The marketing people at Citroen are always keen to push their very stylish DS brand as a separate entity. It’s a difficult task and will take time as most motorists tend to include the DS brand in the Citroen stable. Of course they are correct as the DS, Citroen and Subaru are now part of the IM group who distribute the three brands in Ireland.
The DS models have transported French presidents since the sixties when Charles De Gaulle credited the state-of-the-art suspension on-board his Citroen DS with saving his life.
The Citroen brand has been seen on Irish roads for decades, with some motorists very loyal to the French brand. For many years Citroen shared the Gowan headquarters in Bluebell with Peugeot. Now, as mentioned earlier, they are part of the IM group based in Baldonnel.
That’s the history lesson out of the way, now let me tell you about the massive Citroen C5 Aircross that I drove last week. What’s this SUV like? Well in three words, ‘comfortable and stylish.’ Straight away it reminded me of the stylish DS7 that I drove earlier this year.
It’s a huge five-door with some typical Citroen styling touches. The double chevron badges are bold identifiers as are the 3D effect in the rear lights. Citroen has retained just one of their famous air-bumps, which dominated the C4 Cactus.
The C5 Aircross has an unusual extra option with a factory-fitted dash cam. Citroen say this is a first on a new car in Ireland. In the event of an accident, it records and automatically saves the 30 seconds before and 60 seconds after impact. In this age of ‘compensation culture,’ I think this is a product will see more of in cars.
The seats are comfortable and very flexible. There is plenty of head and leg room for five adults. And the boot is massive. And the good news is that the boot also includes a spare wheel.
Citroen has suffered an image problem in Ireland for years, but the C5 has a five-year unlimited mileage warranty which is reassuring for potential buyers. The Aircross is competing in a tough sector with the likes of the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Karoq, Peugeot 3008 SUV and Ford Kuga. The latter was the best-selling car in Ireland during the month of September.
It might not be the choice for a French President, but I think the C5 Aircross would certainly be a decent car for the security people who protect a President or Taoiseach or indeed anybody who likes a bit of style in their daily life.
The C5 Aircross starts at €26,495, but that’s just the basic model and naturally prices will rise rapidly the more goodies you want in your new car. The top of the range model will cost you €41,795. Available in various petrol and diesel engines.
I really enjoy my week in the C5 Aircross and had no complaints. With Brexit looming, it looks like our real friends may be in mainland Europe. Maybe Irish motorists will pay more attention to French and German car brands in future. Many Irish motorists still want that bargain buy, even if that means crossing the border for one. But the new charges on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, introduced in last month’s Budget, will make it more expensive to import old diesel cars.