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Driven: Citroen owners first target for C5 Aircross

Practicality, features, value to propel Citroen C5 Aircross sales in buoyant segment

19 Jul 2019

LOYAL Citroen customers will be the first target for the French brand’s new C5 Aircross mid-size SUV, which is expected to become its volume-seller in Australia following its launch among the Bastille Day celebrations in Sydney last week.


Reflecting this, and the local market’s ‘insatiable’ appetite for mid-size SUVs, two specification grades will be offered, opening with the Feel at $39,990 plus on-road costs, with the top-spec Shine – expected to account for the vast majority of sales – priced $4000 higher.


Both variants are powered by a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine developing 121kW of power and 240Nm of torque, driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.


Citroen Australia product planning manager Justin Narayan told GoAuto the C5 Aircross was expected to be of particular interest to existing customers looking to switch from their C4 Picasso people-movers, Mitsubishi ASX-based C4 Aircross small SUVs and the C5 mid-size sedans and wagons.


GoAuto understands the opening price for the Feel is aimed at attracting C4 Aircross owners for whom $40,000 could form a psychological barrier.


A standout feature of the C5 Aircross is the three individual second-row seats that slide and fold independently, enabling the segment-leading 580-litre boot capacity to expand up to 720L with the rear seats in their forward-most position. Up to 1630L of capacity is available with all the rear seats folded flat.


Mr Narayan said this segment-straddling level of practicality would appeal to people transitioning from people-movers while offering a point of difference for existing SUV owners and people migrating from sedans and wagons.


Citroen’s motorsport-derived but comfort-oriented ‘progressive hydraulic cushion’ suspension technology is standard on the C5 Aircross and is expected to satisfy fans of the brand’s now-discontinued hydro-pneumatic suspension, although the full suite of ‘Citroen Advanced Comfort’ features are reserved for the top-spec Shine variant.


Although he would not be drawn on sales projections, in terms of conquest sales, Mr Narayan told GoAuto he identified Japanese and South Korean models such as the Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage as primary competitors for the C5 Aircross rather than other European-badged models such as the Renault Koleos and Volkswagen Tiguan. Next to sister brand Peugeot, the C5 Aircross sits between the five-seat 3008 and seven-seat 5008 SUV models.


As such, the C5 Aircross has a long standard equipment list, starting with a 12.3-inch customisable digital instrument panel and features such road sign recognition linked with the cruise control so the driver can quickly switch to the prevailing speed limit.


Media and other features are accessed via an 8.0-inch central touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink smartphone connectivity plus native satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio and Bluetooth phone with audio streaming.


The central display also provides vision from the reversing camera with a 180-degree top-view facility, while front and rear parking sensors are also standard. A pair of USB sockets and two 12V power outlets are provided.


Keyless entry with push-button start are also included along with automatic headlights and wipers, a self-dimming interior mirror and LED daytime running lights. The headlights and fog lights, however, are halogen.


Rounding out the kit list of the entry Feel grade are dual-zone automatic air-conditioning with rear air vents and an activated charcoal cabin filter, rear privacy glass, power-folding side mirrors, ambient interior lighting and an electric tailgate with foot-activated hands-free opening.


Cosmetically, the Feel comes with 18-inch alloy wheels and a space-saver spare, roof rails and Silica Grey cloth upholstery.


Apart from wireless phone charging, electric driver’s seat adjustment and aluminium pedals, upgrades to the Shine variant largely consist of features related to Citroen’s holistic Advanced Comfort. For example, the larger 19-inch wheels are narrower than the 18-inch items on the Feel.


Citroen turned to the bed-making industry for inspiration and technology to use in its advanced comfort seats, including a 15mm layer of memory foam. Shine variants also cut interior noise through the use of laminated acoustic glass. Part-leather upholstery is also used.


Standard safety and driver-assist equipment includes autonomous emergency braking (active at up to 85km/h), forward collision warning (above 30km/h), blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assistance, driver fatigue monitoring and six airbags. The cruise control is a passive rather than camera- or radar-based adaptive system.


All three rear seats have top tether anchors for child seats with the outer two also having Isofix connection points.


Citroen provides a four-mode ‘grip control’ system with hill descent control in lieu of an all-wheel-drive option, although ground clearance of the C5 Aircross is high for the segment, at 230mm.


For simplicity, a modest seven colour combinations are offered in Australia compared with the 30 available in Europe, with metallic options priced at $690 and a three-coat pearl white costing $1050. Apart from colour and a range of dealer-fit accessories, there are no factory options on the C5 Aircross.


Citroen provides a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, five-year roadside assistance and a five-year capped-price service program.


2019 Citroen C5 Aircross pricing*

Feel (a) $39,990
Shine (a) $43,990

*Excludes on-road costs

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