You may take a few minutes to pronounce ‘Citroën’ the way the French do, but only a few seconds—even on broken roads—to realise how comfortable the C5 Aircross SUV is. The first car by the French carmaker for the Indian market is sure to surprise you in more ways than one.
It’s an art car. The C5 Aircross doesn’t look flashy or too ahead of its time; it, instead, has a very subtle design language—almost timeless (just like good artwork). There aren’t many ‘dynamic’ design character lines on the exterior, simply because it doesn’t need any. The ‘double chevron’ Citroën logo at the front, full and clean body on the sides, and rectangular 3D LED modules at the rear look just right.
German cars are definitely luxurious, as are French. The plastic quality, leather, fabric and seats, everything belongs to a luxury car. The seating position is high (befitting an SUV), the horizontal lines on the dashboard make the cabin appear wider than it actually is, and there are modern touches such as the 8-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital cluster. Colours used inside the cabin (shades of grey) make it a kind of ‘happy place’ to be in. Even though the C5 Aircross is a big SUV, the space at the rear isn’t as good as you may have expected (at least for tall adults). The rear seating area, however, has three demarcated seats, which do kind of make it look comfortable. The panoramic glass roof (on the Shine variant) makes the cabin appear bigger than it actually is.
The C5 Aircross is being offered only in a diesel option: the 1997cc engine that produces peak power of 177PS and torque of 400Nm. It has the start-stop fuel-saving technology, and while like all diesel engines it produces a lot of sound, the cabin is quiet.
The C5 Aircross is quite a comfortable car; in fact, it’s far more comfortable than all entry-level German luxury cars (which may be more expensive and definitely smaller). The reason is what Citroën calls as the ‘flying carpet effect’. Ordinary suspension has a shock absorber, a spring and a mechanical bump stop; the C5 Aircross has ‘progressive hydraulic cushions’ that absorb large bumps—at the same time, on certain Indian road conditions (such as inches-deep bumps) the suspension does produce a ‘thud’ sound. However, overall, the C5 Aircross kind of ‘glides over’ most road surface imperfections. The engine’s power delivery is very smooth and instant—so you never really feel low on power at any time.
While it gets technologies such as park assist, coffee break alert, blind spot alert, hill start assist and so on, the C5 Aircross is not a ‘connected car’ in the same league as almost all Mercedes-Benz vehicles or even a Hyundai Creta or a MG Hector. A recent Deloitte survey had noted that there is a positive consumer perception of connected vehicles that appears to be edging up in the Indian market, so offering the C5 Aircross as a ‘ connected car’ will be a better idea.
The Citroën C5 Aircross is extremely comfortable, it’s got good cabin space, and the cabin itself is plush, but to term this SUV as ‘a class apart’, it needs to be priced about Rs 20 lakh (ex-showroom) for the entry-level variant.
Engine: 1997cc diesel
Power: 174bhp (130kW) @ 3750rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 2000rpm
Fuel efficiency: 18.6 km/litre
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Fuel tank: 52.5 litres
Length: 4,500 mm
Width: 2,099 mm
Wheelbase: 2,730 mm
(Its price will be announced in March)
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