The new Citroen C5 Aircross SUV, though a really versatile automotive, has however one actual objective in life: to behave as a “halo” automotive for the make. It’s the new Citroen flagship, seeing as they’ve stopped attempting to promote correct “massive” automobiles once more.

The C5 is now an SUV, however extra a medium-sized one than these behemoths that strive, and fail, to problem the Vary Rover.

They know once they’re beat, in spite of everything. This one is extra a competitor for, say, the Nissan Qashqai. 

For Citroen sits bang in the midst of the mid-market melee, a jumble of competing manufacturers that appear to have much less and fewer emotional resonance with the shopping for public, and, extra apposite, the non-car-buying younger public. 

So: ask your self what Citroen stands for? Likelihood is will probably be low-cost offers and jolly Picasso folks carriers, frangible dashboards and temperamental electrics, and possibly some obscure affectionate recollections of classics such because the 2CV. 

You received’t affiliate Citroen with SUVs as a result of it has solely simply received into that recreation, and, it’s anxious to level out, the C5 Aircross is not only one other SUV so as to add to roads already saturated with them, from Mini and Fiat 500 variants to Rolls-Royce’s and Aston Martin’s takes on the idea.

They’ve their work minimize out, then, to be distinctive and the very best information for the agency and its clients is that the C5 acquits itself very effectively certainly as merely an excellent automotive. It’s a cousin to the Peugeot 3008 (as a part of the identical PSA group), which signifies that it has inherited an especially well-engineered platform, or chassis.

Groupe PSA has striven arduous to place the standard again into its merchandise, and this C5 definitely feels extra sturdy and strong than many earlier efforts, It’s refined and quiet, particularly within the petrol model, however whichever you select from the 4 engine choices you’ll have an award-winning unit forward of you driving the entrance wheels – economical and highly effective.

There’s no four-wheel drive possibility, so, arguably a little bit of a fake SUV, nevertheless it has some electronics (“Grip Management” and Hill Descent Help) that can assist with tough terrains, as does the great floor clearance

Citroen invited the cream of the world’s motoring journalists, and me, to check its trip on the worst roads in Morocco, although it would as effectively have requested us to motor spherical Surrey to see the way it copes with some actually nasty potholes.

Anyway, the C5 Aircross acquitted itself effectively. 

Certainly Citroen’s mission is to get you to assume that C stands for consolation in addition to Citroen, and to that finish they’ve devised one thing they name “Citroen Superior Consolation”, which they don’t shorten to “CAC”, for apparent causes.

It principally means they’ve added some further hydraulic “stops” to the shock absorbers to ship “qualifying carpet trip”, which is apparent hyperbole, nevertheless it does work fairly effectively.

They’ve additionally handled the C5 to some good tender (non-obligatory nappa leather-based) seats with a pleated look and a few form of particular foam. All of it helps, and, sure all of it works.

The inside carries on the marginally playful themes of the outside, with these “Airbump” shapes we first noticed on the C4 Cactus proliferating. There are some impressively massive and clear touchscreens for the satnav, audio and connectivity options. Solely the controls for the adaptive cruise management appear old school now – slightly than the now ordinary steering wheel buttons they’ve retained a separate pod behind the wheel, which is a bit fiddly.

In any other case, the C5 is a pleasing place to spend time; it enjoys the standard excessive driving place and ease of entry for folks with mobility points, and has the most important boot in its class. Throughout the constraints of the SUV, Citroen has striven to copy the previous virtues of the MPV, although there’s no seven-seat possibility for the C5 (the designers have retained the C4 Area Tourer, the non secular successor to that extremely fashionable run of Picassos, earlier than everybody went nuts for SUVs).

I feel the C5 deserves to do effectively. It appears to have had some substantial engineering effort chucked at it (although time will inform fairly how long-lasting that inside power proves to be), and the styling is, as meant, SUV with out being precisely aggressive. PSA has additionally, regardless of all of the upmarket discuss, given its new automotive what it calls “honest pricing”, so it’s a little bit of a worth proposition – the bottom mannequin can be yours for an inventory worth of £23,225, and little question you possibly can haggle that down.

I’d go for the extra highly effective “PureTech 180” petrol mannequin with the superb 8-speed automated field, in “Really feel” trim stage plus the “Metropolitan Gray” leather-based ambiance, as they name this stuff, and have a strong crimson one, as that’s maybe the subsequent massive color pattern.

Subsequent yr, Citroen celebrates its 100th birthday. It’s had a chequered historical past, should you’ll pardon the expression, and for nearly half its life has been a subsidiary of Peugeot.

That has meant some dreadfully boring rehashes of dreadfully boring Peugeots (AX), and a few glowing variations of glowing Peugeots (C4 Sebastian Loeb version) and someplace inside that company machine there was at all times a little bit of Citroen spirit nonetheless alive, and the world is a greater place for it. The C5 Aircross could also be simply one other SUV, however it’s a welcome entrant, nonetheless. Halo or not.     

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