By Clive Funizwe
Brand reputation is not something we usually mention in our reviews because of the varying factors and its anecdotal nature in most cases. We will however state categorically that French cars are not synonymous with quality and longevity. This is something that sits outside of the scope of this review and we hope that the folks at Citroen, in this case, are having a look at and ensuring that it changes for the better. We say this because the C5 Aircross offers comfort levels and sophistication rarely found at this price point and it would be a shame if this car falls in the “sleeper” category.
As the line above has our confession of liking the car literally written all over it – let us start with the exterior design department by telling you why. It makes majority of its rivals look run-of-the-mill. The C5 Aircross does draw a lot of the exterior design elements from its sibling, the C3 Aircross. The overall design has road presence without resulting to an aggressive design language.
The interior doesn’t add to that of the C3 Aircross. It is aesthetically different in many ways with one or two hints telling you that these cars are siblings. The C5’s interior is spacious, well thought out and a comfortable space to be in. The use of materials is great in some areas and okay in some. Overall it is well put-together and as a result it does not give off a less than stellar feel to it. The super comfy seats, storage space that includes an illuminated center cubby-hole that can swallow up two 1 litre flasks and lots of snacks, rear seats that slide and recline are amongst the highlights of the interior. Where this car really shines, either than the gloss back trims which we will get to in a sec, is the ride quality. It is very – very quiet in here. Road noise isolation is very impressive and so is the suspension. This car rides like it’s on air-suspension. One has to be in it to truly understand how good it is.
If feeling cocooned is not enough, the C5 Aircross comes with some techie bits to further give you the feel of luxury and assist your driving experience. Driver assistant features include a blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, cruise control, vehicle stability control, lane departure alert with lane keep assist and steering control.
So, is it all good or are there aspects we didn’t like? Well one in particular but let us make a small case and maybe you can help us decide. A lot of car manufacturers are for-going tactile buttons for touch-buttons and some, like in this car, are not haptic. We are not particularly jumping for joy with the Citroen’s infotainment and what makes it worse is how it is operated. For a new model that has a crisp center driver display that is a breeze to use – the actual infotainment is complicated at the very least and counter intuitive. Buttons “outside” of the touch screen would normally be haptic or tactile – but the ones below the C5’s touch screen aren’t. These buttons operate the climate control – but act as a short cut to the sub-menu you need to operate after you gain access to it.
This is a trend that Citroen has followed and we are not particularly in support off. On the other hand – we just review cars, and we don’t make them. Maybe there is a reason why manufactures are going this route?
Before we digress too much, this is about the one thing we were not pleased with and it is not particularly a train smash unless you need to adjust the temperature at every 3rd traffic light and delete your nephews paired iPhone.
Drive and final word
All in all, we were very impressed by the C5 Aircross. When you factor in that this is entry level spec comes with the 1.6l turbo which churns out 121kW and a new 6-speed automatic transmission and it all starts at R474, 900 and includes a 5 Year 100 000km service plan and warranty, the value proposition becomes stronger and one that the prospective buyer should short-list.
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