The quirky styling isn’t reserved for city boulevards only. You can do some safari with the C5 Aircross. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
The quirky styling isn’t reserved for city boulevards only. You can do some safari with the C5 Aircross.  Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

The C5 Aircross we have for a six-month test is the biggest and plushest Citroën money can buy, and the Shine specification of our car the swankiest.

In city conditions the C5 Aircross retains the practicality and agility so central to the urban crossover experience with a cosy ride, agility and capacious cabin. The time arrived to point its spectacular nose at the countryside to see what’s what.

Its 121kW and 240Nm is filtered through a six-speed automatic gearbox and to its front wheels. This might sound inadequate for farm road jaunts when compared to the many all-wheel offerings but it is in fact a useful mechanical configuration in rustic areas where its good damping helps iron out bumpy gravel roads.

The C5 Aircross passed the tarmac kilometres test route with good impressions. There’s a fawning flattery in how the dampers also soaked up the craggy back roads found outside Krugersdorp on our way to the North West.

With the cruise control engaged it’ll warn you if you are too close to other cars, while a lane-keep function gently nudges the car back into a lane should you straddle the centre line.

Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension uses hydraulic buffers at either end of the suspension setup to all but eliminate bounce from the car’s drive. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension uses hydraulic buffers at either end of the suspension setup to all but eliminate bounce from the car’s drive. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

It rides satisfactorily and the steering has the right shade of accuracy and liveliness when you speed up.

There’s a "sport" setting but you can’t select varied damper or steering settings. Leave it in auto and the transmission does its thing well or you can use manual mode to have a bit more fun with zippier shifts as the gearbox digs deeper into the engine revolutions.

How it grips corners makes it apparent that Citroën has been in cahoots with its motorsport wing to craft tangible sportiness, which becomes one more ace up the C5 Aircross sleeve when you leave the tarred roads and hit the gravel.

On the slippery surfaces this French crossover gobbles up the dirt with impressive alacrity on its front paws. It feels nimble and the effortless torque of its 1.6l four cylinder turbo motor makes easy work of uphills through valleys.

Body roll is well suppressed and it tempts you to flick it between tree-lined corners with barely more than a reaction from its traction nanny. Its chunky high-profile rubber also mitigates against easy punctures.

The C5 Aircross is sold in two derivatives with the flagship Shine model equipped with features like a dash cam, reversing camera, and lane departure warning. Picture: SUPPLIED
The C5 Aircross is sold in two derivatives with the flagship Shine model equipped with features like a dash cam, reversing camera, and lane departure warning. Picture: SUPPLIED

Despite the lack of 4WD offered, and wisely so as you don’t need the all-wheel traction with its weight disadvantage in a vehicle not entirely designed to crawl up mountains, the cushy ride and decent ground clearance of this French crossover vehicle opens up travel to some truly breathtaking holiday spots.

So far our Citroën C5 Aircross is proving a good choice as a long-term companion.

 

Citroën C5 Aircross Shine 1.6 turbo auto

Tech Specs

 

ENGINE

Type: Four-cylinder petrol turbo

Capacity: 1.6l

Power: 121kW

Torque: 240Nm

 

TRANSMISSION

Type: Six-speed auto

 

DRIVETRAIN

Type: Front-wheel drive

 

PERFORMANCE

Top speed: 189km/h

0-100km/h: 10.5 seconds

Fuel Consumption: 7.9l/100km (claimed); 11.3l /100km (as tested)

Emissions: 179g/km

 

STANDARD FEATURES

Panoramic opening glass roof, automatic headlights, automatic headlamp levelling, front fog lights with cornering, LED daytime running lights, automatic windscreen wipers, cruise control, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, ABS brakes, electronic stability control, six airbags, keyless operation, driver attention alert, tyre pressure monitoring, dashcam, blind spot monitoring, Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension, parking aid with reversing camera, climate control, digital instrument cluster, touchscreen infotainment system, half leather seat trim.

 

Warranty: Five years/100,000km

Service plan: Five years/100,000km

Price: R524,900

Lease*: R11,247 per month

* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit

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