Back in 2015, we got our first peak at the Aircross concept, Citroën’s vision of a revolutionary next generation SUV. Fast forward to this year’s 2017 Geneva Motor Show and the Aircross resurfaced as the C-Aircross, a close-to-production concept SUV bearing more than a passing resemblance to Citroën’s platform-sharing C4 Cactus and new C3 supermini. Since then, the French brand has been adding the finish touches to its latest model. Unveiled to the world’s media at the Shanghai Auto Show, the all-new Citroën C5 Aircross is finally here.
As with its concept predecessors, the C5 Aircross emulates its existing stablemates’ quirky fashion sense by deviating from the prevailing trend of the muscle-bound, super-sleek, modern SUV. Citroën’s off-the-wall approach to design here manifests itself in the form of a ‘floating’ roof propped up by black pillars and the brand’s now familiar bash-proof ‘airbump’ side panels. The front grille features the same squinting LED headlights from the C4 Cactus and the new C3 whilst the stretched, undulating bonnet is pulled straight from the design pages of the original Aircross Concept. Another trademark Citroën styling cue, the four oblong LEDs that make up the rear light clusters, dominates the rear end. What’s more, customers can opt for either 17, 18 or 19-inch wheels on their new wagon.
Peeking in through the C5 Aircross’ panoramic sunroof reveals the same sofa-inspired seating from the C4 Cactus. The two front seats can be equipped with a massage function to ease the backbreaking work of the daily commute whilst rear seat passengers will be able to luxuriate in the most ample legroom in the mid-size SUV segment. In terms of tech, all the vital instruments are displayed on a 12.3-inch digital cluster. The centre console, meanwhile, is home to an 8-inch HD infotainment touchscreen. Out back, the C5 boasts a hands-free automatic tailgate that opens with the swish of a foot to reveal a two-level boot floor with a generous 482 litres of luggage space.
Prospective C5 owners can also count on the usual array of gizmos and gadgets to get them from A to B in the safest and most hassle-free way possible. Amongst the liberal helping of drive assist systems, the C5 Aircross features everything from Automatic Dimming Headlights and Adaptive Cruise Control to Lane Departure Warning and Citroën’s adaptable all-surface grip control.
If you want genuine innovation, however, look no further than the C5 Aircross’ radical new take on suspension. Dating back to the days of the legendary original DS, creating the smoothest possible ride is an area in which Citroën has forged its reputation. Now, in 2017, the new C5 debuts the intriguingly named ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushion’ suspension. This remarkably simple invention adds an additional pair of hydraulic stops to the standard array of springs and dampers to soften the blow whenever the SUV tackles rough terrain. In practice, Citroën assures us that the recoil felt when a car with traditional suspension hits an imperfection in the road has been completely ironed out on the C5 Aircross, creating a magic carpet-like sense of floating on air. Should the ‘Hydraulic Cushion’ prove a hit, expect to see the same system rolled out on subsequent Citroën models, crossovers or otherwise, in the coming years.
Under the lights in Shanghai, Citroën chiefs revealed what is, for now at least, the C5 Aircross’ China-specific engine line-up. This includes two latest-generation petrol models developing 165 and 200bhp respectively, each mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The undoubted headline-grabber, however, comes in the form of a Plug-In Hybrid e-AWD drivetrain, the first of its kind to power a vehicle bearing the chevrons. With four drive modes available, including an all-electric setting capable of propelling the C5 up to 37 miles on a single charge, the combined might of the 200bhp petrol unit and the pair of electric motors will make the C5 Aircross hybrid the most powerful Citroën production car ever.
Scheduled to launch in China this October, keeps your ears to ground in the coming months as specific details of the European-spec C5 Aircross come to light.
Citroën’s potentially game-changing new SUV is set to hit UK showrooms in the second half of 2018.