If there’s a company known for making slightly off-the-wall flagship models, it’s Citroen. Remember the C6? That ultra-luxurious executive car from the early 2000s, or the original CX with its clever hydro-pneumatic self-levelling suspension that was such cutting-edge technology in the mid-70s? Well, now the French firm is continuing that lineage with the new C5 X.
Sitting at the very top of Citroen’s range, this is a car that aims to blend the benefits of a saloon, SUV and estate car into one vehicle. Does that mean it’s good overall, though? We’ve been finding out.
By carving itself its own estate-SUV-saloon niche, the C5 X already feels like a genuinely new arrival on the new-car scene. But Citroen has equipped it with a host of brand-new features and design touches to ensure that it’s more than just another niche-busting vehicle.
We’ve got a new infotainment system, a striking exterior design and some very comfort-orientated suspension setups. As with other Citroen models, there are a number of powertrain options, including a range-topping plug-in hybrid.
Though that plug-in hybrid might be the showstopping topper for the C5 X, we’re testing out a slightly more humble setup. We’ve got a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine which here pushes out 129bhp and 230Nm of torque. Power is sent through an eight-speed automatic gearbox – something that all C5 X models use regardless of trim or output.
With a 0-60mph time of 10.1 seconds, it’s definitely not a quick setup, but economy figures of up to 48.6mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 136g/km aren’t bad. That said, the plug-in hybrid’s claimed 236.2mpg (when fully charged) and 30g/km CO2 emissions highlight that the electrified version is the one you’ll want if you’re after rock-bottom emissions.
It’s actually quite refreshing to drive a car that has a real focus on comfort. A lot of cars at the moment tend to lean towards ‘sportiness’ at the detriment of ride quality, but that’s not the case with the C5 X. Its ride quality is excellent, even with our test car’s 19-inch alloy wheels. It ensures that the C5 X will be a great companion over longer drives.
The 1.2-litre engine doesn’t really match the whole setup, mind you. It’s a little too thrummy and doesn’t have the easy performance that you’d expect from a car of this size. Though it’s certainly not underpowered, it feels as though the C5 X would best use a larger, more refined engine. The calibration between engine and gearbox seemed a little off, too, with quite a delay between the press of the throttle and the power actually arriving.
To our eyes at least, the C5 X looks superb. With various V-shaped designs, incorporated into areas like the headlights and rear lights, it’s got more than enough to stand out from the crowd.
It’s quite a big car, too, with a long wheelbase and that angled roofline contributing to an attractive stance on the road.The black wheel arch mouldings do give it a slightly more crossover-style theme, while the black roof and gloss black sections help to contrast with the car’s colour.
Cabin space is right at the top of the C5 X’s list of priorities and the level of rear-seat space that you get is downright impressive. There’s loads of leg and kneeroom, while headroom is remarkable given the car’s sloping roofline. Material quality is good, too, while the front chairs – which Citroen calls Advanced Comfort seats – feature additional memory foam over a regular seat and, as a result, are very supportive.
With all that rear-seat legroom comes a slight penalty in terms of boot space. At 545 litres it’s still got plenty of room – and you can extend it up to 1,640 litres by folding down the rear seats – is well under the 645 litres you’d get from a Skoda Superb hatch and just under the 590 litres you’d find in Volkswagen’s Arteon Shooting Brake.
In keeping with the rest of the Citroen line-up, there’s plenty of standard equipment on the C5 X. Our car came in Shine Plus specification, which kicks off the car’s range of trim levels. It came in at £31,380, but the level of kit is impressive with highlights such as a seven-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12-inch central touchscreen all included from the off. That infotainment setup is by far one of Citroen’s strongest yet, both in terms of design and ease-of-use.
On top of that, you’ve got a full head-up display, automatic LED headlights and those 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels finished in gloss black. You’re not going to feel short-changed in terms of equipment on the C5 X, that’s for sure.
The C5 X feels like a fitting extension of that historic lineage of quirky flagships. It arrives as a genuinely new proposition on the market and that’s something to be applauded while its levels of comfort and interior spaciousness are excellent. We like the level of standard equipment, too.
Though this 1.2-litre engine doesn’t feel like it fits with the C5 X’s character (and, in truth, it feels as though a diesel engine could fit into this setup nicely) if you’re after a car that’ll swallow up the miles and transform the UK’s pockmarked roads into a smooth carpet, then it’s well worth checking out.f
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