After passing judgment on Citroen’s C3 Aircross a few months back, Mark Stone takes its sibling the C5 for a spin.

YOU’LL either love it or hate it, but the one thing you can’t do is ignore Citroen’s new C5 Aircross. It just won’t let you!

It’s taken a while for Citroen to introduce their equivalent to the Peugeot 5008, but it has to be said the new C5 Aircross is mightily impressive. A combination of Citroen’s latest styling with a healthy dose of the starship Enterprise, to describe the new C5 SUV as big and bold is a serious understatement.

Forestry Journal:

From the oversized helical gears badge sitting large and loud between the reverse-stacked LED headlights to the opera-style running illumination, split-level grilles and orange-surround intakes, this is a vehicle designed for maximum impact. A deeply scalloped bonnet, high-cut arches, 19” diamond cut alloys with 205/55 eco rubber, a deep waistline, orange roof rails, chrome-surround windows, tailpipe embellishments and its deep, foot-gesture-triggered tailgate all combine to announce the C5 Aircross with a triumphant exclamation mark. Even the suspension exceeds the norm, with MacPherson struts and trailing arms playing second fiddle to what Citroen spectacularly describe as ‘progressive hydraulic cushions’.

Inside the cabin, Citroen’s free-ranging design continues. Trimmed in a combination of fabric and blocked leather along with nappa leather, the firm seating has close to a three-tone cubist effect. Hard-textured surfaces cover the dash and door panels, while a panoramic sunroof means the interior is flooded with natural light. Just behind the squared-off leather steering wheel is the 12.3” multi-display instrument panel, a rotary switch allowing the driver to select from a whole assortment of digital readouts.

Forestry Journal: The sizable cabin combines space and ‘space age’.The sizable cabin combines space and ‘space age’.

This works in conjunction with the centrally mounted 8” touchscreen that controls climate, satnav, radio and media, car settings and all other controls along with Mirror Link, Apple Car Play and Android Audio, with an inductive phone charger underneath. Space and stowage should suit most owners, with large door pockets, a sizable glovebox, a vast centre console bin, plus oddments trays adding to the 1,630 litres of cargo capacity and 1,630 kg of towing ability. One of the vehicle’s major advantages is the adaptability of the seating and the box-like shape of the interior, the shape noticeably conducive to being able to pack the car to its maximum.

Power is derived from two of PSA’s PureTech petrol units (namely a 1.2 and a 1.6) or three BlueHDi diesels ranging from 1.5 to 2-litre, the largest of the two as tested. Delivering 174 hp and 400 Nm of torque while a manual transmission is offered on all engines, it’s the eight-speed automatic that will in all probability prove to be the most popular, the sport and paddle change sequential options allowing for the best of both worlds. Mated to the now familiar PSA front wheels’ traction control, while not an off-roader by any means, the optional modes of snow, mud and sand increase the Citroen’s ability to venture onto more demanding surfaces and road conditions with a far greater degree of security and stability.

Forestry Journal:

With an initial range of approximately 400 miles per 53-litre tank of standard diesel, general motoring will see a maintainable average mpg of 39.9, slightly more on extended, set-throttle journeys. As per most Citroens, the new C5 Aircross is undemanding to drive, a trait that all French drivers more or less demand. The electric power steering is light to a degree it can at times feel slightly overly so, especially at speed, while the tyre noise can at times become obtrusive – though this is down to the actual rubber itself.

Forestry Journal: The driver has over five bold digital displays to choose from.The driver has over five bold digital displays to choose from.

In the main the engine is refined, though when pressed it can become surprisingly raucous, the auto transmission having a tendency to hold onto lower gears for slightly longer than required.

The 10.4 m turning circle combined with the 360-degree camera and radar system ensures manoeuvring the car is trouble-free, while the all-round view is unrestricted. Ride quality and cabin ambiance are reasonably refined with only fast cornering inducing detectable body roll.

Forestry Journal: The two-litre diesel option provides power and economy.The two-litre diesel option provides power and economy.

Like all SUVs that offer limited off-road capabilities, the suspension is a road-orientated compromise, although rough tracks and relatively level fields can be embarked upon with surprising and enjoyable enthusiasm. Handling is comparatively neutral with all-round general performance being more than up to whichever job is asked of it, the larger diesel engine still remaining the power unit of choice for those seeking all-round running, working capacity and economy.

The new C5 Aircross comes in at £23,225 for the entry-level Feel model, rising to £32,725 for the basic Flair Plus. Add a few extras – albeit the standard list of equipment is extensive – and the model seen here still works out at what is actually quite a reasonable £33,770.

Overtly French (one of this new model’s appealing factors), over the years Citroen has always been able to offer buyers models that combine a very distinct style with incredible practicality. And while the legendary load-hauling, mile-munching Safari models of old no longer figure in Citroen’s current train of thought, the new C5 Aircross is at least a nod in the right direction. Vive la difference!


Model: Citroen C5 Aircross Flair Plus
Price: £33,770 (as tested)
Engine: 2-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel
Transmission: 8-speed automatic


Top speed: 131 mph
CO2 emissions – g/km: 124
Economy – combined mpg: 39.9 average (as tested)

Forestry Journal remains dedicated to bringing you all the latest news and views from across our industry, plus up-to-date information on the impacts of COVID-19.

Please support us by subscribing to our print edition, delivered direct to your door, from as little at £69 for 1 year – or consider a digital subscription from just £1 for 3 months.

To arrange, follow this link:

Thanks – and stay safe.