Citroen have launched a new range topper the C5 X. A large five-door Sport-Brake or estate, available with a choice of petrol or petrol plug-in engines. On the hottest day in the UK ever, Company Car & Van got their hands on one & came away knowing that if you’re heading to Europe by road & are stuck in a queue outside Dover, the car to be sat in is the new Citroen C5 X.
Two petrol & one plug-in hybrid are offered on C5 X. Pure Tech 130 or Pure Tech 180 are the petrol offerings with the Pure Tech 180 paired to an 80Kw electric motor for the PHEV variant.
The three model specs are; the Sense Plus, which costs in Pure Tech 130 guise £27,790, up to £36,470 for the PHEV. Then it’s Shine costing in 130 Pure Tech £29,290, rising to £37,970 for the PHEV & finally the Shine Plus, with the Pre Tech 130 priced at £31,280, all the way up to the range topping PHEV which will set you back £39,960.
Although ostensibly an estate, the swooping back quarter gives the C5 X a unique ‘Sport-Brake ‘ look
Bold V-shaped LED light signatures adorn the front. & the rear. The shape also encompasses curved side sections, with sharp lines, reinforcing the width of C5 X. Its long roof line ends with a floating, aerodynamic upper spoiler. A second spoiler, in gloss black, offers support & braking stability. Overall length is 4805mm, width 1859mm & height is 1485mm.
Even entry level Sense Plus sets out Citroens premium goals for C5 X. It’s fitted with 19” Aero-X Alloys with Hephaïs grey paint & Onyx black aero inserts, rain-sensitive wipers, LED fog lights, front & rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, keyless entry & start, radar controlled Active Safety Brake, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Speed Limit Recognition & Recommendation, Driver Attention Alert, Cruise Control with Speed Limiter, a 10″ touch screen, auto dual zone air-con, Citroen Advanced Comfort & Comfort Active suspension, 8 speakers, Apple Car Play & Android Auto, are all fitted.
Shine adds an electro chrome frame-less rear view mirror, Highway Integrated Assist, a larger 12″ touchscreen, Heads Up Display & wireless charging. Shine Plus further enhances the spec with better parking sensors, a 360 degree camera & My Citroën Drive Plus.
You get six body colours & 4 interior choices, plus 5 bi-tone roof configurations.
Practicality & comfort
The cabin offers passengers plenty of useful storage. Glove box, multiple drinks holders, a 12v socket & four USB’s two up front & two in the rear. C5 X feature Citroens Advanced Comfort Seats with visible padding. They work & work really well. The front seats also offer a multi-way adjustment & you get wide side & central armrests in both the front & the rear. All passengers get exceptional legroom with generous headroom, even in the back. Tinted glass ensures privacy & there’s an option of a panoramic sunroof with a blind.
The petrol version of the C5 X’s boot, offers up a useful 545 litres increasing to 1,640 litres if you fold down the rear seats. The PHEV, thanks to the battery located under the boot floor, offers slightly less, with a 485 litre boot increasing to 1,580 litres with the rear seats folded down. Te boot floor is flat so sliding stuff in is made easy. Foe r example, a washing machine will fit sideways in the boot with the seats still in place. Impressive.
We were testing the Shine Plus C5 X which featured the 12″ touchscreen. This allows you to personalise both the screen & driver’s display thanks to a system of widgets. You can alter the content & enable your favourite apps & to be displayed on each screen. This intelligent system also features new natural voice recognition, My Citroen Drive Plus, with a personal assistant that understands what you say, answers your questions & carries out your requests.
The screen itself is clear & the menus concise. Apple CarPlay connected wirelessly & we utilised Apple Maps on our test drive rather the Citroen’s own SatNav. The 7” digital instrument cluster, although easy to work with & to understand, featured some distinctly dated graphics, which we felt were the only let down on an otherwise impressive system.
Our test route took us out of the Herefordshire countryside & onto the M5 where we got to grips with Citroen’s ADAS system,’Highway Driver Assist.’ Adaptive Cruise Control has been around on ordinary cars for around a decade now & works pretty well across all brands. Some do though, have a tendency to be over complicated whilst others slow you down too much, so you’re forever speeding up & slowing down. Citroen’s HDA is great & allows the driver to feel in control of the system, which we really like to be. Adjusting distance to the vehicle in front is easy & there’s no complicated speed adjustment & that dreaded slowing down half a mile from the vehicle ahead. Just point & go. A winner.
Citroen are talking up the C5 X & rightly so. It’s their flagship model & should & does feature some top quality finishes on the dashboard, including the touchscreen, steering wheel & air vents. The plastics used are generally very good & the Hype Adamantium Ambience interior fitted to our test car, a combination of two-tone black Adamantium leather with perforated chevron design, was lovely. We also had the benefit of Citroens Advanced Comfort seats, with multipoint massage & front seat ventilation, on the hottest day of the year, well worth an extra £800. These added a touch of class to the cabin. Only the glove box front & some of the very low down plastics felt cheap, but overall it’s a premium effort from Citroen.
Citroen are famous for their ride quality, just ask Jeremy Clarkson. The combination of Citroen’s Advanced Comfort Seats & Active Suspension, which combines the progressive hydraulic cushions with controlled suspension, offers excellent ride quality. Although we didn’t travel far on our test drive, the C5 X rode splendidly & coupled with the quiet cabin, enhanced by the acoustic, insulated windscreen, our journey was most enjoyable.
Our test car was the less powerful C5 X Shine Plus PureTech 130 S&S EAT8 automatic. It comes with 129bhp, 230Nm, a 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds & a top speed of 130mph. WLTP CO2 emissions are 136g/km whilst claimed combined fuel economy is around 45mpg.
For a long, large car, the C5 X handles extremely well. Put your foot down to overtake & the 8-speed auto box responds, the revs shoot up & the 129bhp provides more oomph than you expect. Furthermore, it’s cornering belies it’s size & it hugs the road well on its 19″ wheels. On the motorway it cruises quietly & the suspension irons out any road surface issues you may encounter. Front passenger space is more than generous & in the rear, three adults will find plenty of room to stretch out. It’s one of the best load carriers we’ve driven in a very long time.
The more powerful 180 & 180 PHEV engines, do offer a bit more zip than the 130 & in the plug-in’s case, with a combined 225 bhp, a more instant fix thanks to the addition of the electric motor. Furthermore, Citroen have come up trumps with the 7.4kW on-board charger fitted to the Citroën C5 X Plug-in Hybrid. This means that you can fully charge the battery in under two hours when using the supplied Type 2 charging cable & 32A charge point. Overnight charging discounts mean you can plug your C5 X in overnight & it will be fully charged in the morning, allowing you to travel up to 37 miles in electric mode.
From 30g/km of C02 & a combined MPG of 186.2-236.2, the C5 X plug-in is the one for company car drivers to consider. Despite it’s higher entry cost, ( the PHEV is £8,680 more costly per model than its equivalent petrol brethren ) with BIK from 8% it offers fleet customers some serious tax savings. Non company car users though are far better off with the standard petrol engines. If pushed, we’d choose the 130 Pure Tech Shine model.
Beautifully proportioned, with a cavernous interior, it’s bang on trend for tech & comes fitted with the latest safety features. For a large car, the C5 X also has impeccable road manners, with a comfortable, quiet ride, coupled to surprisingly agile handling. The entry level Pure Tech 130’s price is also highly competitive especially when you consider the goodies that come as standard. The inclusion of a plug-in variant massively increases it’s company car appeal.
Compared to the petrol version, the plug-in is expensive. Some of the interior finishes look & feel cheaper than they should. Whist the touchscreen graphics are very good, some of those used in the instrument cluster feel out of place.
Citroen are expecting 70% of C5 X sales to come from the fleet sector & the really good news, is that with a plug-in version, they have the car to achieve this. We love the way it looks, the way it drives & the way it harks back to Citroens of old. As unashamedly Citroen fans, the C5 X is a breath of fresh air in a sector full of dullness. And, it’s a more than viable alternative to a large SUV, offering bags of space with saloon handling & comes with a beautiful exterior. Citroen’s comfort seats & suspension also add to the joy. I’m booking the ferry.
A Jacques Cousteau 4.5/5