Is it saloon, hatch, estate or SUV? No, it’s all of those things in one big, roomy and comfy Citroën. The double chevron back to doing what it does best and blow everyone else? Maybe – meet the new C5 X.
As the newest Citroën flagship, the C5 X has big shoes to fill and one look at it shows the designers have attempted to fill them by reaching back for some signature Citroën innovation and individualism. The large-saloon sector is not what it once was but the C5 X “adds a new dimension to it”, according to the brand.
The 4.8m long five-door, smaller and less plush sistership to the recently announced DS 9, unashamedly recalls large luxury five-door family fastbacks of the past. In the UK we had the Rover SD1 but in France they had the Citroën CX and it is this ‘70s beauty that the French firm says provides inspiration for the newcomer.
Whereas the CX was sleekness personified, the C5 X takes a far more robust design approach but the result is not unattractive, in a chunky way and with the SUV design cues that these days seem inevitable. Pleasingly though there’s still a clear link back to the concept that previewed the C5 X, the bold CXperience of 2016.
The proportions allow what promises to be the C5 X’s claim to fame: its cabin, and how according to Citroën it has been designed to offer class-leading comfort and well-being for passengers. Using Citroën’s favourite word, it’s a “lounge” of a cabin.
This isn’t an SUV – it’s only 1485 mm tall – but it is high-ish riding and the seats offer a slightly raised seating position that many people prefer these days. Citroën says rear kneeroom is “outstanding” thanks to a 2,785mm wheelbase.
Completing this “lounge” are sumptuous seats and a new twist on hydraulics in the suspension to provide the kind of “magic carpet” (their words) ride that big Citroëns used to provide. The wheels are 19-inchers and the tyres unfashionably high-profile and narrow, again all in the cause of bump absorption. C5 X serenity is completed in the top plug-in hybrid model by a drivetrain that can power the car for up to 31 miles on electric power alone. So quiet as well as smooth.
It hasn’t been achieved without a degree of practicality. The estate car element of the C5 X is demonstrated by the fastback tail and a wide-opening and low-silled tailgate which opens on to a boot of 545 litres, or 1,640 litres with the rear seats folded down.
Engines choice revolve around petrol or the petrol plug-in hybrid model with that 30 mile electric ability and 225PS (168kW) fed through the front wheels. Unlike the DS9 there’s no mention of a more powerful, all-wheel-drive plug-in model.
New tech available includes a 12-inch HD infotainment system with natural voice recognition and digital personal assistant, an extended head-up display, customisable home screen, four USB sockets and wireless smartphone charging and screen mirroring.
The smartest tech though might just be the Citroën Advanced Comfort Active suspension system which is fitted to the plug-in hybrid model. It adds an adaptive damping side to Citroën’s Progressive Hydraulic Cushions suspension allowing for a softer ride over potholes, kerbs and speed bumps, says the company.
Roomy, comfortable, smooth and, in the hybrid model, mechanically silent for some of the time? That’s the idea at least. This is a car about smoothness not sportiness, well-being rather than 0-62mph times. And we already rather like it because of that. For Citroën chief executive Vincent Cobée the new flagship is an “audacious and original proposal that truly embodies all of Citroën's expertise: innovation, care and above everything well-being."
Citroën back to its individualistic best? We’ll know more when it goes on sale in the UK late in 2021, with prices tipped to span between £27–35,000.