2023 Citroen C5 X Shine Plus Plug-in Hybrid

2023 Citroen C5 X Shine Plus Plug-in Hybrid

The world needs more estates. Big, long boot spaces, low load lips, more aerodynamic and better to drive than an SUV… Yet, SUVs are far more in demand across the UK, Europe and beyond. So perhaps Citroën has the answer with the new C5 X; a sleek, quirky-looking car that the French company says combines “the elegance and status of a saloon, modernity and versatility of an SUV, and the dynamism and practicality of an estate.” We’re glad that’s all cleared up, then.

Suffice to say that the Citroën C5 X is closest in nature to a rugged estate; similar in size to a Volkswagen Arteon, but also targeting family SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai with its chunky 55-section tyres and butch black plastic addenda that brings an edge of off-road swagger, despite the C5 X being front-wheel drive only.

2023 Citroen C5 X Shine Plus Plug-in Hybrid

The large Citroën is offered with a choice of 1.2- and 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engines, both with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, but there’s no diesel, on account of the car being built in China – a country that hasn’t embraced the fuel. Here we’re trying the range-topping plug-in hybrid, which gets a 177bhp 1.6-litreturbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine combined with a 109bhp electric motor and 12.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack which is good for a pure electric range of 31 miles.

It is a lovely, comfy drive, just what many will want from a big Citroën. It’s quiet and smooth, particularly at lower speeds and in electric mode, while the steering is light yet precise enough to make for relaxing progress. That comfort aspect is chiefly thanks to Citroën’s trademark ‘progressive hydraulic cushion’ suspension. It irons out all but the worst bumps in the road for really excellent ride comfort, aided by adaptive dampers that are standard on the plug-in hybrid. The trade-off is plenty of body roll in corners and, even in Sport mode, the C5 X understeers too much and simply isn’t a car that you’ll relish driving on a good, entertaining road. It’s confident but comfort-oriented, and that’s absolutely fine.

2023 Citroen C5 X Shine Plus Plug-in Hybrid - interior

However, suspension isn’t the only thing that makes for a comfortable car. The powertrain is unobtrusive in its unhurried progress, but even in moderate acceleration the 1.6-litre petrol engine sounds coarse and boomy. Wind flutter at motorway speeds is noticeable, too, and it’s tricky to judge finer brake pedal input for smooth stopping. In short, while ride comfort is very good, overall refinement could be better.

The interior feels classy and looks great, albeit with a few notable issues. Up front, there’s plenty of room and adjustability for even a tall driver to get comfortable, and on this top-specification Shine Plus model, the textile panels and textured plastics give an almost Volvo-like aura – a compliment, indeed. Praise be, there are also straightforward, physical buttons for the ventilation system. The standard 12-inch colour touchscreen has everything you want, including navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and more. The graphics aren’t as sharp as they are on a Volkswagen or Kia system, for instance, but it does respond quickly enough and is easy to operate once you’ve fathomed that you have to swipe across the touchscreen to access various menus.

Two adults in the back seats will be perfectly comfortable, although the car’s narrowing window line makes it feel dark back there, even if you’ve got the optional sunroof fitted. The plug-in hybrid system gets a slightly smaller boot, with 485 litres of space on offer compared with 545 in the petrol C5 X models. Even so, that’s larger than you’ll find in both the Arteon Fastback and Shooting Brake, or an SUV like a Nissan Qashqai, and the usefully low load lip and long boot floor will make it very practical in everyday use.

FACTS & FIGURES 2023 CITROËN C5 X Shine Plus Plug-in Hybrid

  • On sale Now
  • In showrooms May 2022
  • Prices £35,180 to £38,670
  • Bodystyles 5-door Crossover
  • Engines 1.6 Petrol plug-in hybrid automatic (221bhp)
  • Trim levels Sense Plus, Shine, Shine Plus
  • Also consider Skoda Superb iV, Volkswagen Arteon e-Hybrid
  • Model tested Shine Plus Plug-in Hybrid
  • Price £38,670
  • Built in Chengdu, China
  • Codename E43
  • Generation 3
  • Platform EMP2
  • Bodystyle 5-door crossover, 5-seats
  • Layout Front-wheel drive
  • Powerplant 1,598cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged petrol with electric motor and 12.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack
  • Gearbox 8-speed automatic
  • Max power (engine) 177bhp @ 6,000rpm
  • Max power (electric motor) 109bhp
  • Max power (combined) 221bhp
  • Max torque (engine) 184lb ft @ 1,750rpm
  • Max torque (electric motor) 236lb ft
  • Max torque (combined) 266lb ft
  • Top speed 145mph
  • 0-62mph 7.8secs
  • CO2 emissions 30g/km
  • Economy (combined) 236.2mpg
  • Tank (fuel) 40 litres
  • Range (electric motor) 34 miles
  • Recharge time (Domestic socket/7.4kW home charger) Under 8 hours/Under 2 hours
  • Insurance tba
  • BIK rate (2022/2023 tax year) 12%
  • Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,805/2,062mm
  • Boot space (min/max) 485/1,580 litres
  • Kerb/max towing weight 1,722/1,350kg
  • Euro NCAP rating Not yet tested
  • Spare wheel (Full-size/spacesaver/run-flat/selfseal/repair kit) No/no/no/no/yes
  • Warranty 3 years/60,000 miles
  • Warranty (Battery) 8 years/100,000 miles
  • Verdict If you can forgive the underwhelming powertrain, the C5 X is refreshingly different and quirky, while still ticking all the common sense boxes, too.
  • Rating ■■■■■■■■■■8/10
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