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

    The 1,997cc turbo-diesel impresses with its refinement. Engine sounds filtering inside the cabin are almost negligible, and with no typical vibrations or clatter to speak of, the uninformed could even mistake this motor for a petrol. This motor carries forward its refined character throughout the rev range, and it is only closer to the redline that you will hear a bit of the diesel clatter. While still on the topic of refinement, its sound insulation needs a special mention – thanks to the double-glazed windshield, among other things, the C5’s occupants are isolated from the outside world’s ruckus. And because all the other sounds are so well insulated and the cabin is so quiet, tyre roar gets amplified at higher speeds.

    Codenamed DW10 FC, this 2.0-litre engine produces 177hp and 400Nm of torque. Now while these figures might seem par for the course, especially in a vehicle that weights 1,685kg, the beauty of this motor lies in the smoothness with which it performs. What Citroën has done really well is married this engine to the Aisin-derived 8-speed automatic transmission, with which it works in perfect synergy.

    The engine’s flattish torque curve, from 1,750-2,500rpm, coupled with short gearing make the C5 amply responsive with almost no delay in power delivery. Torque supply is aplenty, and so closely stacked are its gears that even while pottering around town in a high gear, it responds well when you squeeze the throttle to close a gap in traffic, without getting caught off-guard.

    For the most part, shifts are barely perceptible and with a light foot these upshift at around 1,800rpm. While there is a full manual mode on offer, it will automatically upshift as it nears the redline or downshift when the revs fall too low.

    Column-mounted paddleshifters remain fixed and don’t turn with the steering, like in most cars.

    The C5 also gets paddleshifters and these provide a degree of manual control over the transmission. However, the shifts aren’t very quick, and because this auto is clever enough by itself, you’ll seldom find the need to use these.

    In addition to the Normal mode, there are two other drive modes on offer – Eco and Sport. While there is a small difference between Eco and Sport, in terms of part-throttle responsiveness (the latter feels a bit quicker), shift from Normal to either of these two modes and the difference is barely perceptible.

    Like many other cars, under full throttle, all these modes are over-ridden, and the C5 throws up similar acceleration timings on our testing equipment.

    While this motor’s butter-smooth power supply makes it a comfortable tourer, it also packs in strong performance up its sleeves. Drivers with a lead foot will witness torque steer in the lower gears, as the front wheels struggle to put the power down and the traction control light blinks incessantly on the instrument cluster. Flat-out, the C5 can accelerate from 0-100kph in just 9.61sec. Its rolling acceleration times of 5.89sec and 7.71sec from 20-80kph and 40-100kph, respectively, are equally impressive, making it significantly quicker than rivals like the Jeep Compass and Hyundai Tucson.


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