The new Citroen C5 Aircross aims to be the “magic carpet” of SUVs



A whole new world of ride comfort is what Citroen believes will lead its new flagship to success – that and a homely makeover for its showroom here

SINGAPORE

French-flavoured family motoring in Singapore has a new face – the Citroen C5 Aircross crossover was launched at the newly renovated Citroen showroom along Alexandra Road on 20 June.

The Citroën C5 Aircross is the new range-topper for the French car maker, and costs S$136,999 with COE for the Shine variant; pricing for the better-equipped Shine Plus is still to be confirmed. Both versions are powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine, with 180hp and 250Nm of torque.

Comfort has always been a big selling point of Citroens, but in the C5 Aircross the company is doubling down on that focus. It’s the first car to come out under a development programme called Citroen Advanced Comfort.

“Citroen is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and it’s very important we continue the heritage of those 100 years,” said Linda Jackson, Citroen’s CEO. “One of the most important things for Citroen is comfort, and this strategy is delivering results for us worldwide – we delivered one million cars last year, and enjoyed record sales in Europe.”

Ms Jackson, with Mr Eric Chan,
Managing Director of Direct Motor Interest, Jardine Cycle & Carriage

The company has recognised that comfort isn’t determined by suspension settings alone, which is why Citroen Advanced Comfort takes a more holistic approach to addressing the subject.

“Apart from the suspension, the seats also affect whether you feel the bumps when you’re sitting in a car,” said Xavier Peugeot, Citroen’s director of product planning. “But comfort doesn’t mean just ride quality, it is also about ergonomics, convenience, space, and storage,” he highlighted.

Mr Peugeot, with Mr Chan

As such, the C5 Aircross features two major developments from the programme that Citroen believes allows it to deliver a “magic carpet ride”.

The first is the padding in the seats. Inspired by household furniture and bedding, they’re made with different layers of foam – a soft top layer to sink into, with much firmer layers below to provide back support.

The other, more major innovation is in the suspension. Conventional suspension systems employ hard rubber bump stops to cushion and halt the movement of the suspension when it reaches full compression or extension, preventing damage to the car (and your back) if, say, you fly over a hump too fast.

In the C5 Aircross, those rubber bump stops are swapped for hydraulic items, which halt the suspension’s movement at a more gradual rate, allowing the forces to slowly dissipate instead of jolting the car, similar to the items that make the manic Renault Megane RS surprisingly supple over large bumps.

Called “progressive hydraulic cushions”, they might not be as impressive as the hydropneumatic suspension systems that gave many big Citroens since the 1950s a cloud-like ride quality, but they do offer something else in return.

“It’s a much simpler, cheaper, more modern solution that can be democratized across the whole model range, rather than reserved only for our largest cars,” explained Mr Peugeot, which means we’ll probably see a version of this technology on even the successor to the little C3 Aircross mini-SUV.

In all other aspects, the C5 Aircross is a conventional, practical family SUV, about the size of a Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, or Volkswagen Tiguan. The rear seats can not only recline and fold individually, but slide fore and aft too. Boot space ranges from 580-litres to 1630-litres with the seats folded.

As the brand’s flagship, the C5 Aircross comes packed with features. Highlights on the Shine Plus version include a self-parking assist, bird’s eye-view parking camera, and panoramic sunroof, but even the base Shine variant gets wireless charging, Apple CarPlay, blind spot monitoring, active emergency braking and six airbags.

Alongside the launch of the brand’s new global flagship model was the unveiling of a renovated home for Citroens here. Renovated at a cost of S$500,000, the 3,300 square-foot space is the first “La Maison Citroen” (translation: The House of Citroen) in Southeast Asia, designed to further the brand by providing a more welcoming facade to customers, while also improving service and aftersales support.

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Jon Lim
CarBuyer's latest addition is its fourth historical Jonathan. Old-fashioned in all but body, he thinks car design peaked in the '90s. He also strongly believes any car can be a race car if you have a sufficient lack of self-preservation, which explains why he nearly flipped a Chinese van while racing it.