SOME cars have comfortable seats. Others have comfortable suspension. The C5 Aircross, Citroen’s new foray into the world of the family crossover (yes, another niche we probably didn’t see coming) has both.
Citroen, let’s not forget, is known for bolting on some pretty revolutionary suspension technology. It’s been doing it for years and the latest car to break from a conventional setup is the Aircross.
The system is pretty complicated in how it does things, but the result is quite remarkable. To put it as simply as possible, it uses something called “Progressive Hydraulic Cushions” to, well, cushion either end of the suspension travel. It’s designed to avoid sudden jolts and the effect, Citroen says, is the feeling of “flying” over the road. They’re not far wrong, actually. It’s very impressive.
They’ve also gone to town on the seats. Using a combination of high-density foam topped with thick, textured foam on the surface, your posterior will thank you for plonking it in an Aircross.
And then there’s extra sound-deadening with insulated windows. It all adds up to a very relaxing ride.
I know what you’re thinking. This clever suspension sounds like it’s going to handle like a dog’s dinner on the road. Actually, it’s pretty good. Obviously it’s no sports car, but firm, sporty rides seem to characterise this segment so a soft ride is a refreshing change. Not only that, but it doesn’t roll like you’d expect it to. That clever suspension keeps it all in check very well. It’ll pitch a bit under breaking, but that’s not the sort of thing that’ll make your occupants sick. All in all it sets out to do what it promises. It’s an extremely comfortable car.
I wouldn’t say it’s a looker though. I guess you’d call it stylish. A break from the norm, if you’re being particularly kind, but the high front-end and a few fussy details mean it takes time to get to like it.
The interior’s nice though. Those comfy seats give it an air of luxury, which is almost at odds with a sort of utilitarian look to the dashboard. This being a car that’s capable of riding over rough terrain, Citroen’s gone with a macho, angular dash, mixed up with some quality materials and a few modern touches. I quite like it.
There’s decent legroom in the back, and the seats move around individually, or fold down flat for a gaping boot, and the boot, incidentally, gives a minimum of 580 litres, which is pretty impressive.
If I had to grumble, I’d leap on my usual bandwagon about too many functions being buried in menus in the infotainment system. And, although my test model came with a wireless charging pad, I couldn’t get my large smartphone to sit on the right spot. It just slid away from the wireless bit.
The range of engines is pretty much standard Peugeot/Citroen fare and they’re all pretty good. CO2 numbers start at under 110g/km for the small diesel in manual or auto, rising to a respectable 129g/km for the 180bhp petrol auto. We’re also told a plug-in hybrid is on the way, which should be good.
Overall, the C5 Aircross is hard to dislike. It feels laid-back but ready for the rigours of family life. It’s capable, practical and stylish – if not necessarily attractive. There’s plenty of cars to choose from in this segment, but Citroen’s just made your choice quite a bit harder.