Is Is it a saloon? Is it an estate car? Is it an SUV? asks Geraldine Herbert
What is it? No one could accuse Citroën of being dull. Synonymous with Gallic eccentricity, the carmaker has innovated and inspired for more than a century. From the funky 2CV to the elegant DS, Citroëns of the past have been a curious mix of futuristic features, supreme comfort and poor handling. New to the Citroën range is the C5 X, our test car this week, which promises to combine the best of three worlds — the elegance of a saloon, the versatility of an estate and the appearance of an SUV.
Is it a looker? With avant-garde styling, the C5 X is more of an estate car with a slightly raised driving position. The very distinctive front-end v-shaped lighting signature is instantly recognisable and the extended bonnet, the high belt line and the rear wheel flare are all key design features of the French car company. But it is not all style over substance; drawing inspiration from aeronautics, the 3D LED rear lights stretching around the vehicle are for increased efficiency, while the aerodynamics of the body style is to reduce fuel consumption.
How about the interior? Inside, the car is surprisingly bright and airy and the uncluttered dashboard enhances the feeling. Creature comforts include a 10in touchscreen, and an infotainment system that increases to 12in from the Flair trim level. On the downside, it is a little cumbersome to use but overall the driver and occupants are nicely cosseted. Boot space is a very useful 545 litres (reduced to 445 in the PHEV) and it is a deceptively roomy car with loads of space front and back.
What does it drive like? There’s a choice of three engines, petrol and plug-in hybrid versions. The petrol options are a 1.2-litre Puretech 130hp engine or a 1.6-litre Puretech 180hp engine, both paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Our test car was the plug-in hybrid version that features a 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with an 80kW electric motor to deliver a combined power output of 225hp. The 13.2kWh battery offers a possible driving range of up to 64km in electric mode. As expected, comfort is prioritised over sports car performance and that is exactly what Citroën’s target buyers will want. It wafts you along effortlessly and makes you feel pampered. It’s also very quiet, comes with plenty of punch and the handling is good too.
How safe is it? Reassuringly, the C5 X uses a host of cutting-edge technology including radar, cameras and sensors to keep you and your passengers safe, plus features to make daily driving easier.
Will it break the bank? Three trim levels are available: Feel Pack, Flair and Flair Pack. Prices start from €42,370.
Verdict? The C5 X is a very appealing blend of SUV, hatchback and estate. Citroën has a reputation for quirky designs and creating new niches and it doesn’t disappoint here. If you are looking for something a little different from a cookie-cutter SUV and one that’s practical, affordable and economical, then that’s what you’ll get from the Citroën C5 X.
Skoda’s Superb Combi (€40,975),
Volvo V60 Recharge (€65,490),
Mazda 6 (€33,995)
Peugeot 5008 (€44,210).
Why you’ll buy one? Space, Styling
Why you won’t? Phev only EV option, boot space smaller in Phev
Citroën C5 X Flair
Starting price: €42,370 (as tested €52,520)
Engine: 1.6 petrol 180hp with 80kW motor
Electric range: 64km
Transmission: 8-speed automatic transmission
Co2/Motor Tax: 30 g/km/€140
Economy: 1.3 to 1.4 l/100km
Visit the Citroen Ireland website or Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or twitter for further details.