2021 Citroen C5 Aircross review, road test

    It made a strong first impression, and now we put it through our tests to find out how it performs.

    Published on Sep 22, 2021 09:00:00 AM


    2021 Citroen C5 Aircross review, road test

    Step inside the C5’s cabin and it’s a sea of grey, with interesting styling elements and a variety of textures. The reassuring ‘thud’ sound when you shut the door impresses, and so does its well-built cabin with top-notch levels of fit-finish. There’s a mix of soft-touch areas and hard plastics, with a higher percentage of the latter, but because the quality of materials used feels premium, buyers will not feel short-changed. And just like its exteriors, the quad design detailing is scattered all across the cabin, having their presence on nearly every element in some form or another.

    Unconventionally designed interiors with a mix of soft-touch materials and hard plastics.

    The slab-sided dashboard design is rather unconventional and what grabs your attention are the air-vents that are split into separate cubes (they operate as a single unit), in a bid to look different. The steering isn’t perfectly circular; it is flat on the top and bottom, and it feels great to grip, as do the column-mounted paddleshifters, similar to some supercars from the Ferrari stable. What’s unique about their placement is that, because they aren’t mounted on the steering, they don’t turn with the wheel like in most other cars, but remain fixed. The paddles themselves are quite tall in height for easy reach. Lurking behind the paddles is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which isn’t half as exciting to look at or in its operation. Some animations are crisp and drivers witness a large readout of the vehicle’s speed. On the whole, however, it feels a bit too basic and display options are far too limited.

    Adjusting the climate control or fan speed settings is an unnecessary two-step process.

    The flattish front seats feature a chocolate bar-like quad shaped stitching, and these are clad in part-leather and part-cloth. These seats are six-way electrically adjustable and are broad, accommodating and very comfortable. Uniquely, the front passenger seat also features height adjustment, but to adjust backrest recline you will need to operate an old-fashioned rotary knob, which isn’t the most convenient.

    Very comfortable front seats. Even passenger seat gets height adjustment.

    While living with this car, we did come across some niggles; for example, adjusting the cabin temperature is a two-step process – first you need to hit the shortcut button below the touchscreen and then access the climate control menu on the screen. The start-stop button requires a firm press to fire up the engine. And its left-hand-drive origins are glaringly evident in more places than one – the gear selector and engine start-stop button are placed closer to the passenger than the driver, the bonnet opening lever resides in the passenger footwell, and the fuse box occupies almost half of the area inside the glovebox.

    Usable space inside the glovebox is eaten by the fuse box.

    In the backseat, you will relish the sheer width of this cabin and its massive panoramic sunroof, which enhances the sense of space. What’s unique is that Citroën has plonked in three independent and identical rear seats, each having the ability to slide, recline and fold. This innovative and unique setup works best as a 5-seater, no doubt, but as a 4-seater, it isn’t ideal. Being confined to individual seats, outer passengers can’t spread out comfortably and make use of the empty space in the middle; an arm rest is missing too. Also, large passengers won’t find these seats as accommodating as the ones in the front.

    Each seat has the ability to individually recline, slide and fold.

    There’s plenty of cargo space as well and while the boot is large, at 580 litres, what is truly impressive is in-cabin storage, which Citroën says adds up to 33 litres. The door pockets, cubby holes and the phone tray are all really big and deep, and the centre console storage box is simple massive; thankfully, it’s illuminated, which makes it easy to find small items, especially when it’s dark.

    Cavernous boot has a flat loading area; it houses a full-size tyre underneath.


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