Citroen C5 X review: Unique French fantasy is a hybrid in more ways than one Bedford News

Motoring journalists have long had a soft spot for French big cars.

Something about their rejection of mainstream thinking and quirky design seems to appeal to a certain subset of the media.

But that’s not always reflected in the choices of the car-buying public. While the press raves about the DS, the CX and the C6, the big Citroëns often remain the prerogative of a handful of brand enthusiasts and those who seek to voluntarily differentiate themselves.

This has been especially true in recent years as the D-segment sedan/hatchback – Mondeo, Insignia, etc. – has been supplanted by the SUV in people’s driveways.

According to Citroën, however, customer tastes are changing, leaving a void for a new big-car Citroën C5 Xtype. Buyers still want the easy access and lofty seating position of an SUV, but they want the “elegantness” of a sedan and the old-fashioned practicality of a station wagon. The French brand’s answer is the C5 X – an unusual fusion of the three that performs better than you’d think.


Visually it has the long, swept lines of a saloon, but from the sides there’s a station wagon/shooting brake feel to the way the rear three-quarters stretch. Satisfying the seemingly endless need for SUV cues, ground clearance is higher than a traditional sedan and a thin line of cladding runs over the arches where 19-inch alloys lurk along with refreshing, sport-focused tires. comfort.

Practically, he also does his three-in-one brief very well. That slightly raised ride height allows for more comfortable entry and exit and a good view of the road ahead, and the interior space is impressive. It’s still more of a four-seater than a five-seater, but as long as you and your passengers aren’t much taller than six feet, everyone will fit comfortably. Legroom is generously commendable and headroom is good for all but the tallest passengers.

Responding to the ambition to offer practicality worthy of a station wagon, the boot opening is wide, high and square and gives access to 545 liters of storage in five-seater mode (485 in PHEV) and up to 1,640 liters with the rear seats folded down. Higher specification cars also benefit from hands-free operation of the power tailgate.


Compared to the wild interiors of previous big Citroëns, the C5 X is quite understated and logical. There are echoes of the C4 with a simple two-tier dashboard, but the C5 X adds a clever ‘wooden’ panel to the front of the dash and door tops with the brand’s signature chevrons worked into the isometric pattern. The chevrons also appear in the contrast stitching on the seats and door cards to show that Citroën can still be eccentric. For the most part the C5 X benefits from decent materials with lots of leather and shiny plastic around key areas, but look closely and there’s still some rough plastic lurking here and there.

All models get a crisp 3D-effect head-up display and a new infotainment system housed in a 12-inch touchscreen. The system is inspired by mobile phones and is significantly clearer, faster and easier to use than previous Citroën systems. Fortunately, Citroën also left real physical controls for the ventilation system.

The C5 X’s Advanced Comfort seats are the latest and greatest interpretation of the design which uses several different layers of foam to create seats that are soft yet supportive. They manage to offer armchair-like comfort while offering plenty of support and they’re part of a three-pronged approach, meaning the C5 X offers truly premium levels of comfort and refinement. at a consumer price.

Acoustic glass and plenty of soundproofing help keep outside noise intrusion to a minimum and mean the C5 X is as quiet as anything you’ll find this side of 100k.


The latest incarnation of the Advanced Comfort suspension does the same for road surfaces. Only the worst dips and potholes will catch up with it, otherwise it absorbs the vagaries of poorly maintained roads with the aplomb for which the big Citroëns are famous.

The C5 X isn’t the first Citroën to use smart air-cushion suspension, but it’s the best execution to date. The C4 rides well but feels soft, with a good amount of body roll. The C5 feels less mushy, especially the hybrid versions. They are the first Citroëns to feature electronically controlled adaptive dampers, which react to road conditions and driving mode. Switch to sport mode and there’s a definite tightening of body control, with less pitch and roll in the corners. It’s still not a sports saloon and the body floats a bit, but it feels more composed and controlled than previous big Citroëns.

Engines and performance

The plug-in hybrid is one of three drivetrain options available from launch. It combines a 1.6-liter four-cylinder petrol engine with an 80 kW electric motor. Peak output is 222 hp and official EV range is 31 miles, though my test car promised a less impressive 21 on a full charge. Charging the 12.4 kWh battery should take around an hour via the standard 7.4 kW on-board system.

Hybrid performance is strong enough without burning the barn. Zero to 62 mph takes just under eight seconds and after the initial spurt of the electric motor it’s smooth and linear. What’s nice is how smoothly the system operates when switching between modes as well as the effortless feel of cruising around town in electric mode.

A Puretech 180 petrol is also on offer – essentially the hybrid minus the electric motor and battery – and a Puretech 130, which should be the best seller but feels less well suited to the car than the hybrid.

It’s still a decent, punchy motor with impressive torque, but it feels like it’s at the limit of its useful abilities in the C5 X and quick changes of pace aren’t its forte.

The biggest problem is that under throttle you’re very aware of the roar of the 1.2 three-cylinder engine, despite the C5 X’s commendable sound deadening. a far cry from the smoothness or quietness of the four-cylinder hybrid setup.

Of course, the less powerful petrol is much cheaper than the hybrid – around £8,000 less for equivalent trim – but with a much higher BiK rate for professional buyers.

Prices and specifications

Prices for the C5 X start at £26,490 for the Puretech 130 version in Sense Plus, with a £1,500 increase for Shine, then another £2,000 increase for Shine Plus. The range tops out at £38,670 for the PHEV Shine Plus.

All models feature full LED lighting with auto-dilting headlights, head-up display, keyless entry and start, and dual-zone climate control. a more advanced instrumentation system and a 12-inch central screen.

More expensive models also feature different wheel designs, satin chrome trim, premium leather interiors, heated power seats and a heated steering wheel. High-end cars offer roadside assistance with adaptive cruise and lane-keep assist, extended blind-spot warning and more advanced forward collision detection, and a 360-degree parking camera.


The C5 X, in the purest tradition of large Citroëns, is a somewhat atypical proposition. It’s unlike anything else and combines a respectably traditional interior and specification with the kind of comfort and refinement that any premium brand would be proud of. It also manages to manage to fulfill its bizarre three-in-one mandate, so if the car-buying public is in the mood for a change, it could be in a good position to capitalize.

Citroën C5 X Shine Plus plug-in hybrid

Price: £38,670; Motor: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, turbo, petrol with 80 kW electric motor; Power: 222 hp; Torque: 184 lbs/ft; Transmission: Eight-speed automatic; Top speed: 145mph; 0-62mph: 7.8 seconds; Economy: 186.2-236.2 mpg; CO2 emissions: 30-34g/km; EV range: 31 miles

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This notice was published: 2022-03-14 16:50:27

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