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The Citroen C5 Aircross - Test drive Impressions

Discussion in 'Jeep' started by limraj, Jul 30, 2022.

  1. limraj

    limraj Esperto

    Trivandrum / Bangalore
    Linea 1.3
    Well, this is a Citroen.
    Not a Fiat. Not even a Jeep.
    Why is it in here?

    The group PSA Citroen had planned for a re-entry, this time with its Citroen brand, to India by 2021. They previously was in India with Peugeot in the early 1990s, which was not really successful - PSA leaving India abruptly, with owners fuming. They did not want any obvious connection to this past and chose Citroen brand, known for its ride comfort and and many other things.

    By the time the launch happened, FCA had started a merger with PSA in 2019 and completed it in 2021 Jan, before the launch of Citroen in India. The new company is called Stellantis with 50-50 ownership, at least on paper.

    Although, they may start to share platforms and other things, C5 Aircross was coming to India as a CBU with its French origins and no parts from FCA, not even stickers. However, they had an agreement to maximise existing network of FCA in India. Thus making PPS FCA Hosur Road (Electronics City) showroom becoming their signature LaMaison showroom for Citroen. FCA showroom was moved to JP Nagar. The servicing for Fiat and Jeep (and later Citroen) continued from their Electronics city service centre.

    In one of those visits to get my Linea serviced, I was struggling to explain a problem in English to the advisors and said something to myself in my mother tongue. This was caught by a lady sales advisor for Jeep, who share the same mother tongue. She offered to help to explain in Kannada. Thus we got connected. Later we came to know that she has spent some years in Bangalore and Kannada is like mother tongue for her.
    She told me that she would move to Citroen sales once the operation begins.

    C5 Aircross specifications
    The Citroen C5 Aircross was launched in India in April 2021. 5 seater SUV as CBU.
    2.0L Diesel engine with 174ps power and a peak of 400 Nm torque, available only with an 8 speed automatic transmission. There were two variants - Feel (mid) and Shine (top). Feel was adequately kitted
    and Shine added sunroof, LED headlights etc.

    Price at the time of launch (Apr '21):
    Feel - 29.9L ex
    Shine - 31.9L ex

    They have revised the prices since launch.
    Price now (Jul '22) (up by 6~8% from launch)
    Feel - 32.24 ex
    Shine - 33.78L ex

    The Price was 4-5 lakhs beyond the expected and C5 had low sales - about 40-45 cars a month, on an average.

    The targetted customers ?
    The self made businessmen in their 30's, who want something unique as themselves - is what I am told.

    <LaMaison showroom getting ready. To showcase their lineage, old Citroens were on the floor>

    <Cars arrived at the showrooms before launch itself. And there were too many to check them out> IMG_5986.JPG

    In one of our running into each other at the service/showroom, I asked her if I could get a test drive of the C5 with a disclaimer that I may not buy the car. I did not want face follow up calls. She agreed, and said they were offering to test drives to everyone.
    As decided on a weekend, and I drove to the showroom. To my surprise, there was no test drive car. Called her and she was still on the way to showroom. She promised to get the car to the place of my stay. I left the place dejected and did not really expect the car to be arriving at my place. She came with a driver colleague in the afternoon.

    I had asked for a longer test drive as I wanted to drive it in the traffic conditions as well as highway. I picked up a friend and then we were driving in the inner ring road's dense traffic. We went to Electronics city via elevated highway and then on to NICE road for the highway experience.
    All comparisons are with Jeep Compass AT which I had test drove from the same showroom (details in here https://www.teamfiat.com/threads/jeep-compass-test-drive-impressions.17028/).
    Here is a summary.

    The first thing noticed is the quirkiness of the vehicle. Both from outside and once you enter inside. You will be an attention grabber everywhere you go.

    Interiors - Premium and quirky.
    Their competitors, as per sales speak, are the big Germans and interiors do speak the same.

    Steering - Flat bottom with control buttons. Paddle shifts are also provided. Good enough feedback from the EPS. I felt it more or less similar to Compass's.


    Gear Lever
    - Although nice and premium, it is LHD oriented and not customised for RHD markets. Manual mode is provided. I did experiment with it. But not much.

    <Gear Console>

    - Lavish space for all 5 passengers. This car an comfortably accommodate the 3rd adult in the middle of the rear seat. A rare thing in there. You can only have 2 in the Compass comfortably.

    Braking - Adequate or confidence inspiring, even from high speeds. Discs everywhere.

    Ride Quality - The USP and the comfort it offers has to be experienced.

    Handling - As good as Compass. The rolls are very much controlled. I took the car to triple digit speeds in NICE road and did change lanes quickly. Car gives confidence to continue.

    Engine - Pleasantly surprised. It had all the power and with the slick transmission you get it in abundance. The power numbers are slightly better than Compass and it could be felt too (courtesy transmission). NVH is top notch - You may forget that it is a diesel car.

    Transmission - AT is much faster than Compass's. There were 3 drive modes - Eco, Normal and Sports. Sports mode is addictive. Eco is more than enough for the city.

    Other creature comforts - Dual Tone A/C, Premium sound, Cruise Control, etc etc. I did not spend much time with them. I guess they are adequate.

    Fuel Efficiency - Similar to Compass under harsh riding. May be slightly lesser. Drove for 38 kms at about 9km/l at an average speed of 28 km/h.
    <FE figures>

    My verdict - It is a better car than Compass. Marginal upgrades from Compass mostly, except for the transmission and interior space. Those who are considering Compass should also check this car. But, I may still go with Compass given availability of Jeep service centres.
    At the time of launch, Citroen had 10 sales/service centres across India and now it has gone up to 15, I guess.

    <Me during the test drive>

    This thread is created almost 1 year after I test drove the car.
    Many things have been erased from my memory. However, the car has made a lasting impression on me!
  2. CountRock

    CountRock Staff Member Janitor

    Dallas, Texas
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    Great post!
    limraj likes this.

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