Citroën’s flagship crossover gets design updates, a new touchscreen and a higher price.
Citroën’s flagship for India, the C5 Aircross, is a unique and tasty take on the premium 5-seat crossover segment, competing with the Jeep Compass, Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan. For 2022, the C5 gets a facelift with refreshed styling and an all-new touchscreen among other new features. Priced at Rs 36.67 lakh, not only is it Rs 4.77 lakh more expensive than its launch price in April 2021, but it is also the most expensive car in its class.
Still one of the most unique and stylish crossovers out there.
This updated version comes in a fully equipped Shine variant, powered by a diesel engine mated to an automatic gearbox, which sends power to the front wheels.
Citroën C5 Aircross facelift: exterior changes
Like the pre-facelift version, the refreshed model carries an unmistakable style unlike anything out there due to its cleverly executed, distinct and characterful design elements. This facelifted C5 proudly displays its oversized brand identity on its nose; the double chevron logo is larger than before and now sports a new look, with each of the chevrons finished in black with a chrome outline. Its grille features two parallel lines of chrome studs that blend tastefully into the two LED daytime running lights, which are now positioned in the headlight cluster. Gone is the split headlight configuration, which gives way to a single unit. But this new design is far from conventional, as on closer inspection you’ll notice a unique layered case that’s both quirky and cool. The air dam below is also redesigned and is highlighted by a shiny silver finished chin. Replacing the red highlights around the repositioned faux air vents and around the trapezoidal element on the side body cladding are gray highlights with all but the white body paint option; with the latter, these reflections are blue.
Silver highlights replace reds on the outgoing version. These are painted blue on the white C5s.
The concave, flat hood has been retained, which, along with the distinct body cladding, roof rails and upright stance, gives it some much-needed SUV credibility. New 18-inch alloys finished in a two-tone hue complement its styling, while the distinctive silver C-shaped window surround adds just the right amount of bling to its side profile. Changes at the rear are limited to the taillights, which retain their basic silhouette but, like the front, feature a layered housing and receive attractive new LED elements inside.
Redesign of the Citroën C5 Aircross: interior and features
Citroën’s unconventional design theme continues inside and while it largely retains most of the elements, it’s the central area of the dashboard that gets the biggest change. A new horizontally oriented 10-inch standalone touchscreen is one of the talking points of this facelift. It looks rather premium with a crisp, clear display, and is noticeably better than the outgoing dated screen. Responses are a bit slow, however, and Citroën hasn’t used the opportunity to include wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (it gets a wired setup), or a nicer branded sound system. Luckily, Citroën has retained hotkeys to access various infotainment menus, a physical volume knob, as well as physical toggle switches below to control some key functions.
The biggest talking point is the new touchscreen which has richer graphics and a very premium look
Citroën has also corrected the orientation of switches and buttons on the center console to make it more suitable for right-handed drivers and it looks clutter-free, thanks to the gear lever which is now replaced by a rocker-mounted drive selector. Oddly enough, you can’t directly switch the drive selector from ‘P’ to ‘R’, and it defaults to ‘N’. The large rotary traction mode selector and drive mode buttons have now been combined into a single switch below the gear selector, so you can switch between Sport, Eco and Normal drive modes, as well as the Snow, Mud and Sand traction modes, using the same controller.
Gear selector placement is now better suited to right-hand drive orientation.
The C5 retains its large 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and as before it’s easy on the eyes, but it’s not half as exciting in its operation or functionality. The front seats have been reupholstered and are quite comfortable, with the driver’s seat being electrically adjustable. However, some might find the lumbar support a bit excessive. Comfort features such as front seat ventilation, seat memory and a 360-degree camera are expected in a car of this price, but are still missing from the equipment list.
The seats are very comfortable, although some might find the lower back a little excessive.
There’s plenty of space in the back, and the panoramic sunroof also helps flood the cabin with light. The C5 continues with the three-seat configuration, which can be slid forward or backward separately, or reclined individually. And while this configuration is adequate to accommodate three adults in reasonable comfort, when there are only two adults seated they will lack a center armrest, the contoured seats will not allow them to stretch out and sit down. comfortably, and the seat belt buckles might feel a bit intrusive. As a result, that back-seat experience isn’t as good as a conventional bench seat, which might make it a deal breaker for some. What’s nice is the huge 580-litre boot – it houses a full-size spare tire with an alloy wheel, which is rare these days, and the tailgate is also electronically operated.
Three individual seats not the most comfortable when carrying two adults.
Redesign of the Citroën C5 Aircross: performance and fuel consumption
With no petrol engine or all-wheel-drive option, Citroën reduced the appeal of the C5. On the other hand, that 2.0-liter 177hp diesel engine and 8-speed automatic transmission are among the nicest and smoothest on the market.
One of the smoothest motors on the market; it’s fast too.
The engine is responsive and revs up quickly, with the torque converter automatically sending power to the front wheels. The 8-speed is so intuitive you’ll rarely need to pull the Ferrari-like column-mounted paddle shifters to take manual control. Bottom-out performance is also impressive, and it accelerates from 0-100 km/h in just 9.61 seconds, and it also records equally impressive acceleration times.
|Performance of the Citroën C5|
|Kickdown acceleration (km/h)|
The automatic engine stop-start feature, however, may surprise you, shutting off the engine (and therefore tightening the power steering) before the car has even come to a complete stop. That quirk aside, it ignites the engine instantly when you release the brake pedal, and the process is smooth, so you wouldn’t mind leaving it on to save fuel when idling.
Speaking of which, in our tests it managed a fuel mileage of 10.3 kpl in the city and 12.6 kpl on the highway. However, you can expect better efficiency while maintaining consistent highway speeds, thanks to the long-legged capability of its 8-speed.
Driving and traction modes, now linked.
Citroën offers three driving modes – Sport, Normal and Eco – but the difference between them is barely noticeable. It also gets traction modes like before – Snow, Mud and Sand, which tweak its ESP and traction control settings – but we didn’t get a chance to put them to the test.
Redesign of the Citroën C5 Aircross: ride and handling
What we experienced was the refinement of the C5 Aircross, which is remarkable. Citroën has improved cabin insulation with its double-glazed windscreen and front windows, which protect occupants from ambient and engine noise. In fact, you should try very hard to hear any diesel clatter from the engine inside, even if it makes quite a racket outside.
The ride quality is simply exceptional thanks to its hydraulic stops.
But the highlight of the C5 Aircross is its “progressive hydraulic cushions”, which are essentially hydraulic chambers that replace traditional bump stops. At the front, there are two hydraulic chambers on either side of the shock absorber, one for compression and the other for rebound, while there is only one for compression at the back. The result of this incredibly clever setup is a bump-free ride from the road, even over the sharpest potholes. Its ride comfort and shock absorption capacity are unequivocally the best on the market. The steering is effortless and the suspension is soft, but you can still drive it quickly around corners with a degree of confidence. However, it’s best enjoyed when driven at six or seven tenths, and it doesn’t offer a sporty ride like the Jeep Compass or Volkswagen Tiguan.
Redesign of the Citroën C5 Aircross: verdict
The Citroën C5 Aircross is a refined crossover with exceptional shock absorption capabilities that unequivocally make it the most capable car. A smooth high-performance engine, smooth automatic transmission and effortless steering are some of its other highlights. And if you want to stand out amid a sea of SUVs and crossovers on sale, this is the one for you.
But in its quest to be different, certain quirks, particularly the layout of the individual rear seats, could potentially be a deal breaker, as it isn’t as comfortable as a conventional bench seat to accommodate two adults. Further limiting its appeal is the fact that its rivals not only offer multiple engine transmission options and all-wheel-drive capabilities, but they’re also better equipped and, more importantly, significantly cheaper. For these reasons, the Citroën C5 Aircross is likely to remain a rarity on our roads, which is a shame, because it is a real good crossover, which requires experience to be appreciated.
Video review of the 2022 Citroën C5 Aircross facelift