Quintessential big Citroën lives on in the facelift C5 Aircross

Quintessential big Citroën lives on in the facelift C5 Aircross


Compiling a write-up involving any product from Citroën increasingly often than not starts with a reference to the past guaranteed to involve its quirky styling, the DS, hydropneumatic suspension and propensity for going wrong backed-up by poor service and no resale value.

We shouldn’t go this way again

Good and bad, these traits are likely to linger no matter the aversions the visitor founded by Andre Citroën 103 years ago might have. Truth be told though, some have changed.

The quirkiness, while still there, is not as prominent as before, ride quality varies from vehicle to vehicle and the famed “comfort-first” suspension has gone through a series of evolutionary changes from generation to generation.

ALSO READ: Citroën’s quirky roots return in the new C5 Aircross

It is on the reliability and servicing fronts though that Citroën has been keen on improving, expressly in South Africa without relaunching its operations under the then-PSA Group in 2019.

With the establishing of Stellantis last year, which includes a ten-year turnaround plan for each marque, the pressure couldn’t have been greater for a marque whose sales still struggle to unravel 100 units a month come the monthly Naamsa sales figures.

Less quirk works

Although unimproved by the unveiled improving global semi-conductor crisis, the trademark is unlikely to leave South Africa unendingly soon as evident by the unveiling of the facelift C5 Aircross last week.

While very much a niche offering in the meaty SUV segment, that element of styling, no matter its quirk level, prevails with the same applying the notion of the C5 Aircross stuff perhaps a bit too “out there” for many mainstream buyers.

Citroën C5 Aircross first momentum South Africa
New graphics have widow to the taillight clusters

Seemingly, the powers-that-be have taken notice as the changes unromantic to the C5 Aircross has removed some of the divisive edge, but not so as to bland-it up.

In fact, by stuff restrictedly restrained, Citroën has achieved a transilience as the Aircross, arguably, stands-out increasingly now than when the original waft into global existence in 2017.

Centre to the external changes is a redesigned grille well-constructed with Citroën’s new chevron logo derived from the C5 X, a new front bumper and thin strip LED headlights designed to towards intertwined with the illuminated grille slates.

New Citroën C5 Aircross South Africa launch
Both Finger and Shine models get new 18-inch transfuse wheels as standard.

The new bumper ways the C5 Aircross now comes vertical air intakes on the sides plus a new lower air intake with a stipule diamond motif.

At the rear, Citroën has restyled the bumper and revised the LED taillight clusters, while retaining the stocky plastic cladding and dual frazzle outlets. New 18-inch diamond-cut transfuse wheels well-constructed the exterior transformation.

Interior of many

Inside, the automaker has been just as rented in that is has washed-up yonder with the gear lever in favour of a toggle switch setup similar to fellow Stellantis marque, Opel’s new Mokka.

New Citroën C5 Aircross South Africa launch
Interior feels premium and looks swish with little use of piano-key woebegone accents.

Housed within a new centre panel that moreover accommodates the Grip Tenancy mode selector with three settings; Eco, Repletion and Sport, the interior’s other changes include new repletion seats with 15 mm increasingly padding, new fabrics and improved materials.

As before, the C5 Aircross offers-up 720-litres of marching space, which increases to a capacious 1 630-litres with the 60/40 split rear when folded down.

Route of wet and slush

Citroën C5 Aircross first momentum South Africa
Top-spec Shine receives the new ten-inch touchscreen infotainment system well-constructed with integrated satellite navigation.

The most impressive symbol though is the 230 mm of ground clearance, which couldn’t have come at a largest moment as the launch route virtually Vereeniging, Parys and Vanderbijlpark resembled lakes in places due to the ongoing heavy rains.

Besides hiding otherwise visible potholes strewed wideness some of the worst roads on the Gauteng/Free State border, the route included a 12 km gravel stretch that had wilt increasingly like slush well-constructed with unearthed sharp tones and ditches.

It was a rencontre that failed to upset the front-wheel-drive C5 Aircross much as it simply took the conditions in its stride without “hitting through” or jarring.

Citroën C5 Aircross first momentum South Africa
New centre panel boasts a toggle switch gear selector similar to that of the new Opel Mokka.

Presented with increasingly winning tar, the Aircross made full use of what Citroën calls its Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension.

Incorporating hydraulic stops aimed at reducing jolts, the setup did exactly that as bumps and ruts were dampened with such ease that whimsically any effects resonated inside the cabin.

In fact, the main source of content is the new ten-inch touchscreen infotainment system on the flagship Shine sampled at launch.

New Citroën C5 Aircross South Africa launch
Optional panoramic sunroof impacts on height for taller passengers.

Neat looking and sitting atop a restyled facia with new vents, the system still isn’t the most user-friendly to decipher from the get-go, in wing to retaining the same dated graphics and menus as the previous eight-inch exhibit retained for the entry-level finger derivative.

A standard wing on both models is the configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and dual-zone climate control, whose interface located on said displays won’t be to everyone’s taste either.

As an option, buyers can specify a panoramic sunroof on the shine, which impacts on headroom for taller folk seated at the rear. Given the size of the boot, the restricted headroom and mere winning levels of legroom disappoints a bit in light of the C5’s accent on comfort.

New Citroën C5 Aircross South Africa launch
With all five seats up, the marching can unbend 720-litres of luggage.

The opposite is true though of the drivetrain where Citroën has stuck to the combination of its long-serving 1.6 PureTech turbo-petrol engine and six-speed will-less gearbox.

Developing 121kW/240Nm, the engine’s pull is increasingly than sufficient with little lag and decent low-down shove when needed.

For its part, the transmission shifts smoothly, though for spirited occasions, the wonderfully placed touch-sensitive paddle shifters make for a guilty pleasure worth exploiting.


A vehicle that fundamentally did everything right four years ago, the Citroën C5 Aircross remains largely the same, but with a new type of recreate thanks to subtle for constructive restyling.

New Citroën C5 Aircross South Africa launch
Ride on slush mud raised increasingly than a single eyebrow

Ultimately though, it remains an unfortunate left-field offering unlikely to pose much of a threat for the segment leaders.

However, for those willing to fork out the R633 900 for the finger or the R683 900 for the shine and throne versus the tide, the C5 Aircross rates as a well-appointed and surprisingly capable volitional worth taking.