Coco Chanel once said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different," and it seems Citroën has stayed true to this philosophy with the launch of the C5 X.
The brand-new flagship model is arriving in the UK this week, and it’s rather unique as an estate that rides high like a small SUV. It's like a crossover-wagon, because why have one thing when you can have two-in-one? It’s certainly worked in the world of hatchbacks on stilts (we’re looking at you, Ford Puma).
Considering the C5 X’s individually, it seems right to go with the aesthetics first. It’s rugged and aggressive like an SUV but is longer and more streamlined as an estate, and yet it’s not much taller than a hatchback when you measure its roofline. Whatever it is, we'd argue that it’s a decent looker.
Inside, the cabin is designed around a lounge concept, and it does produce a lovely, homely feel. Expect to find squidgy leathers, natural-feeling wood-effect trim and soft-touch plastics, that make it feel like a cool sitting room that you can unwind in. Thanks to the deep-cushioned foam seats, it ought to be pretty comfy.
The infotainment system is Citroën’s best yet: an ultra-wide 12-inch touchscreen with ambient backlighting. Naturally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as standard. Even more premium is the extended head-up display, which presents all the driver essentials (like navigation and speed) on the windscreen in colour, so you can always keep your eyes on the road.
Citroën fans typically value high practicality, and there looks to be plenty of space for adults in the second row of the C5 X. The brand reckons six-footers will fit in the back with no problem, which isn’t always a given for anything crossover related because of swoopy rooflines and such. A 545-litre boot (close to 200 litres bigger than a mid-sized hatch’s) doesn’t hurt either, considering you can shove a couple of horrendously overstuffed full-sized suitcases in, even with five people seated.
Engines and gearbox
The C5 X comes with a choice of three engines. There are two purely petrol-powered engines, a 130hp 1.2-litre and 180hp 1.6-litre, with both delivering power to the front wheels and using an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Then there’s a plug-in hybrid 1.6-litre petrol option with 225hp, which Citroen claims has a handy 37 miles of all-electric range. A full charge takes an hour and 40 minutes using a 7kW at home charger, according to the maker.
Again, Citroën keeps to the easily digestible numéro trois: Sense Plus; Shine; and Shine Plus trims are available. All of them are generously kitted out – there’s no scrimping at Citroën in 2022 as it seeks to rival premium German marques like BMW and Audi. The entry-level Sense Plus comes with electronic heated door mirrors and 19-inch alloys, black cloth and leather-effect seats, a 10-inch touchscreen and safety kit such as forward collision alert and reversing cameras.
Upgrade to Shine and you get satin chrome trims outside and diamond cut alloys, with grey leather-effect comfort seats, a heated steering wheel, and a larger 12-inch touchscreen.
For the ultimate splurge, the Shine Plus trim (yes, we also think the names sound like you’ve wound up in the cleaning aisle of Wilko) comes with extra-tinted rear quarter windows, quilted heated leather seats, aluminium interior trims, and a 360-blind spot monitoring system and camera for added safety.
The Citroën C5 X starts at £27,790 and goes up to £39,960, which makes it highly competitive in pricing when it comes to the car’s size, practicality and – assuming that ride height enables a softer edge to the suspension – comfort. Citroën’s on a bit of a roll when it comes to that stuff.
You needn’t stretch the the C5 X’s price to access Citroën loveliness though; see the smaller but similarly impressive (and genuinely comfortable) C3 hatch that we have in great numbers on cinch. Plucky, handsome and well-equipped, one of these could be outside your door in a handful of days...
By Freda Lewis-Stempel