Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid review

The C5 Aircross Hybrid is yet another option for company-car users after a plug-in SUV. It's cheap to run, but beaten by rivals in some respects

Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid
£35,370 - £36,845
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Distinctive design inside and out
  • Reasonably practical and comfortable
  • Typically low plug-in running costs

Cons

  • Inconsistent ride quality
  • Reduced towing capacity
  • Expensive for private buyers
Car type Electric range Fuel economy CO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid 34 miles 168mpg 32g/km

Following its sister models the Peugeot 3008, DS 7 Crossback and Vauxhall Grandland X getting the same treatment, the Citroen C5 Aircross family SUV is now available as a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid – an engine choice that's now all but essential if a car is to have any success in the hugely important company-car market.

Like those models, it gets a 222bhp powertrain, made up of a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor fed by a 13.2kWh battery. Unlike those models, the C5 Hybrid isn't available with a more powerful, four-wheel-drive, 296bhp version of the same setup; Citroen reckons that would make the C5 too expensive in light of the brand's traditional association with affordability.

Not much has changed on the outside compared to the petrol and diesel-engined C5 Aircross, but like those cars, the hybrid boasts some pretty bold exterior styling. Distinctive slim running lights along the top of the bonnet join big headlights, a prominent Citroen logo and chunky plastic cladding running right down the sides for that rugged, off-road-inspired look.

The aforementioned engine delivers the goods when it comes to running costs, with 32g/km CO2 emissions and 34-mile electric range ensuring the Aircross falls into the 10% for Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band for company-car tax, regardless of which of the two trim levels (Flair and Flair Plus, both well equipped) that you pick. The C5 Aircross Hybrid is practical, too, with minimal loss of boot space compared to the diesel and petrol versions, as well as comfortable seats and plenty of room for adult passengers front and rear.

Less satisfactory is the ride quality, which we really expect to be better from a large Citroen, given the brand's history. At higher speeds, the car glides and floats over bumps, but in the next moment, especially at lower speeds, it’ll crash over broken tarmac and potholes. It’s all very inconsistent. General handling isn't great, either: the light steering makes manoeuvring easy at low speeds, but it doesn’t get any weightier as your speed increases, nor does it offer much feedback.

So if you're looking for a satisfying driving experience, the closely related Peugeot 3008 and – even more so – the recently refreshed MINI Countryman hybrid are both better choices. The C5 Aircross is also far from the cheapest plug-in hybrid family SUV, but that will probably concern private buyers more than it will company-car users. For the latter in particular, the big and distinctively styled French car is still worth a look.

For a more detailed look at the Citroen C5 Hybrid, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...