[This article was first published on www.sgcarmart.com]
With innovative new suspension technology, the new Citroen C5 Aircross delivers a comfortable, cohesive and very likeable SUV experience.
10 Jul, 2019
When we think of hyper comfortable cars, two brands usually pop into mind - Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce. We have of course heard the term 'magic carpet ride' bandied around when it comes to these two brands. Well, now Citroen is also staking its claim, with its brand new C5 Aircross purportedly delivering a 'flying carpet effect'.
The C5 Aircross is Citroen's new flagship model
You may be thinking, "Citroen? What the hell are they thinking?" However, the French brand actually has much more of a legitimate claim that you may imagine. Back in 1955, Citroen introduced the revolutionary DS, which, among other things, featured the world-first application of a hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension system.
This technology was subsequently licensed by Rolls-Royce and used in the Silver Shadow that was launched in 1965. Mercedes-Benz, too, developed its own version of this system, which it calls 'Active Body Control'.
So, where suspension technology is concerned, Citroen actually knows a thing or two. However, such a technology can be costly, and high costs aren't something a brand like Citroen can really swallow. So, the new C5 Aircross features a new suspension innovation - Progressive Hydraulic Cushions.
The Progressive Hydraulic Cushions deliver ample on-road comfort
This new technology adds two progressive hydraulic cushions to the conventional suspension system. Effectively, the system has two different behaviours depending on the road surface. On slight compression and rebound, the springs and shock absorbers work together to control vertical movement without the hydraulic stop.
During significant compression and rebound (i.e. big bumps in the road), the hydraulic compression and rebound stops will gradually slow down movement at the end of the spring's travel, absorbing and dissipating the energy.
The 1.6-litre powerplant pairs with a eight-speed transmission to deliver a smooth and refined drive
What does that translate to in the real world? Well, the C5 Aircross certainly rides well for a 1,430kg SUV. The car neutralises bumps in the road effectively, negating the bounciness we tend to associate with new modern SUVs. While it's no Mercedes or Rolls-Royce, it's definitely comfortable (more comfortable than this writer expected).
The C5 Aircross is powered by a 1.6-litre engine producing 178bhp and 250Nm of torque - not powerful, but sufficient for day to day driving. It's a pretty smooth drivetrain, too. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts neatly when left to its own devices, so there's no more of that clunkiness associate with some of the older models' automated manual gearbox.
Complains? The brakes are quite mushy and lack bite, so you want to give yourself extra braking distance. Also, while not awful, our fuel economy figure of 11.9km/L is someway off Citroen's claimed 17.5km/L.
What about the rest of the car?
The rest of the car is surprisingly holistic and well put-together. There's more space in the cabin than you'd expect, with rear passengers enjoying pretty good legroom (the 2,730mm wheelbase helps). The 580-litre boot can be expanded to 670 litres by sliding the rear bench forward, and 1,630 litres with the rear bench folded.
The 580-litre boot can be expanded to 670 litres by sliding the rear seats forward
The C5 Aircross also features something Citroen calls Advanced Comfort seat, combining broad cushions and seat backs with high density foam.
The car also shares a number of technological touches with its Peugeot brethren, notably the digital instrument cluster and the 8.0-inch infotainment display. It certainly helps raise the overall sense of quality and modernity within the cabin.
Is it supposed to be quirky?
Visually, the C5 Aircross is interestingly styled without being over-the-top exuberant (unlike the C4 Cactus and its air bumps, for example). There are still some cheeky details, such as some red trimming on the exterior, but overall it's a surprisingly mature-looking family SUV.
The cabin is sleek, modern, spacious and practical
Well-packaged, well-engineered and keenly priced ($126,999 as of 8 July 2019), the C5 Aircross is certainly an attractive new SUV offering.
With the new Progressive Hydraulic Cushions, Citroen wants to achieve the same pristine ride quality offered with its hydropneumatic system, without the same accompanying cost. In practice, it's not quite as sophisticated, but that isn't shocking considering it's not quite as expensive or complex.
The new C5 Aircross combines ample practicality, good on-road comfort and an affable personality
However, moving forward, Citroen will equip all of its cars with this new system. It delivers a good level of comfort and at a price point that makes more sense for the brand, and you can't really fault that.
It shows the brand consciously making strides for improvement, and it proves that, yes, the brand definitely knows a thing or two about making comfortable cars.
[Source article: www.sgcarmart.com/news/review.php?AID=1494]