Citroen C5 Aircross Review & Prices
The Citroen C5 Aircross is a stylish and comfortable SUV, but the infotainment system isn’t the most intuitive to use
Find out more about the Citroen C5 Aircross
While most other family SUVs seem determined to put the ‘sport’ into Sport Utility Vehicle, the Citroen C5 Aircross stands out from the crowd by being unashamedly comfort-focused, with a generous sprinkling of chic style thrown into the mix.
It’s a bit like a pair of designer jogging bottoms hanging up in a shop full of polyester tracksuits.
And just like the countless leisurewear options at your disposal, if you’re looking for a family SUV at Citroen C5 Aircross prices, you’re spoilt for choice. There’s about a dozen that range from the practical and affordable Skoda Karoq and Nissan Qashqai, to the premium-but-not-quite Peugeot 3008 and Volkswagen Tiguan. Budget stretches further? The posh BMW X1 and Audi Q3 enter the mix.
Despite all this choice, the Citroen C5 Aircross marks itself out from the gaggle thanks to its chic styling, with soft edges where most alternatives offer sharp angles. Soft does not mean dull though, because it has an upright front end that gives it real presence and chunky body cladding that results in cute-off-roader vibes, with a 2023 update bringing an even classier look.
It’s stylish inside, too. The dashboard design doesn’t quite give off the upmarket ambience of an Audi or BMW, but you get big, comfy seats and there’s loads of space and storage in the front. It’s not all rosy though, because while the digital displays are big and easy to read, the infotainment isn’t the most intuitive to use. Headroom is a bit tight in the back, too.
The Citroen C5 Aircross is really relaxing to drive and its stylish design makes it look more expensive than it is
Fortunately there’s a big boot to make up for this, and the rear seats can slide forward for more boot space and less legroom if required. With the seats forward, nothing else can match the space on offer, but even in the regular position you only get more capacity in the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage. There’s a bit less space in the plug-in hybrid, but again, it’s more than other hybrids you might consider.
This means you don’t need to sacrifice much practicality for the frugal hybrid, which will offer the lowest running costs if you can keep the batteries topped up. Don’t have access to a charger? You might consider the mild hybrid, or the diesel if you do a lot of long-distance driving.
If you do spend a lot of time behind the wheel, the C5 Aircross is a comfortable companion, thanks to the big, cosseting seats and soft suspension. This is also noticeable around town, where the high driving position and large windows give good visibility, though this comfort focus does mean it rather lumbers through corners. A SEAT Ateca is more fun on a countryside jaunt, for sure.
That’s not really what this big, comfy Citroen is all about, though. While its chunky buttons and occasional scratchy plastics mean you won’t immediately confuse it with a posh German option, it’s less expensive than those cars and feels well-made. It’s also really practical and if you don’t need your family SUV to do an impression of a sports car from time to time it’s a lovely thing to motor round in.
Sound like your cup of tea? Check out the latest Citroen C5 Aircross deals available through carwow, or get a great price on a used C5 Aircross from our network of trusted dealers. You can also browse other used Citroens, and when it’s time to sell your car, carwow can help with that, too.
The Citroen C5 Aircross has a RRP range of £23,670 to £38,375. However, with carwow you can save on average £2,273. Prices start at £22,088 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £305. The price of a used Citroen C5 Aircross on carwow starts at £12,000.
Our most popular versions of the Citroen C5 Aircross are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|1.2 PureTech Plus 5dr||£22,088||Compare offers|
The Citroen C5 Aircross is competitively priced with loads of other family SUVs. The range starts at just under £30,000 for the petrol and just over for the diesel, with plug-in hybrids costing closer to £40,000 (partly because you can’t get one on the entry level trim).
You could spend all day looking at other alternatives in this price range, but the highlights include the Skoda Karoq, Peugeot 3008 and Hyundai Tucson, which offer similar practicality and driving pleasure for the price. The Nissan Qashqai is another good choice, but it has a considerably smaller boot.
If you’re looking at the top end of the Citroen’s price range, you might also consider the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, with the latter also available with a plug-in hybrid option, though it’s a bit more expensive than the equivalent C5 Aircross.
The Citroen C5 Aircross is really comfortable for long drives and around town, but it’s not the most fun car on a winding road
Driving around town is easy in the Citroen C5 Aircross because you sit fairly high – almost in a van-like driving position – and the large windows mean that your view out the front and sides is really good. Visibility out of the back is a bit limited, but you do get front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera as standard, which help matters.
On the move, the C5 Aircross comes into its own. It has ‘comfort suspension’, which basically means that you waft along the road, ironing out imperfections even when the road is in poor condition.
The plug-in hybrid is particularly pleasant at lower speeds when running on electric power alone. It’s quiet and refined, and makes stop-start traffic about as relaxing as it can be. The electric motors are responsive and you rarely notice when the petrol engine chimes in to offer a helping hand.
Perhaps the only complaint is that the brakes are a bit inconsistent, which is likely related to the hybrid system’s regenerative braking that helps top the battery up. Coupled with the soft suspension it can be difficult to come to a smooth stop, occasionally rocking back and forth if you brake a bit too hard.
On the motorway
Head out of town and the C5 Aircross is just as comfortable on a long motorway drive. There’s little in the way of tyre and wind noise, and the suspension smooths out bumps and cracks in the road. You also don’t have to worry about the gentle wallowing that can sometimes be a problem in cars with soft suspension, instead the car just settles down to a nice cruise.
Standard kit includes lane assist and basic cruise control, but you’ll have to step up a grade to Shine to get adaptive cruise control, which keeps pace with the car in front. This trim also adds blind spot monitoring, which makes life easier when changing lines, as visibility over your shoulder isn’t brilliant. A hands-on semi-autonomous motorway assist system is included on top-spec models, too.
On a twisty road
There’s always a compromise when a car is so comfortable in town and on the motorway, and as is the case with the C5 Aircross, that comes in its abilities to excite in corners. It’s not that it’s completely unwieldy in the bends, but there’s quite a bit of lean from the body and the light steering doesn’t offer much feedback, so you don’t get a good sense of grip when pressing on.
No, the C5 Aircross prefers a more leisurely way of life, and the driving experience actually encourages you to take it easy. If you want something that’s a bit less comfy and practical, but more enjoyable on a twisty road, the SEAT Ateca should be your first port of call.
The clever sliding seats are great for prioritising between passengers and bulky luggage, but tall people will still struggle in the back
There’s plenty of space for those in the front, with lots of adjustability in the steering wheel so it’s easy to get a good driving position. You also retain a pretty commanding view even with the seat in its lower positions.
Storage is ample, too, with a massive space under the arm rest and two cupholders just in front. Ahead of this is a usefully deep space that is good for keys and other bits and bobs, along with a large slot for your phone. The door bins are okay, but you will struggle to get big water bottles in. Otherwise, the only real letdown is the tiny glovebox.
The centre console is also home to a couple of USB-A slots (newer, faster USB-C slots would be preferable for some), as well as a 12V socket.
Space in the back seats
Although space in the front is pretty good, it’s not quite so good in the back seats. Legroom isn’t too bad, but tall passengers might find their knees rest against the seats in front, and will almost certainly brush their heads on the roof. The middle seat is comfortable but you are perched quite high compared to the outer seats, and three adults will find shoulder room a bit tight. The Kia Sportage and Skoda Karoq are all a bit more spacious in the second row.
Practicality isn’t brilliant in the back either, with slim door bins that are actually quite tricky to access down the side of the seat. You don’t have a centre armrest, and there’s just the one USB slot – again, not the newer USB-C variety – so the kids will have to take it in turns to charge their devices.
At least the rear seats move forwards and backwards, so if you have kids or shorter adults in the back, you can prioritise boot space if required, which is a useful feature only seen in a few alternatives.
If you’re fitting a child seat, there’s enough space to make it easy enough, and the ISOFIX points aren’t hidden away so you won’t be fishing around to get everything hooked up. Bulkier seats might mean those in front might have to sit a bit closer to the dashboard than they would like, but it’s nothing drastic.
What the Citroen C5 Aircross lacks in rear seat space, it makes up for in the boot. With the seats in the normal position, you get a 580-litre capacity, but push them forward and you open up 720 litres.
Even in the smallest layout, only the Hyundai Tucson (620 litres) and Kia Sportage (591 litres) have it beat. Push the seats forward and nothing compares; you can pull a similar stunt with the rear seats in the Audi Q3 and Volkswagen Tiguan to reveal 675 litres and 615 litres of space respectively, but either way, the Citroen wins.
Because the batteries are stored beneath the floor, plug-in hybrid models are down on boot space, so you get between 460 and 600 litres, depending on the rear seat position. Most alternatives face the same issue, and compared like-for-like, the C5 Aircross comes out on top again. Looking specifically at plug-in hybrid options, you get 558 litres in the Tucson, 540 litres in the Sportage, and 490 litres in the BMW X1.
The boot isn't just big, either. It’s a good square space that makes it easy to pack large items in, and it’s not too far off the floor with only a minimal lip, so heavier objects cause little fuss. You also get under-floor storage that’s good for the charging cables in the plug-in model.
Perhaps the only real complaint is that there are no latches in the boot to fold the rear seats, so you have to reach in or go in through the back doors. With the seats folded down you get 1,510 litres to play with, which is about the same as what you get elsewhere.
Although it doesn’t quite have the premium feeling of an Audi or BMW, the interior looks good and has plenty of soft-touch materials
Inside the Citroen C5 Aircross is not quite as eye-catching as the exterior, but that’s not to say it isn’t easy on the eye. The design is quite simple and continues the curvaceous edges seen on the outside.
There are some chunky buttons that combine with the infotainment graphics so you don’t quite feel like you’re competing with the sophistication of the likes of the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, but the C5 Aircross has a chic character all of its own.
It’s certainly more interesting than the comparatively drab cabins you find in the SEAT Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan. And while there are some scratchy plastics to be found, most of the stuff you regularly touch is soft and feels pretty posh. The Alcantara seat upholstery found on mid-spec Shine models is particularly lovely.
The infotainment screen sits nestled between the air vents and is integrated better than most alternatives, which tend to look like a tablet has been stuck to the top of the dashboard.
There’s a bank of touch-sensitive shortcut buttons beneath the screen to make navigating between menus easier, but it’s still not the most intuitive system to use outside of the basic functions.
There are four interior ‘ambiences’ depending on which trim you choose, with combinations of synthetic leather, fabric and Alcantara upholstery. A £1,000 Nappa leather option is available on top-spec cars. All of them use dark shades, which can make it a little dull inside, so the glass sunroof (optional on the middle spec, standard on the top spec) helps make it feel more bright and airy inside.
There are four engine options – a plug-in hybrid, mild hybrid, petrol and diesel.
The plug-in hybrid is the most expensive to buy, but it could offset the extra cost through much lower running costs over your time with the car if you can charge regularly. It combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for 224hp, and the battery provides up to 41 miles of electric-only range (about 10 miles more than before).
As a result, CO2 emissions are really low at just 32g/km, meaning first-year road tax is almost nothing and company car tax is very low, too. Officially, fuel economy is up to 222mpg, but you will only see this if you keep the batteries topped up and stick to relatively short journeys.
If regular charging isn’t possible, the 136hp mild hybrid will likely be a better bet. Although it’s not a proper self-charging hybrid, it has an electric motor that can take over at low speeds and when manoeuvring to help reduce fuel costs. Official figures have not yet been confirmed, but expect around 50mpg.
Both petrol and diesel engines have 130hp and come with a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearboxes (the hybrids are auto only). In both cases, the automatics will cost slightly more in first-year road tax, but even then it’s not a huge jump. For those looking for maximum fuel economy, the manual diesel is the best bet, as official figures suggest up to 60mpg is possible. This will suit those who do a lot of motorway miles in particular.
The Citroen C5 Aircross has a slightly disappointing four-star safety rating from Euro NCAP – but the UK gets the kit needed to bring it up to the full five stars included as standard. It scored well in the adult and child occupant categories, at 87% and 86% respectively, but lost marks for vulnerable road user protection.
Standard safety kit includes front and side airbags for those in front, with head curtain airbags covering both rows of seats, as well as ISOFIX mounting points in the outer rear seats as well as the front passenger.
The standard safety pack includes an automatic braking system if the car detects an imminent impact, and a lane departure warning that gently tugs at the wheel to stop you drifting out of your lane. Mid-spec models get blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, while top-spec versions build on this with Highway Driver Assist, which can also steer the car to keep centred in the lane.
Although there haven’t been any glaring issues with the C5 Aircross, there have been a few question marks over the long-term durability of interior trim, which could be worth bearing in mind for those with young kids in particular, who might enjoy poking and prodding more than most.
Otherwise, Citroen is doing a good job of building its reputation for reliability, and has been scoring fairly well in owner satisfaction surveys in recent years, but its cars are by no means bullet-proof. The three-year/60,000-mile warranty isn’t much to shout about either, which probably won’t improve peace of mind. If this is a concern, you get five years with the Hyundai Tucson and seven years with the Kia Sportage.
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