At first sight, this large SUV might not look like the natural successor to such idiosyncratic masterpieces as the Traction Avant, the DS, the CX and the XM, but the Citroën C5 Aircross has just enough going on under its quirky bodyshell to at least raise the eyebrow of the dedicated Citroëniste.
It is, it has to be admitted, a bluff, family-friendly SUV in size and shape, and not a fancy and innovative low-slung aerodyne like those Citroëns of old, but it has a comfortable ride, perhaps to tie in with that tradition, and is also surprisingly quiet and smooth. It isn’t one for attacking the bends, though, because the payback for that soft suspension is unusually pronounced body roll in corners. The feather-light steering isn’t the most communicative out there, either.
Never mind, the motive force for the five-seat C5 Aircross is supplied by a range of decent engines shared with the current doyen of the class, the seven-seat Peugeot 5008. These spread from a perky 128bhp 1.2-litre Puretech turbo petrol through torque-laden 1.5 BlueHDi 150 and 2.0 BlueHDi 180 diesels to a 222bhp plug-in hybrid.
Entry-level Feel trim brings a comprehensive list of standard equipment that includes 17in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, a 12.3in digital instrument display and an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Mid-range Flair adds 18in alloys, sat-nav, a height-adjustable boot floor, cruise control, front parking sensors and a rear-view camera, while Flair Plus gets 19in alloys, a powered tailgate, adaptive cruise control and keyless entry.
Every model comes with automatic emergency braking as standard, along with blindspot monitoring and lane departure warning, while the optional Safety Pack adds lane-keeping assistance and traffic sign recognition.
Just to make things more interesting, recent models have decided to go all Citroën-quirky on us and have renamed their trims C-Series, Sense, Shine and Shine Plus but, as with the old monikers, you’ll find no shortage of kit in any of them.
As mentioned, there’s room for only five where some can seat seven, but there shouldn’t be any concerns about the amount of space inside, unless you go for the Feel Plus model, which gets a panoramic glass roof.
The rear bench is made of three separate seats that fold individually and can even slide fore and aft to allow passengers to stretch their legs or increase boot space. The boot in question isn’t the biggest in the class, but it is tall and square and has a wide opening to help load bulky items.
Prices for a used C5 Aircross start at around £16,000 for a 2019 1.2-litre Feel, which is usefully cheap. Expect to spend £17,000-£19,000 for a higher-spec trim from the same year or a Feel model from early 2020. Most 2020 C5 Aircrosses are £22,000- £33,000, depending on trim.