Citroen C5 X: The large family car reinvented

  • C5 X mashes up hatchback, estate and SUV bodystyles
  • Designed to offer excellent comfort and refinement
  • On sale January 2022, expected to cost £27,000

This is the new Citroen C5 X. It's the company's latest flagship car that does the job of replacing the old C5 saloon and estate, as well as the larger C6, which went off sale in 2013.

The French firm is hoping this car will reinvent the large car market sector which it says takes the best attributes of an estate, saloon and an SUV and melds them into a spacious, practical, good-looking and high-riding motor.

It's due to go on UK sale around January 2022 and will be just about the most expensive car in Citroen’s range – the anticipated starting price will be around £27,000. As such, the Citroen C5 X is an intriguing and imaginative take on the big French car. Read on to find out more.

So, what is a Citroen C5 X?

Citroen C5 X (2021) rear lights

It's the second C5 model in the range, and unlike the C5 Aircross, which is aimed squarely at the SUV market, the X is aimed at the Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and Vauxhall Insignia. Like them, this is a long car, at 4.8m – and the longest in the Citroen range.

But the C5 X aims to be different. Citroen says it is the best of three different worlds – it combines the elegance of a saloon, the versatility of the SUV, and capacity of an estate car. It's conceptually closest to the BMW 3, 5 and 6 Series Gran Turismos.

Like the smaller Citroen C4, it gets an X-shaped lamp graphic feeding into the double chevron grille. The approach is mirrored at the rear, but it looks less cluttered than on C4, due to the C5 X’s bigger rump crowned by a neat lip spoiler. Big 19-inch wheels with tall rubber endow the C5 X with a slightly raised ride height for a more commanding road view than in a traditional saloon.

What's it like inside?

The interior design is similar to the recently-introduced Citroen C4, which means big, comfortable seats, a glassy interior and a bright and clear central touchscreen driving all of the car's major functions.

On all but the base UK model there’s a supersized Head-Up Display projecting information on the windscreen, and like the new Peugeot 308, this car adopts the group’s latest infotainment system, grouping functions into tiles on the touchscreen and with ‘natural’ voice control. Double glazing should make it nice and quiet too.

Boot capacity is 545 litres, some way off the Passat estate’s 650 litres, but pretty sizeable. Levers will enable you to fold the back seats while standing at the rear bumper; that will expand the loadbay to 1,640 litres. 

How comfortable is it?

Citroen C5 X (2021) interior view

The C5 X shares its tech with the Peugeot 508, but has 2785mm between the wheels which is similar to the SW estate version. Citroen says the C5 X makes great use of space inside, with second row knee room said to be ‘fantastic’ even behind a tall driver.

Refinement and comfort is key Citroen value, and the C5 X also gets the latest version of the company's comfort-oriented suspension. That means progressive hydraulic bump stops to reduce shocks at the limit of suspension travel, but a new development is an active function. Expect to choose between three variable ride settings, from sporty to super-comfortable.

What’s under the bonnet?

The C5 X will come with a plug-in hybrid and petrol engines at launch – there won’t be a diesel. The flagship model, expected to cost around £35,000, will be the Hybrid 225. This combines a 180hp 1.6-litre four with an electric motor, and is good for 31 miles of pure electric, zero emission range.

Expect two petrol engines: the 1.2-litre Puretech three-cylinder unit, with 130hp, and the 1.6-litre four cylinder. Power goes to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. All are used elsewhere across the Peugeot, DS and Vauxhall ranges, and are highly efficient and punchy.

What this means for you

Citroen has concluded that it couldn't simply build another saloon or hatchback, as sales in this sector are fading away. With SUVs now taking 40% of European sales, the CO2 emissions of new cars have been growing when regulators want them to shrink. Citroen hopes the C5 X offers a genuine alternative, between the traditional saloon/estate and the SUV.

And that’s what the C5 X is all about. It's designed to be a serene, comfortable Gran Turismo that's perfect for travelling long-distances. But it's a risk for Citroen as BMW's 3 and 6 Series GT have hardly been a success. If it's tough for a German premium brand to break the mould, big French cars have really struggled in recent times.

The Citroen C5 X should appeal to the individuality of the firm's fans, but might also offer enough crossover appeal to a wider range of buyers. However, the C5 X will live or die on its finance deals – if it's cheap enough in monthly terms, this interesting SUV/estate/saloon mashup could well be worth your attention.

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Citroen C5 X (2021) rear view