In-depth reviews

Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid review

The C5 Aircross Hybrid is yet another option for company-car users after a plug-in SUV. It's cheap to run, but beaten by rivals in some respects

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
£33,565 - £36,050
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Distinctive design inside and out
  • Reasonably practical and comfortable
  • Typically low plug-in running costs

Cons

  • Inconsistent ride quality
  • Reduced towing capacity
  • Expensive for private buyers
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid34 miles166mpg32g/km

The Citroen C5 Aircross is a family SUV that's available as a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid, which makes it an attractive choice for those in the company-car market. It follows a very familiar formula, with a small electric motor and battery that's able to drive the car without the petrol engine coming on, which ensures low tax rates and running costs.

The C5 Aircross Plug-in Hybrid uses the same technology as the Peugeot 3008, DS 7 Crossback and Vauxhall Grandland X, as all of these models use the same underlying chassis and engine technology.

This means it has a total of 222bhp, coming from a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor using a 13.2kWh battery. Its sister models are also available with a 296bhp version of this but the C5 doesn't come with this. It would be at odds with Citroen's affordable image and given the car's focus on comfort rather than sportiness, we don't mind that at all.

If you like the way the petrol and diesel-engined C5 Aircross looks, the good news is that the hybrid is pretty much the same. Distinctive features including the sleek running lights along the top of the bonnet, big lower headlights, a prominent Citroen badge and chunky plastic cladding running right down the sides give it a very striking look, which you might love or hate. It certainly stands out.

The hybrid technology means it emits just 32g/km of CO2 and has a 34-mile electric range, so it falls into the 11% for Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band for company-car tax, regardless of which of the two trim levels (Shine or Shine Plus) that you pick. The C5 Aircross Hybrid is practical, too, with only a small loss of boot space compared to the diesel and petrol versions, and it has comfortable seats and lots of room for adult passengers in the back seats.

Previous Citroens, and other models in the range, are comfortable at all times but the C5 Aircross Hybrid can't quite match them. At higher speeds, the car is a lot smoother over bumps, but at lower speeds, it tends to crash into potholes and jitter over broken tarmac – it’s all very inconsistent. It doesn't make up for that with good handling either, as the light steering makes manoeuvring easy at low speeds, but it doesn’t get any weightier as your speed increases, nor does it offer much feedback.

So if you're looking for a satisfying driving experience, the closely related Peugeot 3008 and – even more so – the recently refreshed MINI Countryman hybrid are both better choices. The C5 Aircross is also far from the cheapest plug-in hybrid family SUV, but that will probably concern private buyers more than it will company-car users. For the latter in particular, the big and distinctively styled French car is still worth a look. For a more detailed look at the Citroen C5 Hybrid, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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