Review – Citroen C5 X Plug-in Hybrid (2022)
The Citroën C5 X entered the market in 2021 as the successor to both the C5 and C6. Two comfortable sedans, which by then had been out of production for some time. In fact, the previous Citroën C5 last walked off the assembly line in 2017 and the C6 even as early as 2012. Despite the similar name, the Citroën C5 X is, however, an indirect successor to both sedans. Here’s the thing.
With the X of ‘crossover’
Sedans are out, crossovers are in, as it turns out. Therefore, so is the successor to the C5 and C6. The Citroën C5 X is not a sedan, but a kind of cross between a sedan and an estate car and that again in slightly raised form. You can call it a little of everything just nothing, but it is a body style that is gaining popularity. Especially in China, which will be the C5 X’s main market. For the technically related new Peugeot 408 to the C5 X, Stellantis is taking the same approach. Outside of Stellantis, the new Ford Mondeo and Opel Insignia (very likely) will also get a similar body shape, for example.
If we forget the body shape for a moment, the Citroën C5 X is indeed a direct successor to the C5 and C6. Indeed, the Citroën C5 X is the brand’s new flagship. As we wrote in the intro, it should bring back the typical suspension comfort. For this purpose, they developed the Citroën Advanced Comfort suspension, a hydroactive suspension system with so-called Progressive Hydraulic Cushions. Simply put, this is a kind of extra damping in the suspension, additional to the regular shock absorbers.
Citroën C5 X as a flying carpet
The new suspension system may sound complicated, but the result is most important: very good suspension comfort. Bumps you really only notice as dull banging under the car, you almost never feel them. That’s how good that damping is. The Citroën C5 X floats over bad road surfaces like a flying carpet. On really big bumps, the car still wants to sway a bit, but not in such a way that it is uncomfortable.
The only downside to all that comfort is that the experience of speed is somewhat lost. Driving neatly at 80 km/h on an N road feels a bit like crawling along. In other words, if you don’t look at the speedometer and set the pace “by feel,” you will quickly drive too fast. In the end, of course, you don’t buy this car for its speed, but to glide along at your leisure. That is where the Citroën C5 X succeeds superbly.
Citroën Advanced Comfort seats
Not only does the chassis provide comfort, so do the seats. Citroën also hangs the Advanced Comfort label on that. Rightly so. The chairs have padding similar to that of high-quality mattresses. You not only hold up excellently on that during a long ride, it’s even a shame when that ride is over. We were just so comfortable…
Another form of comfort is onboard acoustics. That, too, is fat. The engine remains in the background even during brisk acceleration. If, like us, you drive the plug-in hybrid variant, it’s extra quiet on board. In fact, as long as there is enough power in the battery, the car runs fully electric. If, on the contrary, you do not want silence, the excellent audio system offers the solution.
Citroën C5 X Plug-in Hybrid or gasoline only?
The Citroën C5 X is available with gasoline engines as well as a plug-in hybrid. This is the most interesting version as far as we are concerned. This combines a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, good for a system output of no less than 165 kW (225 hp) and system torque of 360 Nm. For comparison, the gasoline version is a 1.2-liter three-cylinder with an output of 96 kW (130 hp) and torque of 230 kW. On top of that, the hybrid feels more powerful anyway because the power from the electric motor (81 kW/110 hp) is available right from standstill.
In terms of consumption, the Plug-in Hybrid is also the logical choice. The gasoline version has an average consumption of 6.0 l/100 (1 on 16.6) and the Hybrid only 1.2 l/100 km (1 on 83.3, all values according to WLTP). Of course, especially the latter value is theory, but even in practice the difference will be significant. That while the starting prices of both powertrains are not even that far apart. More on pricing and consumption later in this review.
You are more likely to choose the gasoline version for practical reasons. For example, because your car use does not fit a plug-in hybrid, or because you rarely have a charging facility. Furthermore, the gasoline version is a lot lighter (1,393 versus 1,697 kg) and has a slightly larger luggage compartment (545 versus 485 liters), but it may again tow a little less than the Hybrid (1,050 versus 1,350 kg).
Driving characteristics Citroën C5 X
So we drove the plug-in hybrid version of the Citroën C5 X. Then another argument for the Plug-in Hybrid emerges: with this powertrain, the car comes out best. Aside from the fact that the car is even quieter with the (partially) electric drive, it also drives more smoothly. The electric drive camouflages, as it were, the delays of the conventional drive, such as shifting moments. Furthermore, it goes without saying that you are never short of power, regardless of drive mode.
Power and fuel consumption in practice
The average fuel consumption after the test period comes to 4.6 l/100 km and the average power consumption to 16.4 kWh/100 km. With that said, we hardly had a chance to charge it for the first half of the test week and we did a lot of long highway driving anyway. Then a plug-in hybrid powertrain does not come into its own as much. By the way, even with a flat battery, you can easily drive almost a quarter to (in urban traffic) even a third of the distance fully electric.
In any case, this practical consumption is only an indication, because how economical a plug-in hybrid is in practice depends very much on how you handle it. If you always leave home with a full battery and drive mostly short distances, you will rarely need to refuel. If you drive a lot of long distances and/or rarely recharge the battery, then you’re never going to come close to the factory specification.
Citroen C5 X is practical
Practicality is also the Citroën C5 X. The hybrid technology may take up some of the luggage space, but there is still more than enough left over. The charging cable fits into a space under the luggage compartment floor without too much cramming. Moreover, the comfort of the rear passengers has certainly not been forgotten. There is more than enough legroom, and the roofline extending far back ensures that headroom in the rear is also ample. However, with a height of 1.80 m, you already almost sit with your head against the roof, but we have seen tighter cars in this segment. There is also plenty of room in width, even three adults side by side should be fine. We don’t see that very often.
Prices and versions Citroën C5 X
The price list for the Citroën C5 X starts at 46,260 euros for the gasoline version and 49,110 euros for the Plug-in Hybrid. Then you have the equipment level Feel. Only the Plug-in Hybrid is also available as the even slightly more luxurious Shine, starting at 51,910 euros.
As the brand’s flagship, you don’t really lack anything in standard equipment. Some highlights: keyless entry, a digital instrument panel, automatic air conditioning, heated seats with partial leather upholstery, extensive infotainment with navigation and voice controls. You even get a soundproof windshield and a cooled glove box as standard, things that make you think of higher-end segments anyway. Of course, the Advanced Comfort seats and the suspension with the Progressive Hydraulic Cushions are also standard, as are almost all the driving assistance systems Citroën can currently offer.
The Shine adds even more pampering in the form of a more luxurious finish/appearance, larger displays and some additional driving assistants. Incidentally, things like adaptive cruise control and a head-up display do come only with the Shine and are therefore not standard for the Citroën C5 X. The full list of equipment and option prices can be found at www.citroen.nl.
With the Citroën C5 X, Comfort is once again written with a (big) capital letter as before. You just aren’t going to find a more comfortable car in the (relatively) affordable segment. Furthermore, the body shape may take some getting used to, but in practical terms it manages to combine the advantages of an SUV or station wagon with the more elegant, expansive lines of a sedan.