Much has been made of Citroën’s widely heralded Progressive Hydraulic Cushions, fitted here, but, as on the C4 Cactus, if you’re expecting a softness of ride quality that makes you think time has turned back 40 years, you’ll be disappointed.
What they do, though, is give the C5 Aircross a pliancy that’s missing from most of today’s rivals, although given our test car rode on 55-profile tyres, you’d have hoped that the generous sidewall would give it some anyway.
Bump absorption is good, though, and there’s never any harshness regardless of what surface you’re cruising over. There’s a touch of road noise at speed but the moochability, the ease with which an Aircross goes about daily driving, is generally good.
Allied to that is a reasonable amount of lean, which is unsurprising – the point of the hydraulic bump-stops is that Citroën can soften the meat of the ride because there isn’t a harsh end to its travels – and, as a result, it pays to be smooth with the controls. Be harsh with the steering, brakes or throttle and you can get out of phase with the ride, so the Aircross is very much a car that’s best with measured inputs.
The steering is light. Perhaps it’s overly light, and although it firms up with a press of the Sport button, that only ever adds some extra faux weight. There’s nothing here that strikes you as genuine road feel or feedback. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in itself. Most cars of this type have only an approximation of road feel, and it’s accurate enough. But if it’s going to be remote, then a more consistent weighting and a freedom from steering corruption would be nice alongside it.
Instead, the first bit of wheel travel evokes nothing, and then there’s an over-quick response that, combined with the suspension’s softness, makes this car harder to drive smoothly than you’d hope. And if you’re on a moderate throttle or more, while there’s nothing you’d clearly define as torque steer, there’s definite corruption: sometimes pulling the wheel straight, sometimes pulling it into a corner, but more likely just making it feel stickier.