Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid engines, drive & performance
Performance from the 222bhp petrol-electric engine is strong, but in other respects the C5 Aircross isn't that great to drive
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Having looked at how much the C5 Hybrid costs to run and how to charge it up, it's now time to ask what it's like to drive. Many people will associate large Citroens like this with smooth, quiet and comfortable cruising ability rather than razor-sharp handling on twisty roads, and Citroen agrees.
The company wears its 'Advanced Comfort' philosophy on its sleeve, the idea being that a comforting ride and squidgy seats make for a relaxing driving experience. The C5 Aircross does this up to a point – at speed, it glides and floats over bumps, but at the next moment, especially at lower speeds, it’ll crash over broken tarmac and potholes. It’s very inconsistent in this respect.
You’re vaguely aware of the automatic gearbox shuffling between its eight speeds, but it’s all very smooth. Using the steering-wheel-mounted paddles is largely a waste of time, as is selecting the car’s Sport mode, because the tweaks it makes fail to make the C5 feel remotely sporty.
Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
Straight-line performance is good and the surge of torque from the electric motor when the battery is charged makes the C5 Aircross Hybrid feel faster than its official 0-62mph time of 8.7 seconds would suggest. Top speed is 140mph, which will be of interest only if you're a frequent visitor to German Autobahns.
The C5 Hybrid is quite a heavy car and Citroen's efforts to make it ride smoothly (see above) mean it can't offer the sharpest of responses when tackling a twisty country road. The sprightly MINI Countryman hybrid is far more accomplished in this regard, and even the Citroen's close cousin the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid makes a better effort.
The steering is the main problem: it’s light at low speeds, which makes manoeuvring easy. But it doesn’t get any weightier as your speed increases, nor does it offer much feedback. It’s not all bad, though; the car is extremely quiet, even at motorway speeds, and when you’re driving around town, the engine and electric motors cut in and out almost imperceptibly.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe 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
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingThe C5 Aircross Hybrid returns similarly impressive numbers to other large plug-in hybrid family cars
- 3Running costsAs with most plug-in hybrids, the C5 Aircross ensures company-car users enjoy ultra-low tax rates
- 4Engines, drive & performance - currently readingPerformance from the 222bhp petrol-electric engine is strong, but in other respects the C5 Aircross isn't that great to drive
- 5Interior & comfortThe C5 Aircross Hybrid has comfortable seats and a stylish interior, with plenty of kit for your money
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe C5 hybrid offers less total carrying and towing capacities than its petrol and diesel stablemates, but remains a pretty versatile choice
- 7Reliability & safetyThe C5 Aircross is a pretty new model for the time being, but the signs are good for both safety and reliability