New restyled Citroën C5 Aircross test drive

The second most popular family SUV behind its cousin, the unbeatable Peugeot 3008, the C5 Aircross is undergoing its first – major – mid-career restyling.

A long-time fan of a soft and playful design, initiated in 2014 by the first C4 Cactus and followed by the C3, Citroën has since worked to virilize the lines of its models. After the restyled C3 Aircross, it’s the turn of the eponymous C5 to offer a more serious look, taking up the stylistic codes of the C4 and C5X. Farewell to the jovial and chubby look of the old C5 Aircross which made it look like a big C3. Even a toy Playmobil. This restyled version features a front panel arranged in strata. The double-chevron is now isolated in the center of the grille and continues in subtle little piano touches to the new optics which adopt the same elongated Y light signature as the C4 and C5X. Which is reminiscent of that of… Dacia. On the floor below, the generous shield is underlined by new vertical aerodynamic scoops replacing the previous ones, rounder and more massive, which were only fictitious. Finally, in the lower part, a new blade / protective shoe – black or shiny aluminum – underlines the whole, framed by small fog lamps. Enough to give it more seriousness and elegance. No change to the profile, apart from lacquered black mirror caps and new 18” diamond-cut aluminum rims. We find the famous Airbumps of protection and a generous ground clearance of 23 cm which allows to venture, on occasion, in a steep path. At the rear, while the shape of the lights remains unchanged, they adopt a new three-dimensional signature, in relief, reminiscent of that of the front. A deeper restyling than it seems. And very successful.

Same observation in the passenger compartment where if they are modest the changes modify the atmosphere in a rather marked way. The essential concerns the central part of the dashboard with the adoption ofa redesigned touch screen, both slightly larger (10 inches instead of 8) and located higher and further forward, to make it easier to use and read. Too bad that its interface, not always very responsive and offering a fairly arbitrary image definition, remains unchanged. Tactile piano keys offer shortcuts, such as accessing air conditioning controls. The four vertical aerators that surrounded it are supplanted by two more elegant horizontal ones. The center console is also completely redesigned and notably adopts an automatic gearbox control. by slider and an enlarged storage compartment. It can incorporate an inductive phone charger, shabbily charged as an option on our superior Shine finish. Other minor changes include a new dashboard upholstery, new ambiences and new fabrics, including one with a “leather effect”. As for the combined digital counters, which can be personalized as desired, it is unchanged, still offering excellent readability.

We enjoy a very good seating comfort

Perfectly installed at the wheel, with a dominant driving position just what is needed, and very good visibility, we enjoy a very good seating comfort thanks to the famous seats Advanced Comfort dear to Citroën, which are characterized by their high-density foam equipped with a reception layer whose thickness has been increased to 15 mm. Their comfort has also been enhanced by a new lumbar support design, electrically adjustable on our test model. Which also enjoyed a massage which we would have preferred ventilation. Matter of taste! At the rear, there are as before three individual seats, sliding and folding, which allow you to modulate the volume of the boot from 580 to 720 litres, the best value in the category.. And up to 1,630 liters with seats folded down. Remains a decent legroom, but not exceptional, despite a wheelbase of 2.73 m.

Light and precise, the steering contributes to the smooth driving of this family SUV. A smoothness that matches that of the small entry-level 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine, whose low-pitched torque – 230 Nm at 1,750 rpm – here, well supported by the Eat8 automatic transmission, partly compensates for the modest power (131 hp). If this crew fits perfectly with the conduct of a responsible father, you should not ask too much of it. On the delicious, steep and winding little roads of the Nice hinterland, which we like to enjoy at a more sustained pace, the little 3-cylinder – which here has more than 1,400 kg to tow – quickly loses its luster and then inopportunely solicits the automatic gearbox which sometimes hesitates between two gears, causing small jerks, even when using the steering wheel paddles. And consumption is soaring. The users of this block themselves report an average which quickly exceeded 10 liters per 100 km… Not enough to panic the chassis which, although less incisive than that of the Peugeot 3008, and equipped with infinitely more flexible damping, nevertheless offers great rigor while revealing itself as reassuring.. As we were able to see last winter on snow and ice, shod with ad hoc envelopes. Still, fans of more capped engines will have no other choice than that of the 225 hp rechargeable hybrid since the abandonment of the PureTech 180 hp version. A 4-cylinder that we find precisely within the kinematic chain of this hybrid.

In addition to a very smooth ride and soft seats, which are particularly restful on long journeys, comfort is ensured by the famous shock absorbers with progressive hydraulic double stops which swallow with panache small and larger unevenness of the coating, including our dear speed bumps which have become as effective and numerous as speed cameras. Without equaling the comfort of the illustrious hydropneumatic suspension (see our editorial test). Added to this is very careful soundproofing which benefits from acoustic side glazing. In terms of equipment, this Shine finish benefits from the full safety range with emergency braking, blind spot detection, drowsiness and collision alerts, panel reading, automatic headlights or level 2 autonomous driving with adaptive cruise control, lane keeping and stop & go function.
More elegant and more “statutory”, this restyled C5 Aircross seems well equipped to tackle its second part of its career, retaining its main qualities of smooth driving and comfort. Remains a very limited mechanical choice.


Test Citroën C5 Aircross PureTech 130 Eat8
Version tested: €36,950 (Shine)
From: €27,850/€33,350 (bvm/bva)
Average manufacturer/average consumption of the test (l/100km): 6.5-6.7/10.5
CO2/bonus-malus : 148-151/818-1 074 €
Fiscal horsepower: 7 HP
Country of manufacture: France

Range offered
: 130 hp, from €27,850 to €38,400
Diesel : 130 hp, from €30,600 to €40,200
Hybrid : 225 hp, from 41,750 to 47,250 €


Engine : 3-cylinder, gasoline direct injection, turbo, variable intake, stop & start, DPF, 1,199 cc
Transmission : front-wheel drive, 8-speed automatic
Powerful (ch à tr/min) : 131 ch à 5 500
Couple (Nm at rpm): 230 at 1,750
Weight (kg) : 1 420
Long.xlarg.xhaut. (m) : 4,50×1,96×1,69
Wheelbase (m) : 2,73
Max speed (km / h): 188 km / h
0-100 km / h : 10’’3
0-1000 m DA : 31’’7
series tires : 225/55 R 18
Test tires : Michelin Primacy 4


Rear Legroom: 67
Front/rear elbow widths: 150/149
5/2 chest (l): 580-720/1,630

Recommended options

  • Induction charger (150 €)
  • Hands-free tailgate (€450)
  • Electric driver’s seat, heated (and passenger) (550 €)
  • Opening panoramic roof (€1,200)

Main competitors

  • Peugeot 3008 PT 130, 131 hp, from €32,600
  • Renault Kadjar 1.3 TCe 140, 140 hp, from €32,400*
  • Hyundai Tucson 1.6 T-GDi, 150 hp, from €30,200
  • Nissan Qashqai 1.3 Mild Hybrid, 140 hp, from €30,190
  • Volkswagen Tiguan 1.5 TSi130 hp, from €39,135
    * Replaced this fall by Austral

WE love

Driving smoothness
Modularity-loading volume

We love less

Rear legroom

To read/see also on

Peugeot 3008 video test

Hyundai Tucson review

The future Renault Austral facing the Citroën C5 Aircross