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
£34,295 - £36,770
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

It's a large and practical SUV, but the Citroen C5 Aircross can also be very affordable to run, because it's offered as a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid. Hidden under its curvy bodywork, there's an efficient petrol engine, an electric motor and a battery pack that holds enough charge to cover most commutes without any tailpipe emissions – as long as you can charge regularly. This also makes it an ideal SUV for cutting company-car tax bills. 

It shares its powertrain with other models from the Stellantis Group, such as the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid, DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE and Vauxhall Grandland Hybrid. Like them, it uses a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor, producing a total of 222bhp. The motor is powered by a 13.2kWh battery. It's worth noting there's no high-performance 296bhp version of the C5, as it's intended solely to tick the 'comfortable family car' box.  

Citroen's designers haven't gone out of their way to differentiate the hybrid C5 Aircross from the petrol and diesel-engined versions; the biggest change is a set of blue badges denoting that it's a hybrid. There are the same thin LED daytime running lights at the leading edge of the bonnet, large Citroen badges and prominent wheelarches with plenty of plastic cladding. It's a striking look, helping the C5 Aircross to stand out from more conservative SUVs.

The hybrid technology means it emits just 32g/km of CO2 and has a 34-mile electric range, so it falls into the 12% for Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band for company-car tax, regardless of which of the two trim levels (Shine or C-Series Edition) 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 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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