A full used buyer’s guide on the Citroen C5 Aircross focusing on the Mk1 C5 Aircross that’s been on sale since 2019
The C5 Aircross is no class leader, but it’s a likeable mid-sized SUV with a lot to offer for a family buyer. It’s a car that’s easy to drive as well as to live with, thanks to decent practicality, and the model’s styling also looks distinctive. The infotainment system lets the side down a little, though; it’s not terrible, just not as good as what some rivals offer. There are plenty to choose from on the used market, but while the car was a big advance in many ways over many of Citroen’s previous offerings, we’d be sure to check out some of the alternatives mentioned – one of those might suit you even better.
Years ago, Citroen wasn’t afraid to go its own way when it came to designing and engineering its cars. Fast-forward to more recent times, and the French firm lost its mojo for innovation, and when the world started to go mad for SUVs, Citroen focused on more established segments.
In 2007 it made a half-hearted attempt at embracing the SUV craze by teaming up with Mitsubishi to offer its first product in the segment, the C-Crosser. But this sold poorly and Citroen stuck with more MPV-like cars until the C4 Cactus arrived in 2014, although this was little more than a high-riding hatch.
Car group tests
- Citroen C5 Aircross vs SEAT Ateca: 2022 twin test review
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- Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV: long-term test review
- New Citroen C5 Aircross 2022 review
- New Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV 2022 review
- New Citroen C5 Aircross hybrid 2020 review
- New Citroen C5 Aircross PureTech 130 2020 review
Incredibly, it wasn’t until 2019 that Citroen fully embraced the SUV segment with the C5 Aircross. But was it worth the wait?
The C5 Aircross went on sale in February 2019. Buyers could pick between 132bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech 130, and 178bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder PureTech 180 petrol engines. For diesel fans there was the 132bhp 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 or the 174bhp 2.0-litre BlueHDi 180.
A year later, Citroen added a plug-in hybrid to the range, sold as the C5 Aircross Hybrid. This was essentially a PureTech 180 with battery assist, to give a peak power output of 222bhp. A C-Series trim level, between Shine and Shine Plus, was added to the range in December 2020, then a range-topping Hybrid Black Edition appeared in September 2021, based on the Shine Plus.
A facelifted C5 Aircross arrived in April 2022, with a refreshed exterior design, additional options, improved multimedia and extra driver-assistance systems.
Which one should I buy?
All of the engines work well, and so does the EAT8 automatic gearbox; it’s very slick, unlike many previous Citroen autos. From early 2021, the Feel, Flair and Flair Plus trims were replaced by Sense, Shine and Shine Plus; equipment stayed largely the same, though.
Entry-level models are rare, but if you find one, it’ll have dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, a DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 17-inch alloy wheels, plus automatic headlights and wipers.
The mid-range Flair added blind-spot monitoring, front parking sensors and a rear camera, upgraded seats and trim, navigation, an integrated dash cam, 18-inch wheels and privacy glass.
The top-spec Flair Plus had a powered tailgate, auto emergency braking, keyless go, adaptive cruise control and 19-inch wheels.
Alternatives to the Citroen C5 Aircross
Every mainstream car maker offers at least one mid-sized SUV because they’re one of the most popular segments. Ford’s Kuga is readily available and good to drive, while the Nissan Qashqai looks smart and is user-friendly. The Hyundai Tucson has distinctive looks and has an impressive interior, and these traits are shared with the closely related Kia Sportage.
The Citroen shares much with the Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall Grandland, both of which impress for their cabin quality, usability and ease of driving; we especially like the Peugeot as an overall package.
The Toyota RAV4 is another great all-rounder, while the Renault Kadjar is roomy and cheap to run. Don’t overlook the Volkswagen Group trio, either; the SEAT Ateca, Skoda Karoq and VW Tiguan are easy to live with, well made and come with some great engines.
What to look for
PureTech 130 and BlueHDi 130 engines came with manual or EAT8 (eight-speed auto) transmissions.
The C5 Aircross comes with three years of warranty and a 60,000-mile limit on year three. Hybrid batteries have eight-year/100k cover.
Maps and infotainment can be updated at home. Go to aircrossforums.co.uk for tips, because it can be a tricky process.
Weights vary, from the BlueHDi 130 auto at 1,250kg, to the PureTech 180 and BlueHDi 180, which can manage 1,500kg and 1,650kg respectively.
So far the C5 Aircross seems to be holding up well, thanks to running gear that is widely shared and well proven across the PSA Group. The interior is less rugged than some, so check for wear or damage. Software issues have been noted, too.
If you haven’t tried a Citroen for a while, you’re likely to be impressed by the improvements made in terms of overall fit and finish.
The controls of the C5 Aircross are generally intuitive and the cabin mostly works well overall, but the seats could be more supportive, while a bit of extra head and legroom in the back wouldn’t go amiss. The rear seats slide back and forth by 150mm, allowing the boot space to be varied between 580 and 720 litres. Fold them down and there’s a maximum of 1,630 litres on offer, which is competitive for the class.
There are a lot of C5 Aircrosses available, we found more than 800 for sale. There’s a 45:55 split in favour of manual transmissions; if you want an auto, you’ll pay a lot more for it. The Feel and Sense entry models are the rarest, with most C5 Aircrosses either mid-range or top-spec editions.
Visit to our sister site Buyacar to get a great deal on a used Citroen C5 Aircross, or to check prices on a specific model head over to our valuation tool.
The Hybrid, PureTech 180 and BlueHDi need to be serviced every year or 20,000 miles. PureTech 130 editions built up to November 2019 cut this to every year or 16,000 miles, while later examples reduced this even further, to annually or every 12,500 miles.
The three-level service schedule runs in sequence: Interim costs £205 for all models (£195 using pattern parts), while Main is set at £255 (or £225). The Major service is £375 for diesels (or £315), £405 (or £345) for the PureTech 130, while for the Hybrid you’ll pay £425 (or £375). On top of this, fresh brake fluid is needed every two years (at £70), and new coolant every 10 years or 112,000 miles.
All C5 Aircross engines have a cambelt. This needs to be replaced every six years or 62,500-64,000 miles (at £499) on PureTech models, while for diesels it’s every 10 years or 120,000 miles (at £575).
Citroen has recalled the C5 Aircross six times so far, the first in February 2020 because of faulty towbar bolts fitted to 10 cars made in September and October 2019. This problem was also behind recalls four and five in January and March 2021. Between them, those two later recalls affected all C5 Aircrosses made up to March 2021.
AdBlue glitches for cars made between October 2019 and March 2020 led to recall number two, in August 2020; a software update was all that was required. Sub-standard diesel particulate filters (requiring replacement), on some cars made between April and July 2019, led to recall three, in November 2020, while the most recent recall was issued in July 2022. This was for C5 Aircrosses built up to March 2020, which could stall due to an engine-management software fault.
Driver Power owner satisfaction
Considering that the C5 Aircross has sold pretty well in the UK, it’s perhaps surprising the model has never appeared in any of our Driver Power surveys. Citroen does, of course, make it into our annual Brands survey, though. In 2022 it came 13th out of 29 – a big jump from 28th in 2021. Owners like the practicality and low running costs of its cars; they’re less enamoured by the infotainment systems and so-so reliability.
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