lion hunter or simple tourist?

Oh, C3 Aircross with a body!

There are tests where you tell yourself that the press officer and his team are motivating you to get up at dawn, not the car in question.

However, the C5 Aircross is one of the few SUVs that seduced me when it was released. Innovative style, comfort and driving pleasure – the brand’s SUV has established itself in this ultra-competitive segment.

It continues to seduce, in particular with a strong hybridization trend (41% of sales in Q1 2022). Visually, the changes are obvious: the end of the two-tier skylights and the lengthening of the rafters on either side of the optical unit.

Thus, the SUV is in line with the brand’s latest trends, such as the C5X (tested here) or the C3 Aircross, in particular thanks to the flared sill.

Nothing changes in profile, while at the back, the C5 Aircross eschews its signature double decker in favor of a wider block that spills slightly on the side to visually set the rear. Inside, the main change concerns the central part.

Thus, the touch screen has become larger (from 8 to 10 inches) and now goes to the air vents (rather than framed by them). It’s actually the same dashboard, just with a few adaptations to integrate new elements: Carlos will be delighted with the savings!

Interior quality remains good for positioning the car, even if a bit (just to nitpick) behind the recent Kia Sportage (take the opportunity to read my test) and Hyundai Tucson.

There’s room in both the front and rear, while the C5 Aircross retains some of the lead in luggage space. This one, very spacious, with individual and sliding seats, allows you to have 460 l / 600 l for hybrid versions and 580 l / 720 l for thermal versions.

Strongly caresses the road

Challenge of the day: Try 2 engines that were not available at the time of the first tests, with the PureTech 130 version and the Hybrid 225. Since it is timely, it is the latter that I turn to first of all, which combines a 180 hp petrol unit. with 80 kW electric motor.

And after a few hours on the road, comfort continues to characterize the Citroën SUV. This starts with the seats, which thus receive 15 mm more foam in the upholstery and allow for a durable soft side.

We must also not forget the suspensions with double hydraulic stops, which thus allow this dry side to be limited when negotiating potholes such as speed bumps.

Decorated in this way, this combination is just as effective as some suspensions controlled in comfort mode. Unlike the Kia Sportage or the Hyundai Tucson, the C5 Aircross manages to be comfortable and quite dynamic in corners.

Despite the overweight caused by hybridization (+ 350 kg), the clumsy behavior is regrettable, but above all, cash flows are better controlled here. A big thank you to Citroën who charted a course for us to pick up the pace while getting a lot of attention.

As you slide down the side of a mountain with endless twists and turns, you find yourself like a child on his own circle with his toy. If the C5 Aircross doesn’t show off the dynamism of a Peugeot 3008 equipped with 225 hp, it was able to handle various mountainous corners smoothly with little body roll.

When accelerating, the hybridization does its job right and you can really feel the combination of the two engines without overloading the front axle. The energy recovery is limited to one brake level (which is activated via the transmission control) and proves its effectiveness on the road. Although the car is advertised for 55km in zero emission mode, I mostly flirted with actual 40km on a mixed and tortuous track and overall consumption settled at a reasonable 6.1L/100.

Obviously, a hybrid car is of interest ONLY if you bother to recharge it: thus, it will take 2 to 7 hours to restore to 100%.

Driving a PureTech 130 hp, I see that my hearing was good. Because, yes, the C5 Aircross has a generally good level of sound deadening, which the small 3-cylinder engine unfortunately manages to beat.

If we lose in this part, thus getting rid of more than 350 kg, the SUV will become more agile at the level of the front axle, but quickly fizzles out in big times (at the same time, from 0 to 100 km / h in 10.5 s) .

His vocation is more limited to urban use, which he quickly becomes frustrated with outside the city and sees fuel consumption well above the 7.2L/100 noted during this short test.

To the ideal?

In terms of hardware, the C5 Aircross remains in the race with the latest vehicle controls (adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, etc.), but despite a deep restyling, the center screen hardware remains unchanged.

The latter still suffers from some slowness and interface delay, as well as a rear-view camera fading in comparison, especially in light of new competitors. This restyling affects prices, which rise by an average of 1600 euros. Ranging from €27,850 to €45,800 in 5 trims, the C5 Aircross gets interesting with its Feel Pack trim, which offers parking assistance, 18-inch wheels as standard, and navigation and connected services (count no less than €32,000).

If you’re looking to upgrade to a hybrid engine, know that you’ll be spoiled for choice in this segment. The most notable competitors are the Peugeot 3008 or Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, but the latter have higher prices (for higher capacities and not so justified).

Conclusion:

Citroën knows how to create miracles out of almost nothing. Thus, the C5 Aircross is upgraded with minimal investment. If it retains its practical aspects and huge trunk, it goes further in the concept of comfort without exaggerating this point in dynamic driving. There are enough engines to find its account, between the city-focused PureTech and the versatile hybrid. In a word, enough to ensure sales among competitors.

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