Bought the SUV after driving & owning a 3rd-gen Honda City for 10 years.

BHPian Frusciante recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I recently completed 1 year of owning a Citroen C5 Aircross. Given all the chatter about Citroen’s sales strategy (or lack of it), I thought I’d look back and document how my year with my machine has been for the benefit of anyone who might have the C5 on their shortlist.

Background

After 10 years of owning a 3rd gen Honda City, which is, as we all know- a very reliable and competent car I felt the need to upgrade. Primary lookouts were overall riding comfort (especially from a driver’s perspective as the car would be 100% self-driven), a refreshing and standout design and rock-solid reliability. My budget was up to 50L so I was very open to exploring across segments which I did – from Alcazar and Hector on one end to the X1, Gloster and Fortuner at the other end though frankly, I didn’t need a 7 seater I still wanted to evaluate all cars in 20L+ bracket. Topping my wishlist in early 2021 was the mighty Endeavour, which I had to drop for obvious reasons. I had even booked a Gloster, but as luck would have it the delivery was delayed and the more I researched about its ownership reviews, I was not convinced at the prospect of spending 45L on such a car with a hit or miss reliability record. For some reason, the C5 was never on my initial list of considerations but when I got down to a test drive, the car checked off all the boxes on my requirement list. The ready availability of the vehicle in the colour of my choice was the icing on the cake and I took possession of the vehicle in early Dec ’21.

Ownership Experience

Without extolling on all the features of the C5 (already done in its forum thread), I’ll leave it at re-emphasizing that the car has completely delivered on its promise of comfort and delight in every sphere – from the ride quality to overall ownership and maintenance experience. It is a fabulous long-distance cruiser and I have done about 10k kms of highways, bad roads, no roads, sand, hills, jungles etc the C5 has munched all of those miles with ease and kept us very comfortable and secure. 14+ hours of drives have been stress-free, as have been night highway drives which I used to hate with my earlier cars. The power and torque on tap, mated with the excellent gearbox and light steering make it an ideal companion for city and highway driving alike. Tech-wise, I believe the car is equipped with everything needed for a safe and comfortable driving experience. The only addition I would have wished for is a 360-degree camera, but the proximity sensors and blind spot detectors do a fab job in aiding your drive. The in-cabin feel is unbelievably quiet, plush and comfortable, thanks to the acoustically shielded window panes and the Michelin tyres which seem to emit no road noise.

After-sales experience and costs

One point that seems to crop up time and again in these forums with respect to Citroen is the possibility of poor after-sales support, given their sparse footprint. Well, I can only speak from my experience which has been phenomenal. The service and support teams have been very proactive, professional, thorough and eager to help. And I’m not talking just about the service centre but even allied support departments like insurance renewal etc where the team worked with me to get me a great renewal deal. I know a couple of C3 owners and they have the same thing to say about Citroen’s ASS support. I have also heard positive stories of their anytime anywhere service on wheels facility even in Tier 2,3 cities. All in all, keeping one’s fear aside, there is every reason to believe that Citroen will continue to deliver on its promise of a hassle-free ownership experience.

Costs have been nominal too. The car has been surprisingly frugal in its fuel consumption for the performance it delivers and I usually get an avg of 12 kms/L despite driving in heavy Mumbai traffic with the air conditioning on 100% of the time. In terms of maintenance costs, I have spent a little over 7k INR in consumables at the time of its 2nd service which again I think is very reasonable. Given the longer service intervals of the vehicle, I do not anticipate future costs to be way out of line with my expectations.

In Summary

At the time I was buying the C5, several of my well-intentioned acquaintances advised me to go for a Harrier, Compass, or Seltos pointing out that I’m wasting a good 12+ Lakh rupees for a 5-seater by a new brand, which does not even carry the luxury brand value of the German big 3. And I would be lying if I said the thought did not haunt me for a while. But with every review of the Harrier, Compass, XUV 700 and MGs that I read where the car has inherent mechanical or electronic faults with the cars spending more time in the service stations than with their owners, I thank myself for opting for a lot more solid product. There is no price I would put on ensuring a 100% safe and reliable journey especially when I’m travelling with my family. As mentioned above, I have put my car through some arduous conditions and it has delivered without a fault, or even as much as a squeak or rattle out of place. And I believe THAT level of solid engineering and reliability alone is worth a premium. Good over cheap – every single time.

So would I opt for a C5 if I was in the market for a premium crossover today? Tough question. As much as I love my car, a few newer cars on the block do pose stiff competition in my opinion – especially the new Tuscon. I have not driven the Tuscon but going by the reviews on the Team-BHP forum, it seems like a very worthy competitor to the C5 packed with some compelling features. It also doesn’t help that the C5 now costs 8 whopping lakhs more than when I bought it (for 38L OTR Mumbai). On the plus side, I prefer the classic and timeless design of the C5 over the cuts and creases “origami unfolded” look of the Tuscon. As you can see, it would have been a tough call for me, so I’m kinda glad I bought the C5 when I did. No one knows how things would pan out for Citroen as a company, a decade down the line – will they thrive or go the Ford/Chevy way? Hard to tell but they seem to be doing the right things in having a good and varied product mix in the pipeline for India. Also helps that at least by word of mouth, no Citroen owner should have anything poor to share about their experience with the company. If the C5 is on your list of considerations – hope this ownership review helps you in your decision-making.

Here’s what BHPian DivyanshuDiv had to say on the matter:

Congratulations on purchasing, owning and experiencing the plush Citroen C5 Aircross. And your car, in black, looks fabulous just like every french luxury product. I hope it gives your safe, memorable and delightful rides. And to add, Tucson is undoubtedly amazing and my favourite, but C5 in my option is a notch above. It is an uncompromised offering until they become a player and jump on the bandwagon(Renault-Nissan/VW Skoda group with India 2.0)

The only issue for me with C5 has to do with its price and thus positioning. Not sure, what Citroen is trying to complete.

Here’s what BHPian Shreyas Aterkar had to say on the matter:

Congratulations on completing 1 yr with the C5. Looks really very beautiful and good to hear all praises of the car from you. Nice review of the car, would be great to see the interior pics and your view of the second-row comfort – the split 3 seats.

Whenever I see one on the road, I turn back and have a second look, I just can’t resist. Will certainly test drive one when I look to change my 4th Gen City. Though, the prices have significantly increased with the facelift and are bound to trigger second thoughts.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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