First Drive

First Drive: Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV

The story:
Citroen’s first plug-in hybrid model sees the C5 Aircross crossover model get a powertrain capable of an official 34 miles of battery-only travel for a 32g/km emissions figure.
Key rival:Peugeot 3008
On sale:Now


Citroen is moving towards all its cars and vans having a plug-in hybrid or full electric alternative by 2025, and the C5 Aircross is the first to gain a PHEV powertrain. It offers an electric-only range of up to 34 miles and emissions from 31g/km.

First Drive- December 2020- Citroen C5 Aircross- Image 4Despite being the most expensive model in the line-up, the plug-in is expected to account for around 20% of C5 Aircross sales next year. Almost three quarters of those will go into the company car sector thanks to the low emissions that mean a 40% taxpayer will pay £123 per month in BiK taxation, compared to £392 on a top-spec diesel. It also generates 225hp while the diesel produces 180hp.

Whole-life costs are also better on the PHEV thanks to lower employer NI, as well as the fuel savings if the car is plugged in often to maximise EV operation.

First Drive- December 2020- Citroen C5 Aircross- Image 2Citroen has recently been pushing to get back to being known for the comfort of its cars, as it was many years ago, and the C5 Aircross PHEV is a notably fine exponent of that, offering refined and cosseting progress and absorbing bumps well.

It’s not the sharpest steer, but it’s not a performance car, and anyway, there’s no shortage of acceleration.

Practicality is slightly curtailed by the addition of the batteries, with boot space dropping from 580 litres to 460, although that rises to 600 with the three rear seats slid forward as far as they go. There’s also a handy under-floor stowage space for the charging cable.

paul barker

The verdict

Comfortable and sensible as well as offering plenty of character inside and out, the C5 Aircross makes plenty of sense in PHEV form.