First impressions were positive and after many kilometres through varied terrain, we’ve only grown fonder.
It has been a rather eventful couple of weeks which had me travel between Mumbai-Vasai-Nashik very frequently. If you have ever travelled between these locations, you would be aware that there are various roads that connect NH-48 to NH-3. Most people prefer sticking to the main highway rather than taking these alternative routes. The most obvious reason being the quality of these inner roads isn’t particularly smooth. However, I was always curious and have wanted to explore a new route while driving from Vasai to Nashik. Thankfully, I have been driving our long-term SUV, the Citroën C5 Aircross, which was more than game to go exploring.
First up, I really like the C5’s 2.0-litre diesel motor, which is smooth and has loads of torque. It never feels underpowered; it also doesn’t disappoint whenever power is demanded. Plus its definitely easier on my pocket and also ensures fewer fuel stops are required on long road trips. On an average, I have been covering 600 to 700km on a full tank of diesel, which has a capacity of 52.5 litres. What I really enjoyed about the C5 is its ride quality – the suspension works brilliantly. It handled the many broken sections between Vasai and Tansa dam with utmost ease and only muted thuds were filtered into the cabin.
HURT LOCKER: Fixed rear seat belt locks poke the backside when sliding in and out.
A high 230mm ground clearance meant I didn’t have to worry about any of the really rough sections damaging the underbody. Also very comfortable are the seats of the C5, which use a unique combination of leather and fabric. One thing that some friends who sat in the back seat of the C5 often pointed out is that the seat-belt locks protrude out of the seat base and hurt their backside everytime they slide in or out of the back seat.
The panoramic sunroof really adds to the airiness in the cabin, with lots of light coming through whenever you open the sunshade. I really like how quiet the cabin is. The double-laminated front windows, acoustic windscreen, along with thick insulation under the hood, make a huge difference in isolating outside noise; little things like these really add to the premiumness of this SUV. I also don’t mind the subtle speed buzzer warning of the C5 which, in true French fashion, is very polite, unlike some other cars that have really loud warning sounds. I like the minimalist layout of the all-digital instrument cluster.
NOT COOL: Air con controls can only be operated via touchscreen.
However, more customisation options and a proper tachometer would have been nicer. I also like the fact that there is a dedicated display on the roof panel for seat-belt warning for all five seats and airbag warning as well. There’s even a dedicated button on the dashboard for child-locking the rear doors, which is very convenient. I found the glovebox small for storage, but the storage box in the centre console is quite deep and big, and it more than compensates for the small glovebox. The cupholders and door pockets are deep and spacious too. The reverse camera also displays the top view, which I find very useful, especially while parking the C5 in tight spaces, and the front and rear parking sensors make it all the more easy. Its park assist feature steers automatically while parallel or perpendicular parking, should you feel the need to use it.
PEACE OF MIND: A full-size spare tyre along with an alloy is rare.
Something that really puts my mind at ease about the C5 is the fact that it comes equipped with a full-size spare wheel with an alloy instead of a space-saver, which is commonly used in a lot of cars these days. Thankfully, even with that, the boot has a flat base and 580 litres of space to offer. What also adds to the ease of driving this SUV is the blind-spot assist, which illuminates a warning lamp on the ORVMs in case there is any vehicle driving in the C5’s blind spot. The windscreen washers are integrated into the wipers and work nicely. They have an even spread of water across the windscreen and more importantly, unlike regular washers, they doesn’t splatter water outside the windscreen. Another feature I find very useful is the car locator, especially if I have forgotten the exact parking spot in a mall or a large parking lot. By simply pressing the lock button once on the key fob, it activates the hazards to flash 20 times, making the C5 easy to spot.
NEAT JOB: Wiper integrated water spray evenly cleans the windscreen.
There are a couple of things I find a little annoying though. The fuel lid, for example, cannot be opened unless the engine is turned off. The bonnet release lever is on the passenger side and tucked between the door sill; every time it needs to be popped open at security checks, either I have to step out and do it, or have to request the security personnel to do it. Thankfully though, the tailgate can be operated electronically and can be opened or closed with a press of a button on the dashboard or the key fob. The most frequently used feature for me in a car are the air-con controls, which unfortunately in the C5 can only be operated through the touchscreen; separate manual controls would have made it a lot more convenient. The connectivity to the car’s infotainment system is good and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but cannot be done without a wire. The auto stop-start feature is a bit irritating; on many occasions, it cut off the engine below 10kph if the foot was off the throttle. Thankfully, it can be disabled with a touch of a button. The C5 also misses a couple of features that I would have liked, like cooled seats and auto-hold.
It has been a hassle-free experience with the C5 so far, except for a small warning that popped up on the instrument cluster recently that read ‘Top up adblue: Starting impossible in 300km’. Rectifying it was easy though, by simply topping up the adblue liquid through the filler placed next to the fuel filler. After adding about seven litres of adblue, the C5 displayed a range of over 2,400km till the next top up.
The C5 has been a very comfortable and a reliable companion during my commutes in the city and a couple of long road trips as well. It is a head-turner and a conversation starter, as it is still fairly rare to spot one on the roads. Unfortunately, it’s time for the C5 to be handed back to Citroën. The C3 is expected to launch soon and, given how impressed I am with the C5, I’m really looking forward to driving it. Citroën, if you are reading this, can I please have one soon?
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