2022 Citroen C5 Aircross facelift review: Still the benchmark in comfort

The Citroen C5 Aircross has got an update including tweaked styling and interiors. Is it worth your attention?
The 2022 Citroen C5 Aircross gets is launched at Rs 36.5 lakh (ex-showroom)
The 2022 Citroen C5 Aircross gets is launched at Rs 36.5 lakh (ex-showroom)Shot by Avdhoot A Kolhe for evo India

The Citroen C5 Aircross gets a facelift! Citroen debuted in India with the C5 Aircross — a sort of statement of intent of what the brand represents, in terms of design, technology and comfort. Numbers was never part of the C5’s intention, that was reserved for the likes of the C3 that has been launched here. The C5, is more of a brand shaper. And for 2022, the C5 gets a few updates — the most obvious being to the styling. However, there are updates to the interior as well!

2022 Citroen C5 Aircross styling

The C5 Aircross was a good-looking car. And the updates make it look even better — everything has been tweaked to look more modern, — up front you have a new slimmer grille, the split headlamps make way for a single unit with a cool DRL signature that flows in to the grille, the bumper looks more chunky and all of this comes together to make the C5 Aircross look fairly different from before. From the side, you have a new design for the 18-inch wheels and from the rear the tail lamps have been updated with a new lighting signature and dark-smoke finish. The changes have made the C5 Aircross look a little more butch. A lot of the elements of the pre-facelift car were rounded off but now they have been squared out and have given the car a lot more definition. The C5 is also not too common on our roads, and so there remains a novelty to its design when you see one!

2022 Citroen C5 Aircross interiors and features

Step inside and more changes are apparent — the interiors have been given a mild refresh. The most obvious is the new free-standing infotainment screen. It has grown from 8 inches to 10 inches and the larger area combined with the fact that it sits higher up on the dash makes it much nicer to use. It sits closer to your line of sight and that’s always a good thing! That change has forced the air con vents, the previously flanked in, to move underneath. That said, the air-con vents at the corners of the dash remain unchanged.
The centre console has been refreshed as well. There’s a new gear selector — instead of the lever, you now have a toggle selector. I’m not the greatest fan of it, I preferred the older one. It was a lot more intuitive and easier to use. The rotary dial, and separate buttons for Eco and Sport has also made way for a single button to select the drive modes. Another change that you will not notice at first glance is the seats — Citroen says that they now have better padding. And while the C5’s seats have always been very comfortable, the new seats take things up a notch. The rear seats retain their interesting layout, of having three equal-sized sliding seats. As we said in our review before, this is great when there are three people in the back but when there are only two, the people on the sides have to do with a seat that is smaller than usual because the empty middle seat takes up a lot of space.

That said, the interior of the C5 Aircross is a comfortable place to be. It gets plenty of features including a wireless phone charger, a cabin air filter, blind spot monitoring, auto-parking, auto wipers and a TPMS. However, I do wish the USB A ports had been updated to USB Cs with this update, and it featured ventilated seats.

2022 Citroen C5 Aircross engine, ride and handling

The C5 Aircross carries over the same 2-litre diesel engine from before. Outputs stand at 174.5bhp and 400Nm. And like before, there’s an 8-speed automatic with a FWD layout. It is refreshing to drive a torquey diesel as so many cars in segments below this switch over to petrols. Or petrol-hybrids (I’m looking at you, Grand Vitara and Hyryder!). Performance is generous with the C5 accelerating briskly, and the auto-box working seamlessly in the background. You also have paddle shifters (column-mounted, no less) to take manual control, though the gearbox did a mighty fine job of keeping me in the right gear so I didn’t really find myself reaching for them.

It is also very refined. There’s not much noise that permeates in to the cabin. In the city, the start-stop button works seamlessly and on the highway it feels like it has long legs, effortlessly covering ground and making overtakes. It really feels like the best of both worlds.

The C5’s biggest strength though, has to be its ride quality. There’s an incredible plushness to the ride and it is most apparent when the roads deteriorate completely. Which they very often do. Bumps are ironed out confidently and you can carry quite a bit of speed over broken patches simply because of how composed the suspension is. Noise from the suspension barely permeates in to the cabin and all of this combines to make you feel like you’re riding in a really plush car. A lot of this is down to the trick dampers — there are hydraulic cushions at the end of the C5’s damper travel and they do a mighty fine job of keeping away those ugly bottoming-out sounds.

Handling, well, it's good but this isn’t an SUV you want to hustle. The soft set up means it feels a bit disconnected when you’re driving it hard but that’s a compromise I’m willing to live with. The steering feels direct, but there’s a fair bit of body roll and the C5 will make it evident that it doesn’t like being pushed hard. Which is fine. That ride quality is something worth revelling in.

The 2022 Citroen C5 Aircross is powered by a 2-litre diesel engine
The 2022 Citroen C5 Aircross is powered by a 2-litre diesel engineShot by Avdhoot A Kolhe for evo India

2022 Citroen C5 Aircross price and verdict

The C5 Aircross is priced at Rs 36.6 lakh (ex-showroom), and is only available in a single fully kitted out variant. Its rivals include the Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson and the Jeep Compass. The all-new Tucson which got a complete generation upgrade sits at Rs 33 lakh for the top-end 2WD variant, while even the AWD variant sits under the C5’s price. And from that perspective, this C5 does come across as a car that is fairly expensive. But there are reasons to recommend it. The comfort for one, is a strong factor. The fact that it isn’t as ubiquitous as its rivals is another. It may not be the most value for money out there, but you will stand out from the crowd!

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