Citroën has always loved to cosset the occupants of its cars and the C5 Aircross takes pampering to a new level.

The French carmaker’s move into the crucial family crossover market was a while coming but was worth the wait.

Its platform is shared with the Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall Grandland, but its rounded corners, smooth surfaces, body-protecting Airbumps and coloured rings and strips give it huge individuality.

The muscular, high-riding C5 Aircross goes the extra mile to smooth the way for driver and passengers, packing in everything from special suspension to supremely comfortable seats.

And underpinning the entire package is the clear aim to make the car as practical, versatile and user-friendly as possible, with three individual sliding, folding and reclining rear seats, and a whopping boot space.

Citroën says it filed about 20 patents in the development of the suspension, derived from its experience in the World Rally Championship, which is designed to improve ride comfort.

On normal roads, the springs and shock absorbers control vertical movements together, but over rougher surfaces they work with two extra hydraulic stops, which absorb and dissipate energy and gradually slow movement to avoid jerks at either end of the range.

The result is a quiet, character-filled, easy-to-drive car that glides along, even over seriously uneven surfaces.

The light, bright interior, with its panoramic sunroof, is equally state of the art, with digital instruments displayed on a customisable 12.3-inch screen and an eight-inch centrally-mounted touchscreen handling everything from satellite navigation and audio to climate control.

The steering wheel, with built-in controls, has a thick rim and a flat base together with a gloss black and satin chrome finish.

Practical touches come from a wide central armrest with a butterfly opening into a large cooled storage space. There are also backlit cupholders and a designated area for smartphone charging.

Power on the test car came from the 180 horsepower, 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol gem of an engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission for even more relaxed travel.

The technology packed into the C5 Aircross, with its windscreen-mounted camera and radar sensor built into the front bumper, is simply too long to list here, but is clearly moving towards the self-driving car.

Suffice to say it includes everything from active braking that detects stationary or moving obstacles, pedestrians or vehicles, and brakes automatically, to adaptive cruise control and headlights which automatically switch between high and low beam settings.

If the blind spot warning system activates and you start to turn towards the side in question without indicating, a degree of force is applied to the steering wheel to alert you and avoid a collision.

The ‘highway driver assist’ system combines adaptive cruise control and active lane departure warning. The system records the car’s position in the lane and takes over both speed and direction. You need to keep your hands on the wheel, even though you are not steering, and can take back control at any time by pushing on the active lane departure warning system button, by exerting force on the steering wheel or by braking.

Like all of the latest Citroën models, the C5 Aircross offers plenty of personalisation, with 30 different exterior colour combinations, using seven body colours, a black two-tone roof option and three colour packs – including coloured inserts on the front bumper, the Airbump panels on the lower part of the front doors, and on the roof bars. It also comes with five interior choices of colours and materials.

The C5 Aircross with a plug-in hybrid powertrain is being unveiled at this month’s Brussels Motor Show and will go on sale in the UK in the middle of the year. Citroën says it will be the first model in its electric offensive, with six electrified models being introduced this year and all new models launched by the brand featuring an electrified version by 2025.

Auto facts

Model: Citroën C5 Aircross PureTech 180 EAT8 Flair+

Price: £33,405 as tested

Insurance group: 24E

Fuel consumption (combined): 39.6mpg

Top speed: 134mph

Length: 450cm/176.7in

Width: 186cm/73in

Luggage capacity: 20.5 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 11.6 gallons/53 litres

CO2 emissions: 131g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles