Citroen C5 Aircross Review 2022

Citroen C5 Aircross At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Citroen C5 Aircross is the perfect antidote to family SUVs that prioritise a sporty feel over anything else. It's strong focus on comfort means the big Citroen is refined and smooth on most roads, with a good range of engines, What's more, it's very practical, and pretty affordable too. Rivals are sharper to drive, however, and the infotainment is a bit of a weak point.

+Very practical. Comfortable thanks to extra foam in seats and Progressive Hydraulic Cushions. Three individually sliding and folding rear seats good for child seats.

-Soft suspension makes it less assured on corners than a Peugeot 3008. Fiddly infotainment. No four-wheel drive.

New prices start from £35,105, brokers can source from £23,445
Insurance Groups are between 17–33
On average it achieves 73% of the official MPG figure

To make a splash in a market that includes the Nissan Qashqai, SEAT Ateca and Kia Sportage, you have to do something a little unusual. Especially when you're as late to the family SUV party as Citroen is with its C5 Aircross.

Citroen says it market research reveals that, while SUV buyers love their cars, they do have their frustrations. Practicality is one: often, cars of this ilk aren't as practical as you might expect. Comfort is another. With manufacturers focusing on appearance and a sporty driving experience, something has to be sacrificed - and that's often things like ride quality.


The Citroen C5 Aircross does things differently, in a way that we're very used to from the quirky French brand. Highlights include a 15mm layer of thick, mattress-like foam on the seats. In the back, meanwhile, there are three individual seats that can slide, fold or recline to create a space that suits.

The result is an interior that's very practical, with plenty of head and legroom for passengers in the front and rear. Boot space can range from 580 to 720 litres depending on the position of the rear seats, increasing to 1630 if you drop them flat (an easy process to do). That's a considerably bigger boot than rivals, and even bigger than the Citroen C4 Spacetourer MPV. The rear seat is significantly wider than in the related Peugeot 3008.

There's also a trick new suspension system which uses Citroen's Progressive Hydraulic Cushions. This is designed to reduce sudden jolts. Combined with 19-inch wheels carrying deep profile 205/55 R19 tyres this gives a 'magic carpet effect' with a ride that floats over bumps and dips in the road. 

Although it's not perfect, the generally very plush ride quality means the Citroen C5 Aircross is one of the most relaxing and calming family SUVs to drive. Sure, the softness combined with light, vague steering means it won't entertain on a twisty road, but many family buyers would prefer a comfy ride anyway. 

At launch, buyers could choose from a combination of petrol and diesel engines, ranging from a 130PS 1.2-litre Puretech petrol to a 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel producing 180PS. A plug-in hybrid version arrived in 2020, with four-wheel drive and a 200PS petrol engine linked to a pair of electric motors to create a combined 300PS. This is officially capable of covering 37 miles on electric power alone.

The Citroen C5 Aircross is not the obvious choice in the family SUV segment, meaning it's likely to be overlooked by buyers in favour of the ubiquitous Nissan Qashqai or Volkswagen Tiguan.

If you're willing to think outside the box, however, the C5 Aircross is an extremely competent SUV. It's very practical, looks a bit unusual and has an impressive engine line-up. It won't appeal to enthusiastic drivers but it unashamedly focuses on comfort. And that's not a bad thing for a family car.

Looking for a second opinion? Why not read heycar's Citroen C5 Aircross review.   

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend an SUV available on the Motability scheme?
"We've followed you advice over the years which guided us to a second hand 09 plate Mazda 5, and a beautiful brand new 18 plate Mazda CX-5 Sport Nav. Due to illness we are now eligible for the Motobility scheme. We are looking for a similar family SUV that will take 2 kids easily as well as the occasional trip with the mother-in-law. Unfortunately, Mazda aren't on the scheme. Having test driven the SEAT Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan they seem nice cars but the specs on the Motobility scheme vehicles are low. Due to neuropathy a heated steering wheel is vital, as are reversing cameras. The Ford Kuga felt cheap, and the S-MAX was lovely but too big in our opinion. Most of the other contenders feel like a step down from the spec we have currently. The new Hyundai Tucson plug-in-hybrid Ultimate was mentioned on your page as a comparison to the Mazda, the spec looks great (£5,000 upfront though). Our driving is mainly short trips with the kids, with a longer 400 mile round trip to visit northern parents (we are London based) every other month. We can't go fully electric, but plug-in would work for charging outside shop, etc. Obviously we could just stick with the car we have (we wouldn't be looking if it wasn't for the scheme) but with the cost of servicing, insurance being covered by the Motobility scheme it seems too good to be true. Have I missed any obvious contenders? I see the Skoda Karoq is well regarded, but isn't on the scheme."
As you say, the Mazda CX-5 is a very good car that even today is nicer than many new rivals. However, given the savings offered on the Motability scheme there are some other choices worth checking out. Vauxhall has just updated the Grandland (formerly Grandland X) to make it a much more competitive car. Ultimate spec comes with lots of kit including a heated steering wheel and seats. The Peugeot 3008 is essentially the same car as the Grandland underneath, but with a classier interior, although the driving position won't suit all tastes. The Citroen C5 Aircross also shares its engines and platform with the Vauxhall and Peugeot and is exceptionally comfortable, but you might find the interior lacking in quality. We also see that the latest Nissan Qashqai is offered on Motability. It's a much better car than the old one, although perhaps still not as nice to drive or sit in as the CX-5. There are also raised-up hatchbacks that aren't quite as tall as full SUVs: check out the Kia XCeed and new DS 4 (the DS 4 in particular has a plush interior with lots of equipment). They may not offer the desired ease of getting in and out, however.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
Can you recommend a comfortable SUV for under £19,000?
"I am looking for a pre-owned SUV (or crossover) that has a high driving position but also has good access for someone 80 years of age with a knee problem. Comfort is the main priority and a top budget of £19,000. "
I would recommend the Citroen C5 Aircross – your money will get you a 2019 model with around 20,000 miles on the clock. The C5 Aircross has a raised ride height that makes it easy to slide in and out and it has been designed to be very comfortable, with suspension that creams over bumps, thickly padded seats and a laminated windscreen that reduces noise. The 130PS 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine is also very quiet once you settle into a cruise, surprisingly punchy and great on fuel. You can read our review, here:
Answered by Russell Campbell
What's the best car for soaking up potholes?
"My local roads are becoming ever more potholed. What's the best car for comfort on poor quality roads?"
Citroen tries to focus on comfort with mixed results. The C3 Aircross isn't as comfortable as you'd expect, but the Citroen C4 and C5 Aircross are both very comfortable. Also look at Skoda models – they're usually softer than other VW Group alternatives. Try to avoid cars with big alloy wheels and low profile tyres as these are usually firmer than cars with small wheels.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best mid-size car for comfort?
"Could you please recommend a mid-size car with ease of passenger access and pliant ride quality?"
Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR and Citroen C5 Aircross are all comfortable cars with elevated seating positions for ease of access.
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a Citroen C5 Aircross cost?

Buy new from £23,445(list price from £26,510)