Elise Bennetts holds down two full-time jobs: She’s a mother to three kids, has a dog and a husband, all of whom are highly active and demanding. She also works full-time in a social enterprise looking after disadvantaged young people. It is a full life – one that she wouldn’t ever trade.
What is it?
New to our roads, this French beauty could easily take to the catwalk in Paris – its stylish good looks shine brightly in our overcrowded small SUV market.
In saying that, whilst I find the Aircross a bit of a supermodel on the outside, it does lack a little on the interior. The Citroen C5 Aircross SUV comes in two models, the Feel and Shine – mine felt more than shone although reading the specs there’s not much difference between the two.
I had heard that the new C5 Aircross is the most comfortable SUV on the market due to its superior suspension and its Advance Comfort seats. Well, it certainly was smooth to ride in and I can attest to the comfortable seats (I would, however, suggest if you have kids, upgrade to the leather option).
What's it like to drive?
The week I had the C5 Aircross proved to be a normal week of small trips to work, school drop-offs, shopping and general errand driving, and this compact SUV certainly stacked up.
Opening the solid doors and slipping into the interior I was suitably impressed upon first inspection; it was roomy and it was comfortable.
Whilst the seat was only manually adjustable, I was able to manoeuvre it to a height that allowed me to see over the dauntingly high bonnet (for those vertically challenged like myself).
The 8.0-inch touch screen (below) was easily navigated with phone connectivity, radio preferences and navigation as soon as I got in. I was also impressed by the personalisation of the digital dashboard from the steering wheel, with up to 6 options of display.
The steering wheel is very comfortable to hold, although with the number of functions, indicators, cruise control and paddle shifts – it looks a little more like an Xbox game control!
The centre console is large to the point I was reminded of being in business class, although I feel they have failed to deliver. It took some time to realise that the centre console opened from the passenger side, a minute detail lost in translation from left to right-hand drive.
On that note, I was also reaching over to the far left under the gear stick to start the car.
What's it like to live with?
Again, I will reiterate I like the look of this car, it certainly holds its own in the good-looking stakes. It’s the interior for me that’s let it down. My younger son was the only one that could comfortably sit in the rear middle as that mismatched console protrudes a little too far into the back for the C5 to realistically take three adults in the rear.
I think I tried to close the power windows more than a dozen times until I realised the noise I could hear was coming through the vents, but once I’d identified it I got used to it.
And the other ‘getting used to it' feature was the sensitive brake compared to the more giving accelerator – they were completely opposite in their receptiveness. I too got used to this and stopped apologising to my passengers for my quick to brake, slow to take off driving!
The boot space is surprisingly large for the car size and with the three rear individual sliding, reclining and folding seats it really is a versatile configuration.
I had no need to use the false floor in the boot but it does say that it extends the boot to 580 litres with the seats back – so this would certainly come in handy for bikes and band equipment.
The safety features were noted and appreciated. A particular stand out was the surround-view reverse camera and the front and rear parking sensors. Thankfully, I did not see the six airbags but was truly comforted that they are there.
One of my biggest pet peeves in a car is the turning circle – if I have to do an ‘Austin Powers’ manoeuvre at a shopping centre to get out of the ever-decreasing tiny car spaces then I’m less than impressed with the car. I'm pleased to report that the Citroen's tiny turning circle was smashing, baby, yeah!
Overall , the Citroen C5 Aircross passed with flying colours.
Is it worth the money?
At $39,990, I was suitably impressed with the way the Aircross handled; it felt safe and solid to drive. A five-year warranty is also great peace of mind.
I do think, however, for the inclusions, it’s a little on the pricey side in a highly competitive SUV market. Again it comes down to its good looks on the outside which don’t necessarily translate to the additions on the inside.
Pros: Easily manoeuvrable – great turning circle; sold and safe; supermodel good looks
Cons: Centre console set up for left-hand drive; engine feedback in the driver's seat; lacking on the interior
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Model: Citroen C5 Aircross Feel
Engine: 1598cc 4-cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo
Max power: 121kW @ 6000rpm
Max torque: 240Nm @ 1400rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Kerb weight: 1400kg
Fuel economy: 7.9L/100km
On sale: Now