Citroën C5X review (2023) – Weirdly amazing
Big bang in the sedan galaxy
Surprising, disconcerting, extravagant, bizarre… Seeing a C5X is first and foremost a test of your vocabulary of astonishment. And for good reason, in the C5X, I see a little bit of everything, but really everything: a sedan, an estate, a coupe and even an SUV. It’s impossible to get a fixed opinion, the French car is rather unclassifiable and the X in its name indicates this curious melting pot. So, it’s an assumed mess. But is this enough to make the big Citroën a versatile object?
The boldness of the design
The Citroën C5X is first and foremost a 4.81m x 1.82m piece of pure aesthetic weirdness. 8.75m² of automotive soup that falls on my eyes. But strange as it is, the C5X is flanked by historical references. The C-pillar has its roots in the DS19 with its chrome strip ending in a point and overhanging fine stripes. As for the spoiler at the top of the raised (and not very beautiful, I grant you) butt, it leads directly to the CX. As for the front, it’s contemporary history with the V-shaped DRLs taken from the C4. It’s a lot to take in when you’re trying to figure out where the C5X is going and I have to admit that I have a hard time figuring it out. Its style is very unusual in the streets of old Ajaccio and it is very noticeable. In short, if it opens up space-time gaps in terms of style, fortunately the C5X also excels in a number of crucial areas…
“With real climate controls, the C5X avoids an ergonomic disaster and refuses the forced move towards total digitalisation”
Starting with the living area. If, compared to the exterior, it is indeed a calm down atmosphere, the whole remains modern and sober although the materials used sometimes lack cachet for the category. The tiny instrument cluster in front of the driver is completed by a complete and particularly successful 20-inch head-up display. Next to it, the 12-inch touchscreen looks good and is very responsive. Underneath? The miracle. Physical climate controls! And without being vulgar, the knobs are big and easy to grip. Hallelujah! Another piece of good news is that the electric seats are soft without being overly so, and can be fitted with heating, massage and ventilation functions in the front. In the rear, the space offered is vast and the C5X’s status as a large sedan makes sense. The cargo area is not bad either, although you’ll have to be a bit clever if you’re going on holiday (545 litres in petrol and 485 litres in plug-in hybrid).
Up to the job on the road
On reading the technical data sheet, I notice that the C5X is the only Citroën to have adaptive suspension offering a whole range of driving modes. Is the car hiding several faces? Elementary my dear! In Sport mode, the car keeps its body roll well under control when cornering. This was necessary to tackle the winding Corsican roads and try to keep up with the speed-hungry locals. In Comfort mode, it’s a delight. It’s quite simple, I’ve never been in a car with such good damping. The C5X even surpasses the more bourgeois DS9 with its more sophisticated suspension. And the observation is the same in town, on the road and on the motorway. Excellent in absolute terms and exceptional for the category. The 225 PS are also sufficient under load and the C5X does not drink too much (5.1 l/100km over 2,000 km) on the long term. As for the electric mode, it is acoustically comfortable and the range in zero emission mode is correct (41 km).
“The C5X hides its dimensions rather well because in reality it appears quite bulky”
In fact, it is mainly the dimensions of the Citroën that can disturb. It doesn’t look like it, but it’s actually quite big! And to teleport to Corsica, you have to aim at the Mega Express Five, a nice monster that swallows cars and trucks by the dozen. But it swallows a bit too many vehicles… As a result, the cars are stuck together and the feeling of damaging the front wings of the Citroën is constantly in my head. A dangerous game that fortunately precedes a less sportive crossing. Once the boat arrived in Bastia – not without delay – comes the excitement of recovering the car in the inhuman heat. Having escaped from the ship, the impression of having emerged unscathed from a near-death experience disconnects my brain for a few moments and leads to absurd reactions, such as checking the price of diesel while my car runs on unleaded. Still…
Charge, charge and charge
I was promised charging stations at the campsite. True enough! But once I arrived in Propriano, I didn’t know on which side the charging hatch was. Well, I have some excuses: it was three o’clock in the morning and I was coming out of a post-traumatic stress sponsored by Corsica Ferries, huh… Anyway, enough of jokes, the truth is that these terminals are very practical! All you have to do is plug in each night and you’ll be able to enjoy the ride the next day. Too generous. The C5X is also generous with its equipment, which is very rich. In addition to the delicious seats and the aforementioned head-up display, there’s also the semi-autonomous level 2 driving system, the 360° camera, the 19-inch wheels, the powered tailgate and the sunroof. Thus equipped, our Shine Pack version costs €54,020. This is logically much more than the entry-level model at €33,900 but it remains reasonable for the category. A Skoda Superb Laurin&Klement (218 PS, €55,580) is classier but less comfortable. The Peugeot 508 GT Pack (225 PS, €52,060) is sportier but not as well equipped and practical. However, these two rivals offer an estate version, which the C5X does not. This doesn’t stop it from shining and, above all, from giving me great holidays. I would recommend it without moderation for those who can close their eyes on the styling.
- Exceptional comfort
- Generous interior space
- Excellent equipment
- Competitive prices
- Average trim quality
- Not very fun to drive
- Very…particular styling