Citroen C5 Aircross - Interior & comfort
Attractive interior with lots of equipment, but C5 Aircross material quality is patchy
When it comes to comfort, which is one of the areas in which Citroen's family flagship was billed to excel, its disappointing performance on bumpy roads is rather unfortunate. It's a real shame that the brand's 'advanced comfort seats' don't particularly impress, either. Although the C5 Aircross’ fancy Progressive Hydraulic suspension irons out most bumps well, it can be unsettled over deeper potholes or wonky speed bumps. When this happens, the cabin can shudder and upset the relaxed atmosphere.
The seats look great, especially in the range-topping 'Hype Brown Ambiance' finish, and their soft nature makes them comfortable at first, but they lack lateral support when you encounter a corner, doing little to keep you upright. And while they felt supportive beneath our thighs, the same wasn't true of back support, with twinges beginning to surface after a few hours of driving.
If the advanced comfort seats lived up to their name, the C5 Aircross interior would be hard to fault. There's impressively little wind or road noise when cruising, and there's certainly no shortage of standard equipment. Not all of the interior surfaces are great quality, though, and our test car had a few infuriating rattles.
Citroen C5 Aircross dashboard
Enthusiasts of design will find much to like about the C5 Aircross interior. It has a unique and interesting look that expands on the theme seen before with the smaller C3 Aircross, and contrasts starkly against the futuristic Peugeot 3008.
The C5 Aircross presents hi-tech electronics against a backdrop of good-looking, tactile materials and rich colour schemes. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is standard on every model, and an update in 2021 introduced a larger 10-inch infotainment touchscreen on the centre console, which is shared with the C5X but unfortunately still gets the older software from the C4. This can be relatively slow to respond, however, the screen is somewhat sharper than before.
Even more disappointing are the climate controls which are now buried within the touchscreen, stealing real estate from the sat-nav and media. Not only does this mean you’ll be squinting to see whatever’s on the screen, but a touchscreen is inherently more difficult to use when on the move than a physical dial or switch, making something as simple as changing the temperature a hassle.
Also, while the dashboard looks and feels expensive, the door panels are rather less pleasing to the senses, with a cheap feel around the door handles and window switches. Rivals such as the Volkswagen Tiguan or Hyundai Tucson feel much more premium on the inside.
There are few changes to indicate you’re in the PHEV, but intriguingly, a blue light behind the rear-view mirror lets pedestrians know when the car is in electric-only mode. You can also hit a shortcut button to quickly access new hybrid information screens within the infotainment setup.
Along with the host of visual and tech upgrades for 2022, Citroen also streamlined the C5 Aircross’s trim levels, leaving Sense Plus, Shine and C-Series Edition. In mid-2023 the brand also introduced an e-Series trim for its mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.
Even the entry-level Sense Plus comes generously equipped, with standard kit such as 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, a reversing camera and the aforementioned digital instrument cluster and infotainment setup.
Moving up the range, Shine models benefit from roof rails, electrically folding door mirrors and the Driver Assist pack which includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, driver attention monitoring, traffic sign recognition and collision detection.
Top-of-the-range C-Series Edition adds several design flourishes such as a black contrast roof and bronze trim. This trim also receives an electrically operated tailgate, a panoramic sunroof, a wireless phone charging pad and larger, 19-inch alloy wheels.
Citroen introduced an e-Series trim exclusively for its electrified C5 Aircross models in 2023. Based on Shine specification, these also get unique exterior design elements, such as a black roof as standard, black 19-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear windows and chrome trim pieces. On the inside, they get unique ambient lighting, grey Alcantara upholstery, a panoramic roof, heated front seats, plus an upgraded Citroen HiFi system.
A tow bar with an electrical connection and Trailer Stability Control can be added for £650, while a powered tailgate can be added to the Shine trim for around £800. There’s also an interior ‘Ambience’ for the C-Series Edition, bringing Nappa leather, heated front seats, a massaging driver’s seat and wireless smartphone charging for an extra £1,000.