choose from, and the build quality is impressive. It is both practical and comfortable and there’s enough tech to keep even the geekiest happy.

Equipped with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the latest eight-inch HD touchscreen as standard, there are in fact 20 safety and driver assistance technologies, including advanced active safety brake, active lane departure warning and active blind spot monitoring, all of which come as standard equipment.

You can also choose to specify the C5 Aircross with grip control and hill descent assist for off-road assurance, and next year it will become the first Citroen model with plug-In hybrid technology.

Available in Feel, Flair and Flair Plus trim levels, the 4.5-metre long C5 Aircross builds on its muscular stance with graphic touches such as the Airbump panels, large wheels, ground clearance of 230mm and roof bars.

I doubt whether there is a more practical rival out there, because of its individually reclining and sliding rear seats, large luggage area and generous leg and head room.

The tested 2.0-litre diesel is perfectly suited to carrying large loads or a clutch of passengers, but I would certainly not rule out the petrols versions - a 128bhp 1.2-litre unit and a 178bhp 1.6 version - or even the 1.5-litre diesel. The excellent choice on offer will make the final decision a difficult one.

I suspect The 1.5-litre diesel will still provide solid performance, but the 2.0-litre version will be the one to go for if pace is on your shopping list and you will regularly be carrying a significant load.

Transmission will also be key in the decision-making process. The lower-power petrol and diesel units come with a choice of either manual or automatic gearboxes, while the bigger units are automatic. I can only speak for the auto transmission, which is prompt and with no noticeable lag.

Inside the cabin, materials are of a high standard, and the so-called Advanced Comfort seats are just that – very comfortable.

Being a Citroen model, there’s a certain requirement for flair, and again this car score highly.

There are 30 exterior colour combinations are available and for extra personalisation, a Perla Nera black roof is available as an option on Flair and Flair Plus models, with four selected body colours.

Personalisation extends into the cabin too, with three ambiances featuring welcoming colours and complementary materials, including luxury leather at the top end.

The ride experience is exemplary for a car in this class due in the main to Citroen’s new hydraulic suspension that surprisingly comes as standard on all versions.

So too are the three individual, sliding, folding and reclining rear seats, and best-in-class boot volume ranging from 580-litres to 720-litres, and up to 1,630-litres with the second row seats folded down.

The practicality continues with a host of storage compartments, and if you choose a Flair Plus you get a panoramic sunroof to bathe the cabin in light. It is a available as an option on Flair versions.

One last word on that range of technologies: these include, depending on trim level, advanced active safety brake, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, a semi-autonomous driving system, traffic sign recognition and speed recommendation, auto beam headlights, collision risk warning, reversing camera, satellite navigation, emergency assist and wireless phone charging.

It really is a heck of a package for a big car with a starting price of under £24,000 that comes with many features as standard.


Citroen C5 Aircross Flair+ BlueHDi 180

Price: £32,730 (range from £23,830)

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharge diesel producing 174hp

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 8.6 seconds; top speed 131mph

Economy: 42.3 - 47.1 mpg

CO2 emissions: 124 – 126 g/km


Performance: ***

Economy: ***

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****