The classy Citroen C5 X seems to have it all with a dynamic design, great handling and bags of high-end technology. And it even has a boot large enough to carry a washing machine without lowering the rear seats.
The goodSuperb all-rounder that is competitively priced
The badSome rivals deliver a more dynamic drive
Citroen C5 X – First Drive (2022)
Citroen is renowned for developing top quality grand tourers over the years but the arrival of the new C5 X raises the bar to a whole new level.
The stylish five-door car combines the status of an SUV, the elegance of a saloon and the practicality of an estate car – all neatly packaged in a beautifully-crafted model.
Customers can select from generously-equipped trim levels called Sense Plus, Shine and Shine Plus and there is also a wide range of powertrains. These include petrol models driven by a punchy 1.2-litre PureTech 130 or a 1.6-litre PureTech 180 engine.
As an alternative, there is an ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid model that brings attractive financial savings to the mix. All cars feature an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The C5 X line-up costs from £27,790 and rises to £39,960. We concentrated on the range-topping C5 X Shine Plus Plug-in Hybrid model costing £39,960, increasing to £43,560 with a number of options fitted.
This car sees a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder PureTech petrol engine with an 81.2kW electric motor and 1.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The combined power output is 225bhp and it delivers 360Nm of torque. It can complete the 0-62mph sprint in 7.9 seconds, maxes out at 145mph and has an all-electric range of up to 37 miles.
The C5 X is viewed as a flagship model in the Citroen line-up and one glance in its direction will confirm its status with design cues from historical iconic models and a taste of what’s still to come from the French car maker.
From the front, the car has a real road presence featuring new Chevron badging and flowing LED headlights to help the clamshell bonnet stand out. When viewed from the side, the C5 X has a sleek, dynamic profile with attractive streamlining. From the rear, the distinctive lines and tail lamps make the car instantly recognisable as a Citroen and our test car also featured a black bi-tone roof, opening panoramic sunroof and upgraded 19-inch alloy wheels as options.
Moving inside, the interior is premium quality through and through with high-end upholstery and soft-touch surfaces. There are stylish little Citroen chevrons in the leather seats and door panels, and the seats can be heated and powered for added convenience.
The cabin has a clutter-free feel but is driver-focused with a 12-inch HD touchscreen being the nerve centre and access point to the many on-board systems. Creature comforts include smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat nav, an eight-speaker audio, Bluetooth streaming and plenty more besides.
A clear head-up display shows information such as speed, safety prompts and navigation directions, while there is a separate panel for all the climate control functions.
My only slight criticism was the American accent for the sat nav instructions, but I’m informed options will be available soon and automatically updated to the car.
When it comes to performance, the C5 X PHEV is a delight to drive and offers excellent levels of comfort thanks to the Citroen Advanced Comfort Suspension that controls each wheel individually for a balanced ride. The settings vary according to which of the Comfort, Normal or Sport driving modes are selected. In addition, the seats have 15mm of extra memory foam for added support.
As well as the more standard driving modes, the car also features Hybrid settings called Electric, Hybrid, Comfort and Sport. There is a Brake mode that increases the amount of energy recouped during braking and the EV range can also be stored for later use.
Out on the open road, the C5 X handles beautifully. The emphasis is on comfort rather than blistering pace, but it’s definitely no slouch. It powers out the starting blocks with rapid acceleration through the auto gearbox. There are steering wheel-mounted paddles for added driver engagement and the car cruises effortlessly at 70mph on motorways.
It is balanced and confident on twisting B roads with plenty of grip and next-to-no body sway to speak of. Special mention to the well-weighted steering too that offers plenty of driver feedback.
Good all-round driver visibility, along with a host of sensors and cameras, make city driving simpler and, with bags of cabin space, back seat passengers will not be cramped either.
The boot can accommodate 485 litres of kit, a limit that increases to 1,580 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rears seats dropped flat (it is slightly bigger at 545 and 1,640 litres respectively on ICE models). But even so, with a practical low-loading lip, the car can transport a washing machine without lowering the rear seats – it’s that big.
Other storage options include door pockets with a non-slip lining, seat back nets, front and rear cup holders, a practically-sized glovebox, deep covered trays and a central bin. There are four USB-C charging ports to help keep occupants connected on the move.
When it comes to running costs, the official WLTP-tested efficiency figure of 162.2-236.2mpg would only realistically be possible if the vehicle was driven in EV-only mode most of the time and the car was charged regularly, but it is worth mentioning that the EV range of 37 miles will be well within the average daily commute. Charging the C5 X PHEV to 100 per cent takes less than two hours via a 7.4kW wallbox home charger.
The carbon emissions figure of just 30g/km would keep road tax bills low at £10 for the first year, increasing to £155 after 12 months. And the attractive 12 per cent Benefit in Kind rating would be most tempting for business drivers.
All in all, the all-new Citroen C5 X is a most impressive all-rounder. It’s not overly flashy and it’s not blisteringly quick. But it is stylish, great to drive, economical to run, packed with kit and very versatile. And those qualities tick every box for any active family.