Citroen banking on X factor with new C5X crossover

IS IT an SUV? Is it a saloon? Perhaps it's an estate? Mais non: it's a combination of all three called the Citroen C5X, writes David Roy.

The French car maker's new flagship model will arrive on these shores in early 2022 and, despite the segment-straddling design denoted by the X bit of its badge (as in 'crossroads') – which could easily have been a recipe for aesthetic disaster – the C5X is actually a great looking machine that's much easier on the eye than the current C5 Aircross SUV.

It's also nothing to do with Sir Clive Sinclair's infamous 1980s electric three-wheeler – although undoubtedly there will eventually be a pure electric version of the C5X should the initial pure petrol and PHEV offerings prove popular enough.

Citroen claim their new model will "seamlessly combine the modernity and appeal of an SUV, the elegance and status of a saloon and the versatility and practicality of a station wagon" in one vehicle, so if they've done that right then the car should be a surefire winner.

It's a big enough motor, measuring in at 4,805mm long, 1,865mm wide and 1,485mm tall, with a 2,785mm wheelbase and a boot volume of 545 litres, or 1,640l with the rear seats folded flat.

The C5X should definitely appeal to long-time fans of the French marque who fondly remember the pioneering hydro-pneumatic self-levelling suspension that made iconic Citroens like the DS, BX and CX such a pleasure to drive.

The C5X is fitted with Citroen's new Advanced Comfort Active Suspension set-up which incorporates Progressive Hydraulic Cushions for both rebound and compression, helping to filter out road imperfections to recreate that famous Citroen 'flying carpet' ride quality.

There's a choice of two PureTech Stop & Start Euro 6.3 engines in 130hp or 180hp guise, or the plug-in hybrid version which mates an 81.2kWh electric motor to the latter petrol lump to offer 225hp and 266lb ft of torque on demand and a zero-emissions range of up to 31 miles (WLTP).

All cars get an 8-speed electric gearbox, but the hybrid C5X is also equipped with an upgraded Active_Advanced Comfort suspension system which utilises sensors to analyse the road surface in order to determine the optimum suspension firmness required for each wheel. This is supposed to help reduce body roll and ensure adequate support when carrying full loads.

Four driving modes are available, with specific suspension adjustments for each: Electric, Comfort, Hybrid and Sport.

Inside, Citroen say their Advanced Comfort Seating (available in heated, ventilated and massaging form) and 'lounge style' cabin design combine to "create an immediate feeling of being cocooned". That sounds vaguely terrifying, but is probably meant in the Danish 'hygge' sense rather than anything more sinister.

They also boast of the car's "360-degree glasshouse" including a large (optional) glass roof, which creates a bright and airy interior further enhanced by adjustable white ambient lighting. The front and rear windscreens are acoustic laminated to keep road noise at bay, while "all contact areas are soft and yielding, from the dashboard and the thermo-sealed door panel strips to the armrests and the centre console design".

So far, so comfy – and there's plenty of driver convenience to enjoy too: Rear Cross Traffic and Long Range Blind-Spot Alerts keep you appraised of potential collisions while the Highway Driver Assist maintains/adjusts a pre-set speed relative to in-lane traffic conditions.

Tech wise, the C5X is well appointed with a 12-inch touchscreen with HD display, My Citroen Drive Plus navigation and My Citroen Play Plus smartphone duplication and voice activated commands, plus a 7-inch wide digital instrument cluster and an extended head-up display which projects key driving information onto the windscreen in front of the driver.

The C5X will be available to order soon, with initial deliveries expected during the first half of 2022.