April 25: The all-new Citroen C5 Aircross has gone official at this week’s Shanghai motor show after first surfacing online in a series of leaked images.
Inspired by the muscular Aircross concept revealed two years ago at the last Shanghai motor show, the market-ready C5 Aircross will play in the same arena as Mazda CX-5 and other mid-sized SUVs.
Internationally, the new five-seat C5 Aircross will sit above the C4 Cactus that went on sale in Australia last year, although Citroen has yet to offer any word on local plans.
Indeed, Australian distributor Sime Darby does not currently have a dedicated communications manager for the Peugeot and Citroen brands it distributes, and has yet to return requests for comment.
A local debut may not be out of the question, however, with Citroen boss Linda Jackson telling media in Shanghai the C5 Aircross will carry the honour of “kickstarting the global transformation of the brand”.
UPDATE, May 1: Sime Darby has now confirmed the Aircross is under consideration for Australia, although timing and further details were not offered.
The C5 Aircross will be the company’s first model to offer a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) system, although regular petrol engines will make up the initial launch schedule.
When the PHEV model arrives, it will pair a 150kW petrol engine with two electric motors – one at each axle – for a total output of 223kW.
Torque figures are still be released, but, nonetheless, that power number will make this the company’s most powerful production model yet – outdoing the hero 308 GTi hatches.
The PHEV model’s configuration will make it an all-wheel-drive car, but all others will be front-wheel-drive only.
Citroen’s Grip Control traction system will feature, however, distributing power to whichever of the two front wheels needs it the most.
Beneath the C5 Aircross is Citroen’s new Progressive Hydraulic Cushions, a simultaneously technical and cute name for the new suspension system that replaces its legendary hydropneumatic suspension system.
It gets cuter: using two hydraulic stops for rebound and compression, the system promises a “‘flying carpet’ effect as if the car were flying over bumps and dips in the road”.
Product manager Xavier Peugeot doubled-down on that claim, declaring the C5 Aircross will be “the most comfortable SUV on the market”.
The C5 Aircross rides on a 2730mm wheelbase, around 30mm longer than that of the CX-5, Nissan X-Trail and Renault Koleos, and nearly 100mm longer than the footprint of the Hyundai Tucson, Mitsubishi Outlander and Volkswagen Tiguan – although the latter has now been shown in a long-wheelbase form.
The new Citroen’s wheelbase is also considerably longer than the 2675mm wheelbase of the new-generation Peugeot 3008, despite the two SUVs sharing the same EMP2 platform.
In fact, the segment-straddling C5 Aircross is positioned right between the 3008 and the new seven-seat 5008 large SUV, which rides on the same architecture but lists a 2840mm wheelbase.
Of course, with China one of its major focus markets, the longer wheelbase and five-seat design – both aspects focusing entirely on second-row comfort – is no surprise.
The C5 Aircross will make its European debut in the middle of next year, after the smaller C3 Aircross makes its production debut, replacing the C3 Picasso. That model was previewed by the C-Aircross concept earlier this year.
Watch for more on the C5 Aircross, and its Australian potential, in the year ahead.