Citroën C5 X review

Category: Estate car

Estate car with SUV-like ride height is temptingly priced with impressive comfort and refinement

Citroen C5 X 2022 front right tracking
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 front right tracking
  • Citroen C5 X rear right driving
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 interior dashboard
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 interior rear seats
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 interior infotainment
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 rear right tracking
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 front right tracking
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 front left static
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 headlight detail
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 grille detail
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 rear light detail
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 rear badge detail
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 interior front seats
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 boot open
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 front right tracking
  • Citroen C5 X rear right driving
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 interior dashboard
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 interior rear seats
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 interior infotainment
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 rear right tracking
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 front right tracking
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 front left static
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 headlight detail
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 grille detail
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 rear light detail
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 rear badge detail
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 interior front seats
  • Citroen C5 X 2022 boot open
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The Citroën C5 X stands proud as the largest and most luxurious car the firm makes. How big? Well, it's actually longer than most conventional large SUVs so it’s impressively imposing in the metal.

Trying to pinpoint the category the C5 X fits into is a little tricky at first glance, as it mixes an estate car silhouette with the raised ride height of a 4x4. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t stray too far away from the former, and it’s best to view the model as an estate that offers next-level comfort. If you're looking for a conventional SUV with a commanding seating position, you'll be better off with the Citroën C5 Aircross

The driving experience also promises to break from convention. In a world where most brands want their models to be seen as sporty, with firm suspension and figure-hugging seats, all C5 X’s are fitted with what Citroën calls Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension and have Advanced Comfort seats, designed to provide maximum cushioning.

The C5 X is available with a choice of either 1.2 or 1.6-litre petrol engines (badged PureTech 130 and PureTech 180), or a plug-in hybrid version (badged PHEV 225). The PHEV is equipped with a 12.4kWh battery pack and is good for an official 34 miles of zero-emissions running in Electric mode.

Over the next few pages of this review, we'll look at whether the Citroën C5 X is good enough to compete with the best estates out there, including our current class leader – the Skoda Superb Estate – and other style-led models, such as the VW Arteon Shooting Brake. Plus, we'll tell you how well it performs when it comes to performance, running costs, practicality and more.

If you find yourself lusting after the C5 X – or any other make and model of car – we can potentially help you save thousands off the list price if you search our free What Car? New Car Deals pages. It's a good place to find the best new estate car deals.

Overview

The Citroën C5 X will cost more to run as a company car than some estates cars but offers impressive comfort, hard-to-beat refinement and a slightly raised, SUV-like driving position, which many buyers will love.

  • Competitively priced
  • Plush ride
  • Upmarket interior
  • Roly-poly handling
  • Boot could be larger
  • PHEV sits in a higher tax band than some rivals
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

You might imagine that the Citroën C5 X's entry-level 128bhp 1.2-litre PureTech 130 engine would struggle to pull such a big car along, but acceleration is perfectly respectable, with enough oomph from low in the rev range. In fact, the official 0-62mph sprint time of 10.4sec makes it slightly quicker than the Skoda Octavia Estate 1.0 TSI, despite that being a smaller car. The 178bhp 1.6-litre PureTech 180 petrol is much keener to build speed, though. It cuts the 0-62mph sprint time to 8.8sec and gives you more than enough pull for any situation. Even so, we’re not sure it’s worth spending the extra money.

Citroën C5 X image
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If you want truly punchy performance, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) has a 0-62mph time of 7.9sec and is the quickest model in the range. When the 178bhp petrol engine and 109bhp motor work in unison, the C5 X feels genuinely sprightly, although there can be a delay between putting your foot down and the petrol engine waking up to assist the electric motor.

The PHEV's official all-electric range of 34 miles (expect 25 miles or so in real-world driving) is broadly in line with what the equivalent Skoda Superb Estate and VW Arteon Shooting Brake can do, but both the Octavia iV and the PHEV version of the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer will officially cover more than 40 miles, despite offering a similar amount of boot space to the C5 X (more in the Astra's case).

Suspension and ride comfort

Citroën makes some bold claims about comfort in the C5 X, and the good news is that there’s substance to go with them.

All models get the brand's Progressive Hydraulic Cushions – in effect, hydraulic bump stops – and PHEV models add active dampers. Sitting on relatively small standard-fit 19in wheels, the C5 X glides over minor road imperfections and does a good job of cushioning you from ruts and potholes. The PHEV is slightly more settled and is the best of the lot in that respect.

You do feel a bit of a thump when you drive over something with a really sharp edge, though. The effect is a little more pronounced in the PHEV model due to the extra weight of its batteries (adaptive dampers can only do so much) but it’s still smoother than rivals, including the Octavia and Superb iV.

Citroen C5 X rear right driving

Handling

While Citroën is obsessed with comfort, it seems not to care much about sportiness, and the C5 X exhibits plenty of body lean if you turn into a bend at speed. In fact, if you head into a corner with some pace, you’ll easily find the limits of front-end grip as it gradually washes wide. 

Better news is that it’s quite pleasant to steer, exhibiting just enough weight to give you reassurance and responding faithfully to your inputs as you head through a corner.

Regardless, even Sport mode (which sets the plug-in hybrid’s adaptive suspension into its firmest mode) can’t make the C5 X a dynamic car to drive. If you’re after a sporty estate, you’d be better off going for a Ford Focus Estate or the more expensive BMW 3 Series Touring.

Noise and vibration

The C5 X’s Puretech 130 engine can be quite vocal – even if you don't push it hard – while the Puretech 180 is quite the opposite, and you’ll rarely hear it as you drive along. Naturally, the PHEV is the quietest and most relaxing of the range when it’s being driven in electric-only mode.

Engine noise fades away by 70mph, and the C5 X is better than most rivals at stifling wind and road noise, partly because of the acoustic laminated windscreen. The top-spec Shine Plus model goes one step further by adding laminated side windows. Premium alternatives such as the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring are quieter, though.

All versions of the C5 X come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It can be a little hesitant as you go to pull away from a standstill, but the PHEV’s initial hit from the electric motor helps to alleviate that. Once you’re on the move, it's smooth and quick to respond whenever you need a burst of acceleration. The 1.2-litre petrol option suffers from grabby brakes and a clunky stop-start system, which nudges occupants around in their seats, but the PHEV manages to avoid this.

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

You sit lower down in the Citroën C5 X than in most large SUVs but higher than you would in an estate car. We actually found the driving position more natural than the sit-up-and-beg type in the closely related Citroën C5 Aircross.

The car's Advanced Comfort Seats are lined with memory foam to make them soft but still supportive, and they can be adjusted for height and lumbar support on all trims. Top-spec Shine Plus models have the option of massaging front seats to make long journeys as pleasant as possible. The driver gets customisable digital instrument dials as standard and, on Shine models and above, a clear, easy to read head-up display.

The C5 X has physical knobs and buttons for controlling the air conditioning. That makes it much easier and less distracting to adjust the temperature on the move than the touch-sensitive controls you’ll find in some other Citroën models and in the VW Arteon Shooting Brake.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

The C5 X’s thick windscreen pillars can cause visibility problems at junctions and, as with most cars with a swooping, coupé-like roofline, the view out of the back gives you a good idea of what it must be like to be trapped in a post box. 

To help mitigate that, all models get front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Top-spec Shine Plus models take things one step further by upgrading the rear-view camera to a high-definition 360-degree camera. 

All trim levels get automatic wipers and bright automatic LED headlights with automatic high-beam assist to increase visibility at night without the driver having to lift a finger.

Citroen C5 X 2022 interior dashboard

Sat nav and infotainment

The C5 X's entry-level Sense Plus trim comes with a 10.0in landscape-oriented infotainment touchscreen, while all other versions get a 12.0in one. 

Both versions are well equipped, with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, DAB radio, Bluetooth and built-in sat nav. The graphics are pleasingly crisp, but the menu layout isn’t the most intuitive and the screen is occasionally slow to respond to inputs. That said, it’s still an improvement over the buggy system in the latest Volkswagens. 

The standard eight-speaker stereo is punchy enough, but if you select the Shine Plus trim, you can upgrade to a more powerful system with a subwoofer and dashboard speaker for a reasonable sum.

Quality

Interior quality in the C5X is impressive. There's a pleasing palette of materials on show, from wood inserts to Paloma leather with a ‘perforated chevron design’ on the range-topping Shine Plus car. It’s a pleasant place to spend time, and feels like a step up from the closely related C5 Aircross.

The general fit and finish is impressive, and everything feels premium and well screwed together. It’s easily a match for the Skoda Superb Estate and to get something plusher you’ll need to look at more expensive, premium badge-wearing rivals such as the Audi A4 Avant.

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

Leg room is plentiful in the front of the Citroën C5 X, and head room is acceptable for those over six feet tall, even with the optional panoramic sunroof fitted (available with Shine Plus trim).

Between the seats there are a couple of cupholders, each able to take a large coffee cup with ease, and there are plenty of storage spaces. One of the biggest is under the front centre armrest.

Rear space

The C5 X is a long car, so you won’t be surprised to learn that there's a lot of leg room in the rear – and certainly enough to compete with the limo-like Skoda Superb Estate.

However, the sleek coupé-like roofline means that head room is acceptable rather than plentiful. Back-seat passengers over six feet tall might feel their hair brushing the roof-lining.

Buyers who want a bigger car should look at large SUVs including the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Kia Sorento – both cars are very large in the back. Those rivals also offer seven seats, as does the Peugeot 5008.

Citroen C5 X 2022 interior rear seats

Seat folding and flexibility

The C5 X’s rear seats don’t do anything clever, such as sliding or reclining, which is rather disappointing as those functions are standard on the closely related Citroën C5 Aircross.

The rear seats split 60/40 to fold down, which is less versatile than the 40/20/40 split in the C5 Aircross and Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer but matches other rival estate cars. To make folding the seats really easy, the C5 X features levers at the top of each backrest as well as levers within the boot itself.

What’s more, there's also a ski hatch, so you can accommodate longer loads and a couple of rear passengers at the same time.

Boot space

At 545 litres – or 485 litres for the PHEV version – the boot in the C5 X is big enough to cater for most families' needs. That’s more than enough space for a large weekly shop or a couple of buggies, but it doesn’t come close to matching the figures of the Superb Estate: 660 litres for regular models and 510 litres for the PHEV.

The big tailgate means you get a large boot aperture and low loading height, making getting bulky items in and out easy. The tailgate is powered if you go for the top-spec Shine Plus trim.

If you need more space, folding the seatbacks down gives you a larger area to play with, but you’ll find that there’s a slight step up where the boot floor meets the back of the seats. The same is true in the Superb, but some other estates – including the Ford Focus Estate – give you a completely flat extended floor, making it easier to slide larger items into the rear.

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The Citroën C5 X looks a bit expensive compared with the Ford Focus Estate and Skoda Octavia Estate – both of which have bigger boots, despite being smaller cars. It's priced in line with the Skoda Superb Estate and looks something of a bargain compared with the similarly style-focused VW Arteon Shooting Brake.

Our favoured engine for private buyers, the PureTech 130, emits relatively low CO2 emissions and should provide reasonable fuel economy (between 41 and 48mpg). Or if you're a company car driver, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is the model to choose, because it's the best for benefit-in-kind tax. Just bear in mind that because it can't quite manage an official electric range of 40 miles, it sits in a higher tax band than PHEVs that can.

You’ll also need to plug the PHEV in regularly if you want the best efficiency. A full charge takes less than two hours using an 8kW wall box or six hours with the optional three-pin plug lead. With a flat battery and the petrol engine doing most of the work, expect fuel consumption to average around 50mpg.

Equipment, options and extras

Entry-level Sense Plus trim is our pick for the C5 X because it presents the best value for money while still offering plenty of toys. Along with infotainment gadgets and visibility aids, it comes with dual-zone climate control, 19in alloy wheels, keyless entry, tinted rear windows, cruise control and automatic LED lights and wipers.

Mid-range Shine adds plenty of useful extras, including a heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, wireless phone-charging, a larger 12in infotainment screen and a head-up display. It's certainly worth thinking about.

The range-topping Shine Plus versions adds heated and electrically adjustable ‘Paloma’ leather seats, acoustically insulated front and rear windows, an electric tailgate, blind-spot detection and an upgraded 360-degree reversing camera.

Reliability

The C5 X is too new to have featured in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey but Citroën finished a commendable 11th place out of 32 car makers included. Hyundai and Kia did better, but other manufacturers mentioned in this review came lower.

You get a two-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and an additional one year’s cover provided by the dealer. Citroën allows you to extend your warranty for a fee. Kia's impressive seven years of cover soundly beats that, though.

Citroen C5 X 2022 interior infotainment

Safety and security

In terms of safety, the C5 X is on the ball. Active safety features include a driver attention alert system, lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking (AEB). The model has not been crash-tested by Euro NCAP but the closely related Citroën C5 Aircross scored a full five-star safety rating.

All versions get an alarm and immobiliser. There's also an SOS call function that can contact the emergency services if you're involved in an accident.

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At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £2,506
Target Price from £27,100
Save up to £2,506
or from £328pm
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £23,612
RRP price range £29,440 - £43,290
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)2
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol parallel phev, petrol
MPG range across all versions 269.5 - 48.1
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £863 / £2,022
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £1,727 / £4,043
Available colours