We started 2022 with a luxurious roadtrip in the Citroen C5 Aircross…
Another year is down, a fresh new calendar has popped up on our desks and we have just grown older! With the pandemic still in play, we are hopeful about the new year. And what better way to begin it than with a luxe road trip?! I knew the plan and the car to have for the 2022 starter run. A drive to the hills in the Citroen C5 Aircross, as perfect as that!
I have been craving to take the C5 to the twisty mountain roads, since the time I had had my first drive of the vehicle. Having joined soon by a team of three and the Citroen fuelled to the brim, I set out on my first road trip of the year.
The Mission And Its Plan:
The mission obviously was to indulge in the luxury and comfort on offer on the C5 while driving around various roads and even some mild terrains for that matter. The plan was to start early in the morning, drive around till mid-day through the urban jungles, highways, and some countryside, to finally enter the hills around mid-day. The hills have some smooth winding roads for an extensive driving exercise and dynamics test with the C5. As the Cherry on the cake, we would even scale some terrains with this crossover, something which would not be an everyday affair for its owners, just to find out how well it fares.
C5 Aircross: What Are You Putting Your Money On?
The C5 Aircross slots in as a desirable entry-level luxury crossover. There are multiple things to like about this vehicle.
- Performance and driving experience:
The C5 Aircross is powered by a massive 2.0L diesel engine churning out 177hp and 400 Nm. The transmission on offer is an 8-speed torque converter unit from Aisin. The combination offers desirable performance at all times. It cannot be called ‘sporty’ in the strict sense, but you get generous low-end grunt and the further build-up is quite enjoyable as well. There sure is some real meat between 1800 and 4000 rpms. With four onboard, I had a great time driving the C5 uphill. The shifts are smooth and come handy when desired. Everytime you wish for a downshift, it comes to you at the dab of your right toe! The paddle shifters add more spice to this.
Highway runs were highly engaging with the C5. The SUV has a ‘Sport’ mode that would give you a ‘Sporty-ish’ performance. I wouldn’t call it extremely exciting, but is great for a 1.4 ton diesel crossover. The vehicle builds up speeds effortlessly and feels quite planted at 3 digit speeds. The overall stability and road manners are well sorted, despite the ‘comfort-spec’ suspension setup.
We had to drive the car through tight packed cities and slow-paced traffic for quite some time. Despite being 4500 mm in length, the C5 felt quite nimble and manageable. The steering feels light and easy to play around with. Despite its size, the C5’s shell feels quite predictable and easy to manouvre into tight spaces.
- Features and cabin livability:
The cabin liveability on Citroen C5 Aircross is amazing. There is every necessary piece of equipment on offer, which you would need to have a peaceful, comfortable, luxurious ride. The four of us felt no discomfort and had no complaints at the end of the 7 hour drive. The seats are super-plush and supportive. All of us being of average builds, found them cozy and luxurious.
The large panoramic sunroof offered a wonderful experience up the hill. The three passengers had a great time gazing at the sky through the tinted glass roof, as I continued to pilot the C5 around.
The C5 has an 8 inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The overall audio quality is decent but is not anything fancy. But all the four of us had no complaints on the quality or clarity. The touchscreen interface is simple and well laid-out. There are physical controls for basic audio functions but these I think, would demand some time getting used to , courtesy of their design and placement.
The rear occupants were around 6 ft tall and could fit in comfortably amidst the luxury offered by the rear bench. The rear AC vents and charging ports were of great convenience. However, there is no wireless charger on offer, but never mind, there are a few USB ports to charge your smartphone.
- Comfort and handling:
Ride quality is something that the C5 Aircross excels at. This crossover is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable entry-level luxury SUVs (read crossovers) in business today. The credit goes to the suspension setup on this vehicle, which the manufacturer prefers to call Progressive Hydraulic Cushions. This is in essence, an improved version of Citroen’s signature Hydropneumatic suspension.
The C5 feels planted and cozy on uneven patches and rough roads. Almost none of the roughness outside makes its way into the cabin. You can take this car over massive speed breakers without the fear of developing a sore back. To add to this is the cabin insulation and the way it isolates the occupants from everything outside. No amount of noise from the massive 2.0-liter oil burner (which by the way is quite refined for its size) manages to seep into the cabin and break the serenity inside.
However, the best part is that the ride quality doesn’t come at the cost of body control or dynamics. The C5 Aircross offers mature and composed road manners. The soft, comfortable suspension doesn’t essentially bring in floaty behavior around corners or on high-speed highway runs. This SUV handles speeds with much composure. The Kodiaq used to be the most known for dynamics in the segment. Honestly, I believe it would still have the title to its credit. However, the pre-facelift Skoda SUV has now been phased out and Skoda India is now gearing up to launch the facelift here. The C5 slots in somewhere on the upper end of the list, in terms of overall dynamics. There is nothing exciting about the way it handles, but things are well-sorted.
- Taking it to the terrains:
We know that this is not something everyone would be doing with their C5 Aircrosses. Crossovers like this are mostly confined to urban and highway uses. But what if you finally decide to go on some slight trails with your C5? Well, we decided to explore this as we had some great views ahead and a handsome trail leading to them.
To begin with, the vehicle’s diesel engine impresses you with its torque. The delivery feels equally optimized for both highways and slight terrains. The trail ahead of us was not intense, nor too demanding. It, however, had fair gradient fluctuations involved, something which was well taken care of by the C5’s suspension and ground clearance. The crossover also has a set of selectable traction modes, which would do every bit possible to ensure optimum traction on all terrains.
As it turned out, the auto (highway) mode has enough traction for almost all road and rough road conditions. However, a few minutes into the hill climb, the terrain became less gripping. There were small stones and loose gravel around and these somehow wanted me to switch to one of the off-road modes. The throttle response and delivery in the off-road mode are so set to offer maximum traction on these surfaces.
We were soon convinced that the C5 could climb, but what astonished us was the comfort it delivered inside while doing so! If I might say, the last time I had such composure inside while climbing loose hills, was inside a luxury SUV worth 50+ lakh! The Progressive Hydraulic Cushions do a great job in isolating the occupants well from the rut outside.
After a climb of around 15 minutes, through some decent ruts, we were finally there. The first glimpse of the mountains, greenery, and skies in 2022 was right before us! The C5 then struck some tempting poses for the camera, flaunting its smooth French lines against the crisp, dull peaks and smooth vivid sky. That was it, we had just completed our first road trip of 2022. Hopes high, seatbelts fastened for even more drives this year, we wish all of you a very happy new year!