Citroen C5 Air­cross

Cacti come in all sorts of shapes and sizes these days...

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS -

The Citroen C5 Air­cross is the lat­est model in some­thing Citroen calls its “SUV ofen­sive”.

Big­ger, ob­vi­ously, than the forth­com­ing C3 Air­cross cross­over (pre­viewed at the Geneva mo­tor show by the C-Air­cross con­cept), it’s set to launch in China this year, be­fore Euro­pean sales be­gin in 2018, the Air­cross is based on the same EMP2 plat­form as the DS 7 Cross­back, Peu­geot 3008 and Vaux­hall Grand­land X. Not that you’d know, be­cause like all good Citroens it dis­tin­guishes it­self from the pack with Air­bump-in­fused side sills, a trade­mark double-decker grille and many other de­sign cues that most man­u­fac­tur­ers would leave on the con­cept stu­dio’s cutting-room foor.

Like the DS and Peu­geot, the C5 will even­tu­ally get a plug-in hy­brid pow­er­train with 300bhp, all-wheel drive and a near-40 mile elec­tric-only range. In Europe, most will come ft­ted with PSA’s con­ven­tional four-cylin­der petrol and diesels.

Cu­ri­ously, Citroen calls the C5 Air­cross “peo­ple-minded”. Name us a car that isn’t peo­ple­minded if you can, please. We’re con­fused.

In less vague terms, the com­fort and well­be­ing of pas­sen­gers is top of its agenda. So there’s lots of room, and su­per-comfy sus­pen­sion with – in Citroen’s words – “Pro­gres­sive Hy­draulic Cush­ions”. We’ve tried this tech­nol­ogy in a C4 Cac­tus pro­to­type and can con­frm it works rather well. The idea is that in homage to the 2CV’s fa­mously ac­com­mo­dat­ing ride, ruts and bumps in the road are com­pletely smoothed out. Given lots of SUVs roll on 20-odd-inch wheels and jit­ter about the place be­cause, y’know, style (see the Jaguar F-Pace on 22s), it’s a wel­come idea.

In­side, a 12.3in screen re­places con­ven­tional di­als, while nav­i­ga­tion, me­dia and so on are han­dled by an 8in cen­tral screen. There are many ac­tive safety sys­tems – as one would quite rightly ex­pect on a brand-new car – such as adap­tive cruise con­trol and lane-de­par­ture warn­ings.

All boxes ticked then, and it looks far more in­ter­est­ing than any one of its Qashqai-sized ri­vals. And per­haps its con­ta­gious, be­cause two other re­cent New York show debu­tantes showed vi­sions of a less-de­riv­a­tive SUV future. The Toy­ota FT-4X is a shruken up­date of the FJ Cruiser idea, and we’re fully on board – just make sure you bring it to the UK this time Toy­ota. Mean­while, the Infniti QX80 con­cept is an in­trigu­ing cross be­tween the As­ton Martin Lagonda con­cept and a medi­um­sized apart­ment block. Fi­nally, an Infniti you might no­tice when it drives by.

UK buy­ers must wait un­til 2018 to get one of these, due to a strict PSA pol­icy of one car per brand per year. Later in 2017 we get the C3 Air­cross in­stead Al­though there will be a hy­brid, most Euro­peans will be petrol or diesel

Don’t worry, folks, there are no pro­gres­sive hy­draulic cush­ions in­side Part of an SUV of­fen­sive. But not an of­fen­sive SUV... What even is an SUV these days? Damned if we know, and the In­finiti QX80 and Toy­ota FT-4X are sim­ply con­fus­ing mat­ters

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