WHEN you’re French auto maker Citroën, there’s no better way to celebrate 100 years of building cars than to bring an SUV to the Australian market and launch it during Bastille celebrations. We give you the 2019 Citroën C5 Aircross.
Available in two variants – the Feel and the Shine, we took to the streets of Sydney for the local launch of this quintessentially French and curiously unique SUV.
Anyone who knows Citroën, knows they like to be different and that innovation is part of who they are. This is, after all, the same brand who advertised their name on the Eiffel Tower using 250,000 light bulbs between 1925 and 1934.
The Citroën C5 Aircross SUV builds on this mantra by including an all-new suspension system, featuring progressive hydraulic cushion technology. In essence it means bumps and surfaces other than flat roads are absorbed through the suspension.
Tried and tested using an airport, with multiple speed bumps, Citroën have aptly referred to this as the ‘flying carpet effect’, and the package is standard across the range. The C5 Aircross also provides extra body stiffness thanks to its manufacturing process.
When combined, the Citroën offers significantly less vibrations and delivers a quieter, smoother driving experience. On the outside, customisation is king, with seven colour combinations available.
Among them are Volcano Red, Perla Nera Black and Bianca White. But the ability to add your own colour inserts, matched to two-tone roof rails, and a variant of the Airbump, made famous by the Cactus, means you can make your C5 Aircross SUV your own.
The Feel variant features 18-inch black two-tone, diamond-cut ‘SWIRL’ alloy wheels, while the flagship Shine features 19-inch black two-tone, diamond-cut ‘ART’ alloy wheels as standard.
Just to make sure the new Citroën SUV attracts attention though, the car maker has added chrome tail pipes and unique looking 3D LED rear light modules.
The light signature is instantly recognisable, immediately attracting the eye and highlighting the car’s width, while the vents in the rear bumper and tailgate spoiler emphasise the body’s aerodynamic design.
Moving inside, the interior space is versatile to say the least, with room for five occupants. But it’s the storage space that’s generous for a mid-sized SUV. Standard boot space is an impressive 720-litres, while folding the seats down boots that to 1,630-litres.
You can also slide the back seats forward should you need to, and if you, like most of us, approach your vehicle with your hands full, a simple swipe of your foot under the bumper will open the boot automatically.
Choosing the range-topping Shine will also add laminated glassware and a leather interior, with more cushioned memory foam seats that ooze body-hugging comfort. You’ll also score aluminium pedals, which provide a sleek finish and a more sporty overall feel.
There’s a 7-inch touchscreen, with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and MirrorLink, which offers integration between the infotainment system and app level content on your phone.
Additionally, the C5 Aircross has built in voice activated navigation capabilities that worked exceptionally well. What’s also welcome in the Shine but should be standard across the range, is wireless mobile phone charging.
Whether we like it or not, charging phones is a constant, and the convenience of being able to do it wirelessly, in-car, is fast becoming a necessity, especially with device sapping apps and smaller batteries.
It’s not just about the look and tech though. On the road in very windy conditions we got to experience just how much the suspension system supports the driver through corners and allows an air of stability to driving.
The 1.6-litre THP turbocharged petrol engine aligns with a six-speed automatic transmission, with paddle-shifters. It’s front wheel drive and is not really built to cater for proper off-roading. Let’s call it ‘light off-road’ capable.
But it does come with a very decent Sport mode, accessible with the turn of a dial. There’s also modes for sand, mud, and snow, and the option to turn off the electronic stability program.
Other safety elements across both models include active lane departure warning and lane keep assist, collision risk alert. We got to experience the incredible capabilities of these systems first hand during our road test.
A bus pulled out in front of us during our drive, and thanks to the active safety brake feature, automatic emergency precautions kicked in and the C5 Aircross came to a stop in time. You hope you never have to experience that, but knowing it works is beyond handy.
The active safety systems work the same for other objects, such as pedestrians, and a driver alert monitor, or as Citroën calls it – the coffee break alert – is also on hand. It will suggest the driver stop every two hours when travelling at above 70km/h.
It’s a subtle way to raise awareness of the importance of breaks and increasing alertness, and the centre console can even house a coffee flask or a water bottle, up to a 1.5-litre capacity.
The C5 also features traffic sign recognition, which can be tied to the speed limiter if you so desire, as well as key-less entry and push button start, an automatic park brake and parking assist.
Set to arrive in dealerships in late July and early August, the 2019 Citroen C5 Aircross is a uniquely styled SUV, that just happens to be a great car, whether you are travelling longer distances or just cruising around the city.
During testing we saw actual fuel economy of around 8.0-litres/100km, including giving the Michelin rubber a good work out on some rugged country roads, tight city streets and our myriad of Sydney motorways.
The 2019 Citroën C5 Aircross comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, paired with 5-years roadside assist. It also comes with Citroën’s ‘service price promise’. The Feel is priced at $39,990 plus on-roads, while the Shine costs $43,990, again plus on-roads.
Our test vehicle was supplied by Citroën Australia as part of its national launch. To find out more about the 2019 Citroën C5 Aircross, contact your local Citroen dealer.