We live in a world where SUVs spend most of their time on city streets, so bear that in mind before dismissing Citroën’s most recent publicity stunt as being silly.
The French carmaker decided it could generate buzz for the C5 Aircross by having it tackle the world’s steepest street. Earlier this year, Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech, Wales was officially announced by Guinness World Records as the steepest street in the world, a title previously held by Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand.
This was enough for Citroën UK’s PR team to devise a challenge for the brand’s flagship C5 Aircross SUV. Mind you, we’re talking about a model that only comes with front-wheel drive. Attempting to conquer the winding street that has a gradient of up to 37.5% is, therefore, no small feat.
However, at no point does Citroën mention in the press release that the SUV climbed it. Furthermore, all the photos show the C5 Aircross descending the street. Still, the press release is titled “New Citroën C5 Aircross SUV Tackles The World’s Steepest Street And Comes Out On Top.” Surely that can lead the reader to believe the French SUV actually climbed the steep road.
Since we seriously doubted that was the case, we contacted Citroën UK for clarification:
“The release was only referring to descending the street. You can’t actually go up the steepest sections on the northern half as they are one-way only,” said Citroën UK PR Manager Simon Broome in an email reply to our inquiry. Since not everyone may be up to date with the traffic rules on Ffordd Pen Llech, maybe this should have been included in the release in order to avoid giving people the impression that the C5 Aircross actually climbed the street.
The C5 Aircross can be equipped with Grip Control, Hill Descent Assist, and ConnectedCAM assistance systems, but we’re having a hard time believing those could help a FWD vehicle climb a gradient of 37.5%. Still, at least Citroën is covered by the fact that it couldn’t legally drive to the top of the hill.
Also watch: Citroen C5 Aircross Is Betting On Comfort And Design To Attract Buyers
When asked whether the descent was filmed, the PR team replied: “We don’t have a video from the event.”
Meanwhile, we’ve added the Guinness World Records video presentation of the street, which meanders round a series of tight turns and steep descents for about 330 meters (1,083 feet), with the total climb (or descent) measuring 50 meters (164 feet).