The new SUV C5 Aircross is certainly a crucial vehicle for Citroën's future. However, it is in China that it is being presented and will be marketed this year. For Europe, it will wait until the end of 2018. The brand therefore confirms its priorities: to relaunch its activity in a Chinese market where it has lost market share that has been hard won in recent years.

Required refocusing

It is therefore definitely over for avant-garde or atypical Citroëns. The chevron brand is now a follower and is resigned to switching a good part of its range to the SUV. Goodbye the C5 and its hydraulic suspension and make way for a C5 Aircross that surfs the wave of the recreational vehicle. Unfortunately, this is what had to be done to regain market share. The SUV segment is appreciated worldwide and represents, according to Citroën, one in four sales worldwide. Let's admit that there was a great job done to make the C5 Aircross immediately recognizable as a Citroën. The brand's latest styling elements are all present (dual-blade grille, split headlights, airbumps) and match the SUV's look quite well. And originality is always in evidence with original chrome window frames. It's also a nice surprise that this cabin: the right mix of technology and sportiness; the refined styling of the C4 Cactus is taken up again while being much more luxurious. All this looks good, especially since all the necessary equipment for comfort and safety will be present. Seriously, the whole thing is very pleasant to look at. Let's just hope that this freshness resists the time between us and its commercialization in Europe. The presentation of the C5 Aircross seems premature. It will be marketed in Europe at the end of 2018. By then, many competitors will have appeared. And in the SUV world, everything goes out of style very quickly. But there was an urgency: Citroën is struggling in China. Dongfeng will therefore start producing it this year for marketing in the second half of the year. For Europe, there are no assembly lines on the horizon yet. Next year PSA will start manufacturing it (probably in Sochaux or Mulhouse). But it's not the end of the world: until then, Citroën will have a lot to do to promote the small C3 Aircross (prefigured in Geneva by the C-Aircross Concept). But let's come back to our novelty and what it will bring to the category. First innovation: in the absence of hydraulic suspensions, at least the shock absorber stops will be. An exclusivity that will set Citroën apart from the competition and perpetuate its long reputation for comfort. The second innovation is a plug-in hybrid solution consisting of a 1.6L THP petrol engine (driving the front wheels) and two electric motors (1 for the front, 1 for the rear) with an overall power of 300 hp and a range in zero emission mode of 60 kilometres. Thus motorized, the C5 Aircross will necessarily be a 4×4. This will not be the case with other conventional petrol and diesel engines: no all-wheel drive is planned, but just a Grip Control assisted by a Hill Assist Descent Control to maintain a low descent speed in difficult grip conditions.