When it came to the mid-sized SUV marketplace, Citroën sat on the sidelines for a long time, before deciding to enter the market in 2018 with the C5 Aircross.
Citroën had clearly studied the sector well, because the Aircross turned out to be rather talented, in its own quirky way. And with prices as low as £11,000, it makes a value-for-money used car for towing a caravan.
What’s a used Citroën C5 Aircross like inside?
First things first – if you need a big family towing car with more than five seats, walk on by, because the Aircross has no seven-seat option. If you don’t need the extra seating, there’s lots of boot space to carry all of your stuff, which is always a major concern for buyers looking for the best caravan tow cars.
Still, there’s reasonable room for five people. The two up front have loads of legroom, while those in the rear have the ability to slide each of the three individual seats to vary legroom or boot space as required. In addition, the flat floor means everyone gets foot space, too.
However, we’d advise avoiding cars fitted with the panoramic sunroof, because this robs too much of the headroom. Anyone tall will likely end up with a cricked neck.
Even entry-spec Feel cars come with a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear parking sensors and dual-zone climate control. Mid-spec cars (Flair) add a rear camera (ideal for caravanners), cruise control, sat nav (see: the best caravan sat navs if you need one) and front parking sensors. Top-spec Flair Plus models added keyless entry, adaptive cruise and a powered tailgate.
In 2022, the naming convention was replaced with two trims, C-Series and Shine, but the equipment levels remained similar.
How does a Citroën C5 Aircross drive?
There have been a number of engines available in the C5 Aircross, from a 1.2-litre petrol through to a 1.6-litre petrol, a couple of diesels and a 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid.
The 2.0-litre diesel is the best option for tow car buyers, although it’s rarer than the 1.5. It develops 295lb ft of torque and this combines with the smooth eight-speed automatic transmission for refined towing.
The Citroën has pretty soft suspension, next to that of similar SUVs, which means it offers a different driving experience. It majors on comfort, although the set-up isn’t infallible and can let low-speed bumps through a bit more than ideal.
When towing, the big Citroën is stable and gives no cause for concern, even when passing large lorries. Hill starts are easy, and sudden lane changes cause no issues. The 66kg towball limit could be too low for some tow car buyers, however.
One other caveat if you’re after a 4×4 for towing – Citroën chose not to give the C5 Aircross four-wheel drive.
What you need to know about a used Citroën C5 Aircross
- Kerbweight: 1615kg
- Towing limit: 1650kg
- Noseweight limit: 66kg
- 85% match: 1373kg
- Insurance group: 25
- Annual VED: £180
- Average economy: 42.3mpg
- Interim/full service: £141/£191
Servicing prices supplied by Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262,
The DVSA has seen fit to recall the Citroën C5 Aircross on a few occasions in the past.
One action involved 1323 models that had been provided with incorrect engine-management software. Then 23 cars were recalled because of faulty towbar welds.
Another 10 were recalled because of damaged towbar bolts, while diesel particulate filters accounted for the recall of a further 432 examples. A full list of recalls can be found at check-vehicle-recalls.service.gov.uk.
Alternatives to consider
A used Peugeot 5008 uses the same underpinnings as the Citroën C5 Aircross, with one crucial difference – it can offer seven seats. It’s also the same as the Citroën in what it can’t offer – four-wheel drive. Still, it looks good inside and out, and comes with a similarly extensive kit list. But the 5008 is quite light, which tends to restrict what it can tow, and the towball weight limit is just 72kg.
Another option is a Hyundai Santa Fe Mk3 – it makes a fine option if you want a hassle-free towing experience that you can forget about until the next trip.
The C5 Aircross undeniably dances to its own tune, and is all the better for that. It’s well equipped, comfortable and stable, although some caravanners might find the towball limit of 66kg too restrictive.
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