It is the crux of every multi-brand automotive group. One architecture, in this case the EMP2 platform, forms the basis for many models. This is shared, for example, by the Opel Grandland X, the Peugeot 3008 and the Citroën C5 Aircross. So that buyers don’t fall into a deep sleep because of the uniform appearance, the designers of course use new hats based on largely identical technology. So far so good. Citroën is traditionally a bit more expressive than Opel and Peugeot. So the C5 immediately catches the eye. “We are a pop brand,” emphasizes Citroën Germany boss Patrick Dinger.

But pop artists also have to make money and the best way to do that in the automotive sector is to expand the model range. After all, everyone on the right side of the Rhine should be happy in their own way. That’s why Citroën has strapped another plug-in hybrid module with 133 kW / 181 hp between the wheels of the C5 Aircross. Not everyone needs the full power of 165 kW / 225 HP and, with a starting price of 44,620 euros, this variant is 1,500 euros cheaper than the more powerful version. This money can also be put into extras, such as a single-phase 7.4 kW onboard charger for 400 euros, which replaces the standard 3.7 kW version. Or the 360-degree camera for 350 euros.

But the extras are of no use if the part-time electrician turns out to be a rolling, moving dune. The Citroën C5 Aircross Plug-in Hybrid 180 doesn’t do that, at least as long as you take a more relaxed approach. If you operate with a light foot on the accelerator, the interaction between the 110 kW / 150 hp combustion engine and the 81 kW / 110 hp electric motor creates a confident master of the situation. The system torque of 360 Newton meters has an easy time with the 1,935 kilogram crossover. The performance also reads quite well on the data sheet. After 8.9 seconds, the part-time electric car reaches highway speed from a standstill and continues at speeds of up to 215 km/h. This means you can travel quickly enough between Flensburg and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. As soon as you put some demands on the drivetrain, however, it’s over with confidence. Then the four-cylinder petrol engine whines in annoyance and the moderate propulsion does not match the noise level.

The other side of the coin is consumption. The battery has a capacity of 12.4 kilowatt hours, which is enough for 63 WLTP kilometers. With a purely electric top speed of 135 km/h, you can get along easily even outside inhabited areas. However, the electric drive drains the energy storage quite quickly. We started our test drive with full batteries and let the system take control of the use of the two drive types. The result was a consumption of 2.8 l/100 km, i.e. 1.2 l/100 km more than the French car manufacturer claims.

For several years now, anyone who says Citroën has meant Advanced Comfort suspension. So dampers with two hydraulic stops that provide either pressure or tension on both sides, depending on the driving situation and stress. This means that the spring travel is longer when there are small bumps. If the blows become harsher, the hydraulic stop absorbs the kinetic energy and dissipates it again immediately. Sounds obvious and still performs well on the asphalt and provides a comfortable driving experience. The hydraulic-mechanical system only reaches its limits when there are transverse joints in quick succession.

With a length of 4.50 meters and a wheelbase of 2.73 meters, the Citroën C5 Aircross promises a decent amount of space on all seats in the compact segment. For example, the axles of the current VW Tiguan are five centimeters closer together. The legroom is okay, only around the head it becomes a little tight for people over 1.85 meters tall due to the light glass roof. Especially since the trunk is a decent size with a volume of 460. If you fold down the backrests of the back seat, a flat loading floor is created and the capacity increases to 1,510 liters. A large hatch makes filling the luggage compartment easier. So the small PHEV of the Citroën C5 Aircross is definitely worth considering.