Boasting a revised exterior, upgraded interior, and sublime ride quality, the fresh-faced Citroën C5 Aircross has landed in SA. We take it for a drive…

I’ve always had a love for French motor vehicles. Although not a Citroën, my first car was of Parisian descent. However, bar from what the fanatics might think, in a dyed-in-the-wool market such as ours, French cars seem underrated, unfortunately, because there have been some lovely cars to come from France, from hot hatches to, yes, crossovers. Regarding the latter, the fresh-faced Citroën C5 Aircross is no exception. It’s a commendable midsize crossover. 

C5 Aircross

From the outside, the revised, now boxier design cues lend the C5 Aircross a more SUV-like look. Chrome detailing, which can arguably be mistaken for LED light strips, extends from Citroën’s chevron logo to where the LED daytime-running lights are located in the LED headlamp clusters. The front bumper looks more pronounced than before. The range-topping Shine model we sampled also features some grey detailing on the left- and right-hand side intakes. 

Viewed from the side, the C5 Aircross is adorned with ‘Airbumps’ on the lower for and aft doors, with the front item featuring a grey accent. The option of specifying a different, more vibrant hue would have been welcomed to give it a pop of colour. The Shine derivative also has roof rails to add to its SUV persona. The 18-inch alloy wheels look striking. 

C5 Aircross

The Shine variant has a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto screen mirroring. Tunes are relayed to the eardrums via a six-speaker sound system. The 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle looks crisp. Further features include park distance control and, in the top-tier model, a 180-degree camera system. 

However, the standout element of the package is the ride quality. Like we’ve experienced in other products from the French firm — the C3 and its Aircross sibling — the updated C5 Aircross retains its superb ride quality. It’s arguably one of the most comfortable crossovers in our market. The suspension is softly sprung, soaking up road scars with flair. However, Citroën’s midsize crossover impressed not only on the tarmac. The launch route also comprised a stretch of (well-kempt) gravel. Although a C5 Aircross will seldom traverse these roads, driving here unearthed just how well-tuned the suspension set-up is. The tall ground clearance was also welcomed here (Citroën claims that C5 Aircross rides 230 mm from the ground). The steering felt light, further enhancing comfort and ease of manoeuvrability. In addition, ride comfort is enhanced thanks to the well-bolstered seats. Citroën says the refreshed model’s pews have received some added foam. 

The 121 kW 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine felt punchy, sufficiently so, although we would have wanted a touch more torque. However, the available torque — 240 Nm — comes in as soon as 1 400 r/min. One transmission is available, a six-speed automatic. The self-shifter goes about its way in a fuss-free fashion around town. However, we couldn’t help but wonder whether an eight-speeder (coupled with the 1.2-litre turbo-triple of the Opel Mokka (our launch review here); remember, Opel, like Citroën, falls under Stellantis) would enhance the overall drive more as the transmission arguably held on to a lower gear for longer than necessary when stomping on the throttle when an overtaking manoeuvre is required. 

Citroën claims an average fuel consumption of 7.9 L/100 km, allowing an average fuel range of 671 km on a single (53-litre) tank. However, we beat the claimed figure by 0.2 L/100 km on the launch route. 

At a glance

Citroën C5 Aircross 1.6T Shine AT

The refreshed Citroën C5 Aircross impressed us during our drive. Highlights of the package include the revised exterior styling cues, upgraded interior and, most notably, the sublime ride quality. It majors in comfort. In addition to the five-year/100 000 km warranty, the C5 Aircross ships with a maintenance plan of similar duration and distance. 

  • Price – R683 900
  • Engine – 1.6 L, 4-cyl, turbopetrol
  • Transmission – AT
  • Driven wheels: F
  • Power – 121 kW @ 6 000 r/min
  • Torque – 240 Nm @ 1 400 r/min
  • 0-100 km/h – 10.5 seconds
  • Top speed – 189 km/h
  • Fuel consumption – 7.9 L/100 km
  • CO2179 g/km