Citroen enters the SUV fray with C5 Aircross

Citroen has waded deeper into the SUV fray with the announcement of the new C5 Aircross.

On display at the Shanghai Motor Show, the five-seat SUV will take on the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Seat Ateca when it launches in the second half of next year.

It’s the first Citroen to be offered as a plug-in hybrid, which will also be the most powerful model in the French car maker’s line up.

The hybrid’s drivetrain will comprise a 200bhp combustion engine and two electric motors, one front and one rear, developing a total output of 300bhp. The four-wheel-drive hybrid model will have a claimed all-electric range of up to 60km.

Most buyers are likely to plump for petrol or diesel models, however, and the new model is likely to share the same range of conventionally powered engines from the current C4 Cactus.

The C5 Aircross will feature a new suspension system called Progressive Hydraulic Cushions which aims to improve damping quality while maintaining “Citroen characteristics”.

The system adds two hydraulic stops, one for rebound and one for compression, on either side. Citroen says these stops create a “‘flying carpet’ effect as if the car were flying over bumps and dips in the road”.

The hybrid will be a 4×4 but all other models will be front-wheel drive, albeit with Citroen’s Grip Control system which uses clever electronics to improve traction.

Built on the same platform as its sibling the Peugeot 3008, it is 4.5m long, 1.84m wide and 1,67m tall making it one of the largest SUVs in the sector.

Three trim levels will be offered, with top models getting panoramic roofs, and massage front seats.

There’s no word on prices but expect it to closely match the Peugeot 3008 which costs from around £22,000.