The Citroën C5 Aircross SUV, launched at the Shanghai Auto Show, will include the first plug-in hybrid model from the French brand.
The five-seater will go on sale first in China and arrive in European showrooms in 2018. It will become Citroën’s major player in the still-booming compact crossover segment, rivalling the likes of the segment-creating and still mass-selling Nissan Qashqai.
Production versions of the C5 Aircross will include petrol and diesel powertrains but it is the plug-in hybrid variant that is causing the most interest. Combining a 200hp engine with electric motors on the front and rear axles will promise a total power output of more than 300hp, making it Citroën’s most potent production car yet.
Four PHEV modes
Citroën says that four driving modes will be available in the PHEV version of the C5 Aircross. All electric will have a range of up to 36 miles (60km), while there will also be a long-distance Hybrid mode during which the system will not recharge, a Combined mode and a 4×4 mode.
Standard versions of the car will be front-wheel-drive only, but will offered with the PSA Group’s highly effective Grip Control system that aids traction on off-road surfaces.
The C5 Aircross is based firmly on the Aircross concept first shown in 2015 and is built on the PSA Group platform that also underpins the recently released Peugeot 3008. It measures 4500mm long, 1840mm wide and 1670mm high, on a 2730mm wheelbase, and promises a boot capacity of 482 litres.
A new suspension system debuts with the model, described by Citroën as ‘an important milestone’ in the development of its Advanced Comfort programme. The system uses ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushions’ to improve damping quality and overall ride comfort, and according to its creators has resulted in the filing of 20 new patents.
‘Magic carpet’ ride
The new Citroën system adds two hydraulic stops to each suspension unit – one for rebound and one for compression, resulting in the suspension functioning in two steps, depending on the loads placed on it. The hydraulic stops are used when required and are said to create a ‘magic carpet’ effect, as if the car were flying over bumps and dips in the road.
Citroën CEO Linda Jackson describes the New C5 Aircross as “the symbol of a brand with strong momentum,” and the first practical illustration of the brand’s offensive on the SUV market.
“(The C5 illustrates) our ability to approach it in our own way, with greater emphasis on character, comfort and on-board well-being – New C5 Aircross will clearly be a major growth driver for Citroën,” Jackson adds.