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Citroën C5 X long-term test

2022 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 54.2

Written by Alan Taylor-Jones Published: 24 November 2022 Updated: 10 October 2023

If it’s one thing the French car industry is (historically) known for, it’s squashy family cars. But there has been a conspicuous absence of marshmallow-sprung hatchbacks making their way across The Channel lately. Does the Citroen C5 X herald the return of this trend-bucking concept? Adam Binnie (aided by Murray Scullion) puts the Parkers Large Family Car of the Year through its paces.

Report 1: Welcome

Citroen C5 X long-term

We say bonjour to our Large Family Car of the Year – but what on earth is it – an estate, an SUV, or a coupe? Or sort of all three?

Last year all the editorial staff of this website sat down around a large meeting table to have an argument. Admittedly this is a regular occurrence, but this specific example was about our Car of the Year awards.

I won’t bore you with the kinds of tattle we rattled off (mostly disagreeing about what constitutes a small or large car) but I will reveal at the end of it we did actually decide on our Car of the Year. Spoiler alert – it wasn’t the C5 X.

We however grant it a class win – as the best large family car on the market. We loved its comfy seats and big boot – all of which are great for a family.

I’ve written about this somewhere before but I’ve fallen out of love a bit with cars that claim to do it all. They’re never as fun to drive as riding my motorbike and never as practical as a van. And in the pursuit of both you end up with a vehicle that is uncomfortable riding as it is compromised on interior space.

Which C5 X do we have here?

This car promises to be something a bit different though, seemingly not at all concerned with athletic ability, it’s been granted the kind of suspension springs you’d expect to find in a spa hotel mattress (they’re really soft, basically).

Citroen C5 X wheel

It’s also the most expensive combination of spec and engine – full-fat Shine Plus spec with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) power. At time of writing, our car, including options, comes in at £42,790. Which on the surface is punchy for a Citroen.

Shine Plus means you get all the goodies. I won’t list them for fear of being dull, but the highlights include a head-up display and Citroen’s Advanced Comfort suspension with progressive hydraulic cushions, which means loads of squishiness.

Do a little digging though and it becomes apparent that there’s some good value for money going on here. The PHEV is officially capable of driving for up to 38.5 miles on electric power and 236.2mpg. These figures are nonsense and I’ll explain why a bit later on. But nevertheless, PHEVs offer a ‘have your cake and eat it’ moment on paper.

Cost options include the paint (£650), two tone seats with ventilation (£800), panoramic roof (£1,300) and black roof (£350).

First impressions

It is indeed extraordinarily squishy. One of the squishiest cars on the road. On the motorway especially I was quite surprised by how floaty it was. I’ve done a few hour and a half commutes now and they have been a treat. 

Citroen C5 X long-term

However I have noticed that if you hit a particularly large bit of rough road at speed you can almost feel a bit seasick. It’s not like huge vibrations come through the seat and there’s no thud, but there seems to be a large delay in your eyes seeing the tarmac and actually feeling the change in the suspension.

This is also probably a good juncture to point out my petrol-headed kids have never been sick in a super car, only ever in softy-sprung models. So we shall have to see whether this Citroen is sleep or vomit inducing.

Incidentally for those of you who have read my last two long termer pages, my children have named this one too (previously bestowing VW Transporter Kombi Gary and the Caddy Life Dexter). Any guesses for the Citroen? No, you won’t get it – Clementine. Because it’s a citrus fruit and sounds vaguely French, apparently.

I don’t know where they get it from.