It’s the second model, after the C4 Cactus, to make use of Citroën's rally-derived Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension - unique to the brand - which aims to revive some of the ‘magic carpet’ feeling old Citroens with hydropneumatic suspension were renowned for, but without the complexity.
The brand’s wide-reaching ‘Advanced Comfort’ programme also brings seats that wouldn’t look out of place in a high-end furniture store, acoustic glass and additional engine bay soundproofing.
Does the C5 Aircross meet Citroen's comfort brief?
It is fundamentally good enough to compete with the class average, but the C5 Aircross doesn’t quite match up to Citroën’s marketing pitch in the areas that matter.
The brand’s confidence in its new SUV is such that it decided to launch the car in Morocco, a country where roadbuilding is best described as hit and miss. The challenging route took in highways, broken mountain roads and unkempt dirt tracks, giving us ample opportunity to put Citroën’s claim of this being “the most comfortable SUV in its class” to the test.
Climb aboard and first impressions are positive. The seats are the stand-out feature - softly trimmed and thickly padded, they initially feel a touch too cushy, but prove surprisingly supportive on the move.
A multitude of colour options help give the cabin a light and airy feel, and the standard-fit digital instrument display is more configurable than most. We’ve no complaints with the adjustability of the driving position, either, with this 6ft 2in tester able to quickly get comfortable.
Closer examination reveals some familiar Citroën foibles, however. Trim quality at the usual touchpoints varies from surprisingly plush to somewhat below-par, particularly on the flimsy-feeling door cards, while the brand’s infotainment system remains irritatingly laggy and difficult to operate on the move. There are now menu shortcuts below the screen, but they are touch capacitive rather than physical buttons, and as such are a hindrance rather than a help.
The C5 Aircross fulfils its promise of best-in-class practicality, at least. Three individual, equal-width rear seats slide, recline and can be removed entirely, while the only black mark in terms of space is the significant rear headroom reduction with the panoramic sunroof fitted. With those seats slid all the way forward there’s a very generous 720-litre boot, and in the centre console there’s a huge chilled compartment.
The dynamic premise of the C5 Aircross is one we can get on board with. Many SUVs accept some compromise over their hatchback equivalents due to the extra bulk and higher centre of gravity. Often the solution is stiffening up the suspension to mitigate excess body movement, resulting in a less-than-cosseting ride on pockmarked British roads.
Citroën's unique (and patented) suspension concept adds a pair of secondary hydraulic dampers to each suspension coil, replacing the usual rubber bump stops. The larger the bump is, the more cushioning they offer, and they allow the fitment of softer springs and dampers.
In reality it’s not quite as transformative as it seemed on the first version we tried back in 2016. The initial softness is promising, and the system is adept at cushioning you from less demanding roads. But it doesn’t seem a great deal better than the class average at absorbing large impacts. Throw in a succession of potholes and the illusion of composure is lost, too; the body stays largely level but suspension movement is clearly felt (and heard).