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Driven: Citroen C5 X Shine Plus PureTech 225. Image by Citroen.

Driven: Citroen C5 X Shine Plus PureTech 225
After being underwhelmed by the C5 X in the summer, will a little more time with the C5 X make Citroenís new estate more appealing?

   



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2022 Citroen C5 X Shine Plus PureTech 225 e-EAT8

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When we drove Citroen's new flagship, the C5 X estate, we came away a little unimpressed. While it's a decent-looking thing with a refreshing eye on comfort and a surprisingly upmarket interior, we were hoping for great things. But our first drive left us in the cold slightly, thanks to the slightly reduced boot space of the hybrid and the underwhelming ride comfort. So we decided to do a little extra digging and spent a week finding out exactly what the C5 X is all about.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2022 Citroen C5 X Shine Plus PureTech 225 e-EAT8
Price: From £40,210
Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol with electric motor
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Battery: 12.4kWh
Power: 225hp
Torque: 250Nm
Emissions: 30g/km
Economy: 186.2-236.2mpg
0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Top speed: 145mph
Boot space: 485-1,580 litres

Styling

The Citroen brand depends on cars that look funky and interesting, and the C5 X certainly fits that particular bill. The emphasis is clearly on rugged, off-road styling, but there's plenty of rounded, approachable Citroenishness on show. There are some modern features, too, including the V-shaped headlights and the sportier tailgate design, with big tail lights and a slanted rear window. It won't suit everyone, but it's distinctive and different, which will at least ensure the C5 X stands out from its rivals.

Interior

Citroen's cabins might often be funky, but they don't often have the quality to compete with other mainstream models from brand such as Volkswagen and Ford. But the C5 X's interior is fairly solid, despite some cheap-feeling plastics lurking lower down in the cabin. For the most part, however, the materials largely feel quite premium and the switchgear there is feels reasonably well engineered.

But with the massive touchscreen and digital instrument display, there isn't too much need for buttons. Everything from the hybrid system to the climate control is marshalled from the touchscreen, which puts enormous pressure on the technology. Typically, it isn't a strong suit for Citroen, but though the C5 X's touchscreen has its flaws, it's better than some of the systems used elsewhere in the Citroen range.

Practicality

While petrol-powered versions of the C5 X have an enormous 545-litre boot, the Skoda Superb is still slightly more spacious. And the Skoda is considerably roomier than the hybrid C5 X we tested, which has just 485 litres of luggage space with the rear seats upright. Fold those back seats down, however, and the room increases noticeably, up to around 1,600 litres. Leave the seats upright, meanwhile, and you get a cabin easily capable of seating four adults in comfort, thanks to particularly strong rear legroom.

Performance

The C5 X is offered with a choice of three powertrains, with the basic 1.2-litre petrol joined by two 1.6-litre plug-in hybrids. It's the more powerful of those two hybrid systems tested here, the 225hp option that combines an electric motor with a 12.4kWh battery to provide just under 40 miles of official range on a single charge. That's enough for most short journeys, and for those who mostly drive locally during the week and charge regularly will find the C5 X highly efficient. That said, those who regularly cover long distances won't find the Citroen anywhere near as economical as the figures suggest. Nor will they find the C5 X as powerful as the 225hp output might have you believe. The car is more than fast enough for most people's needs, but it isn't especially rapid.

Ride & Handling

Citroen Ė and indeed many journalists Ė have made a big deal of the C5 Xís comfort, but we came away from our brief first drive feeling a little let down. While the C5 X is generally soft and squishy over speed bumps and other large bumps, it really struggles with broken surfaces and sharp imperfections such as potholes. Even this plug-in hybrid version, with its clever adaptive suspension canít deal with the bumps it claims to be designed for.

We also praised the refinement of the hybrid system, and itís true that the system is quiet when the electric motor is in action, while the touchscreen infotainment system gives you a good amount of control of the two motors. But there are times when the petrol engine, which drones more than the 1.2-litre petrol in the standard C5 X, and the electric motor seem to trip each other over, causing clunky, noisy and unsubtle moments in an otherwise relaxing experience. And if youíre looking for handling, try the Ford dealership. Youíll find none here.

Value

The C5 X comes in at just under £28,000 in its cheapest 1.2-litre form, and that's very competitive for a massive estate car with plenty of kit. There's a reversing camera and 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, while the 10-inch touchscreen is also thrown in. Plug-in hybrid examples, however, are the best part of £10,000 more expensive, and that's a lot for something that can be less refined and, even with the adaptive suspension, is arguably less comfortable.

Verdict

After spending a little more time with the C5 X, it seems our initial findings were, if anything, a bit generous. While the ride is soft, it's nowhere near as smooth and as comfortable as it should be, and it sacrifices any semblance of handling as a result. And while the hybrid system is generally good, it feels a bit clunky and unrefined at times. Add in the reduction in boot size and the lack of all-wheel drive, and the hybrid C5 X feels a bit pointless alongside the cheaper and more comfortable petrol version.



James Fossdyke - 20 Dec 2022



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2022 Citroen C5 X. Image by Citroen.2022 Citroen C5 X. Image by Citroen.2022 Citroen C5 X. Image by Citroen.2022 Citroen C5 X. Image by Citroen.2022 Citroen C5 X. Image by Citroen.

2022 Citroen C5 X. Image by Citroen.2022 Citroen C5 X. Image by Citroen.2022 Citroen C5 X. Image by Citroen.2022 Citroen C5 X. Image by Citroen.







 

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