The Citroen C5 X is a rather unique-looking vehicle. It’s a cross between an estate, a saloon and an SUV. It has the elongated wheelbase of the former styles and that slightly raised driving profile of the latter.
Available in different powertrain configurations, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model that we have on review, is the most powerful of the C5 X’s line-up. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the priciest out of the bunch.
If you’d prefer to watch a review of the Citroen C5 X Hybrid, head on over to our YouTube channel.
Citroen C5 X Hybrid price & competition
At the time of writing, the C5 X Hybrid is available in three trim levels: Sense Plus (£36,470), Shine (£37,970) and Shine Plus (£39,960). That’s quite a chunk more than the non-electrified model that’s available from £27,790 for the Sense Plus, £29,290 for the Shine and £31,280 for the top-spec Shine Plus trim.
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While the price differences are sizeable, one should consider that this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. Take the ‘Sense Plus’ trim as an example, the pure petrol model that costs £27,790, has a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder PureTech 130 engine that provides 96 kW (129 hp) of power, 230 Nm of torque, a top speed of 130.5mph and a quoted 0-62mph acceleration time of 11.3 seconds. Opt for the plug-in hybrid model at £36,470, and you’ll get a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder Hybrid 225 engine that outputs 165 kW (225 hp) of power, 250 Nm of torque, a top speed of 145mph and a 0-62mph claim of 7.9 seconds.
When it comes to its competitors, there are numerous PHEVs to consider, here are some alternatives: MG HS Plug-in Hybrid from £30,095; Grandland X Hybrid from £32,390; Citroen C5 Aircorss from £34,275; Ford Kuga PHEV from £36,555; Peugeot 3008 Hybrid from £37,310; Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid from £45,245; Audi Q3 TFSIe from £38,335; DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 4×4 from £41,550; BMW X3 xDrive30e from £50,600; Audi Q5 TFSIe from £51,015; BMW X5 xDrive45e from £66,415.
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While PHEVs do reduce your benefit-in-kind (BIK) taxation in comparison to a regular petrol or diesel-powered vehicle, if you have access to a charge point, you might want to consider a fully electric SUV, instead; going green will save you an even larger chunk off your tax bill.
There are quite a few to choose from: the MG ZS EV from £29,495; the Citroen e-C4 from £30,995; the Hyundai Kona Electric from £31,325; the Vauxhall Mokka-e from £32,695; the Peugeot e-2008 from £33,700; the Kia Soul EV from £34,995; the Kia Niro EV ‘2 64’ from £36,245; the Volkswagen ID.4 from £37,290; the Skoda Enyaq iV 60 from £38,380; the Hyundai Ioniq 5 from £41,900; and the Kia EV6 from £44,195. You’ve also got the MG5 EV, an all-electric estate that starts from £30,995.
Read next: Volkswagen ID.4 review: Better than the VW ID.3?
Citroen C5 X Hybrid exterior review
Unlike many of the alternatives on the market, we’d say the C5 X is in a league of its own at least in its exterior design. It has an elongated wheelbase (2785mm) of an executive saloon, a sloped and stretched-out rear roofline of an estate and a slightly heightened (1485mm) and widened (2062mm) profile of an SUV.
We don’t have any complaints about its exterior design. It’s actually supremely stylish and its unique form factor makes it stand out over other road vehicles. We love that the French automaker has blended its badge within the frontal profile of the vehicle, kept that edgy look at the rear, and implemented stylish 19″ alloys on all trim levels to give it a sportier flair. It is a shame, however, that plastic wheel arches and sideskirts are not body-coloured. Thankfully, they don’t protrude too much from the vehicle’s shell thus not detracting from the overall look.
As for your colour options, ‘Magnetic Blue’ comes as standard, while ‘Perla Nera Black’, ‘Cumulus Grey’, ‘Amazonite Grey’ or the pictured ‘Platinum Grey’ cost £650. The premium ‘Pearl White’ finish costs £850, instead.
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Citroen C5 X Hybrid interior review
Inside, the cabin is still exquisitely designed; from the stitching work on the upholstery, the materials used on the dashboard to the finish of the door frames. It all looks and feels premium, and yet is practical too. Unlike alternatives on the market, the manufacturer has chosen to retain physical buttons within the cabin – this makes for a far better experience while on the move, as one doesn’t have to faff around with touch-sensitive sliders or capacitative buttons.
But, that’s not all as Citroen has completely redesigned its infotainment system, making it more fluid, responsive and far easier to navigate than previous iterations. It’s gone from being one of the least intuitive systems on the market to one of the best. Settings are easy to find on the 12″ display (10″ on the Sense Plus), shortcuts make it intuitive to change certain settings while on the move, while the integration of wired and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are much appreciated.
Better still, these third-party operating systems feed navigation data to both the 7″ fully-digitalized and customisable instrument cluster and to the extended Head-Up Display (eHUD). The latter will even display a mini-map while you drive, and is featured as standard in the Shine trims. Indeed, the integration of technology around the cabin is excellent and doesn’t feel overdone, either.
Speaking of which, there’s a punchy eight-speaker audio system that comes fitted on all trim levels. If you opt for the Shine Plus trim, however, you’ll have the option to upgrade to the Citroen Hi-Fi system for £500. This adds a subwoofer and a centre speaker taking the tally up to ten. If you’d like to hear how the stock system performs, watch our detailed review on YouTube.
Citroen C5 X Hybrid storage review
Aside from its stylish and tech-centric interior, the C5 X is also very practical with its flurry of storage compartments. At the front, there’s a non-slip area that doubles up as a wireless phone charger, further down the centre console, there are two cupholders, a space to store your key fob and a larger storage area within the centre armrest. Here, you’ll also find a USB Type-C port for charging, while the one used to connect to the infotainment system can be found alongside a 12V socket underneath the physical climate controls.
As for the glove box, it’s relatively compact but thankfully the door bins are large enough to accommodate a 500ml bottle alongside a wallet or purse, while the rear two are a little smaller. Two cupholders can also be revealed by pulling down the rear armrest. Elsewhere, there are two USB Type-C ports for charging, rear climate controls and a tiny storage area found towards the rear of the centre console.
As for its boot capacity, the C5 X offers 485 litres with the seats up and 1,580 litres with them folded flat. Due to the positioning of the batteries, there’s more space in the non-electrified model, which sits at 545 and 1640 litres, respectively.
Here’s how the C5 X stacks up to other electrified SUVs: Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e (1,179/1,794 litres); Skoda Enyaq iV (585/1,710 litres); VW Passat Estate GTE (483/1,613 litres); VW ID.4 (543/1,575 litres); Hyundai Ioniq 5 (520/1,587 litres); Skoda Octavia iV Estate (490/1,555 litres); Citroen C5 Aircross (460/1,510 litres); Kia EV6 (490/1,300 litres); Kia e-Niro (451/1,405 litres); MG ZS EV (448/1,375 litres); Peugeot e-2008 (434/1,467 litres); Range Rover Evoque P300e (591/1,383 litres); Kia Soul EV (315/1,339 litres); Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid (345/1,475 litres); Citroen e-C4 (380/1,250 litres); BMW X2 xDrive 25e (410/1,290 litres); Nissan Juke Hybrid (354/1,237 litres); Honda HR-V (320/1,290 litres); Hyundai Kona Electric (332/1,114 litres); Vauxhall Mokka-e (310/1,060 litres). As for the MG5 EV estate, it offers 464 and 1,456 litres, respectively.
In terms of practicality, the C5 X has a hatchback design and an electric tailgate that comes fitted in the Shine Plus trim. The electronically-operated boot takes some time to operate and has a loud beeping sound, which cannot be disabled when it’s being closed. Quite an annoyance if you regularly access the boot.
Thankfully, no matter which trim level you opt for, you’ll find 60:40 rear-split folding seats with an integrated ski latch. The latter can only be opened from within the cabin, which does feel a little cumbersome. In terms of interacting with the seats, the second row can be brought down by pulling on the respective levers that are found in the boot. While certainly practical, the automaker hasn’t fully thought it through, with the two outer seatbelts dropping with the seats rather than staying in place. In our opinion, it’s a bit of an oversight.
Moving on, there are low-friction rails that make it easy to slide in and out larger goods, and with a flat loading bay and a protected boot lip, it makes it even more convenient to regularly transport items. Should you want to fasten anything, there are fixing points and hooks, and there’s also a 12V socket for charging. Under the boot floor, there’s an area to store away your charging cable. On another note, we love the design of the fabric boot load cover, which integrates itself within the tailgate and can be easily retracted.
Read next: Skoda Enyaq iV review: The Volkswagen ID.4 alternative
Citroen C5 X Hybrid comfort review
Storage capacity aside, the key selling point of the C5 X Hybrid, is its ridiculously comfortable in-cabin experience – starting from the seats. The rear outer two and the front ones have 15mm of extra high-density foam padding, which means they’re cushiony soft and provide the perfect amount of support.
In the Shine Plus model, one also has heated electronically-adjustable front seats with a driver’s memory function. This can be added to the Shine trim for an eye-watering £1,600. Both Shine trims have a heated steering wheel. If you’d like to go one step further, for an additional £800 in the Shine Plus model only, one can add a massage function and ventilation to the front seats. Similarly, in the top-spec trim, there’s the option of adding a sunroof with a sunshade for £1,300. Both are worthwhile considerations but do tot up the final bill.
No matter which model or option you end up choosing, legroom and headroom at the front of the cabin remain excellent. At the rear, headroom is a bit more limited for 6-foot 2-inches (188cm) individuals, however, for kids or younger adults, it’ll be a non-issue. Legroom at the rear, however, is stellar and it’s further refreshing to see that the French automaker has kept the transmission tunnel down to a minimum; making it more comfortable for a rear middle occupant to travel on longer journeys. While this might be common practice in fully electric vehicles that are built from the ground up, it’s a rarity for hybrids.
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Moving onto cabin noise, the SUV is among the best in its class. Road noise from the tyres is kept to a minimum, while exterior noise is drowned out by the acoustically insulated windscreen that comes fitted on all trim levels. In the Shine Plus model, you also get front and rear glazed windows, which further adds to the serenity of the cabin.
The real differentiator between the C5 X Hybrid and rival offerings is its floaty-like suspension, which the automaker coins as ‘Citroën Advanced Comfort Active Suspension‘. This combines with the ‘Dual Progressive Hydraulic Cushions’ and electronic shock absorber control that feature in Citroen’s other vehicles, such as the e-C4 and C5 Aircross.
The result is an unrivalled driving experience, with the vehicle adapting the suspension of each wheel to be softer or firmer depending on the conditions encountered. Sensors within each wheel also send data to the vehicle’s Electric Control Unit (ECU) to dynamically adjust the ride height and evaluate the road conditions. The system is astonishingly good at what it’s designed to do and provides that carpet-ride feel in its Comfort driving mode.
Read next: Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid review: A comfy and roomy PHEV
Citroen C5 X Hybrid performance review
Unsurprisingly, this does result in quite a lot of body lean when cornering at speed. One can stiffen the suspension and the steering wheel input by opting for the Sport mode preset. However, despite its best efforts, the vehicle cannot compete with sportier SUVs, saloons or estates that grip the road better and provide that heightened driver’s feel.
Indeed, the C5 X isn’t a sport-style vehicle. It’s immediately apparent with its somewhat lazy eight-speed automatic gearbox that doesn’t feel fluid, especially in the lower gears. Flappy paddles behind the steering wheel try to provide bettered input but it’s done in vain. The Citroen also operates on a front-wheel drive system only, which means it isn’t suited for off-roading, either. Thankfully, there’s no front wheel spin or torque steer even when you’re putting your foot down to the metal.
Speaking of which, its 1.6-litre 4-cylinder Hybrid 225 turbocharged petrol engine isn’t too shabby. It combines with an 81.2 kW electric motor and 12.4 kWh battery pack to output 165 kW (225 hp) of power and 250 Nm of torque. Using Racelogic’s Vbox Sport, we had it tested from 0-60mph at 7.95 seconds. Top speed is rated at an impressive 145mph.
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More impressively, the transition between fully electric and hybrid power is seamless. There’s no delay or feeling through the two power modes. indeed, its electrified portion helps reduce tailpipe emissions but also bolsters overall fuel efficiency. In our mixed driving tests, we attained a staggering 74.2 MPG from its 40-litre fuel tank; the vehicle attained 30 miles of pure electric range and can run for around 350 miles without having to stop to refuel.
Just to put that figure into perspective, along the same test route the Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid attained 64 MPG, the VW Passat Estate GTE 60-65 MPG, the Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid 58 MPG, the Skoda Octavia iV Estate and Honda HR-V 55 MPG, the Honda Jazz 51 MPG, the Range Rover Evoque P300e 40 MPG, the BMW X2 xDrive 25e 39 MPG, the Nissan Juke Hybrid 35-40 MPG, the Jeep Renegade 4xe attained 36 MPG and the Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e a measly 35 MPG. Indeed, the C5 X is a cut above the rest and quite astonishingly efficiency; surprising, as it shares many similarities with the Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid.
In order to recoup energy back into the battery pack and engage a form of one-pedal driving, you’ll need to press the B-Mode button found towards the centre console. Here, the SUV will decelerate when you lift off the accelerator pedal. While it won’t quite replicate fully electric vehicles that can be driven with one pedal, having the ability to decelerate the vehicle to a crawler speed does yield for a bettered driving experience in and around town.
It’s equally practical when it comes to plugging it in, as unlike many plug-in hybrids that limit their charging input to 3.6 kW, the C5 X Hybrid has a 7.4 kW onboard charger. This means its battery pack can be recharged from 0-100% in less than two hours via its Type 2 port. This makes it ideal for those who don’t have a readily accessible charge point, and yet, want to benefit from zero-emissions driving. A 3-pin input will take eight hours, instead.
Read next: Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid review: Better than BMW X2?
Citroen C5 X Hybrid safety review
When it comes to safety, the C5 X Hybrid achieved 4/5 stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. It scored 82% in Adult Occupancy, 87% in Child Occupancy, 69% for Vulnerable Road Users, and just 66% in Safety Assist.
Despite its low percentage score in the latter tests, the plethora of driver assistance systems provide a good degree of convenience. As standard on all trim levels, you’ll find the following: In-crash braking (multi-collision braking), Coffee Break Alert, Radar Controlled Active Safety Brake (with enhanced pedestrian and cyclist pickup and able to function at night), Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Extended Traffic Sign Recognition and Speed Limit Recommendation, Driver Attention Alert, and Cruise Control with Speed Limiter.
Should you not want to have a few of these safety systems in operation, such as Lane Keep Assist that gets enabled each time you power on the vehicle, you can easily disable them via a shortcut that can be accessed by pressing a physical button by the centre display and then virtually toggling off said setting. Yet another great use of tech within the cabin by the automaker.
For an additional £300 in the Sense Plus or as standard in the Shine trims, you can get Highway Integrated Assist (Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go function and Lane
Positioning Assist), which works phenomenally well at dynamically regulating your speed from the leading vehicle and Stop & Go technology is handy in slow motorway commutes.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist are added onto the Shine Plus trim only, the latter being useful on the motorway as it serves as a blind spot monitoring system. The former system alerts you of oncoming traffic when reversing out of a parking space.
This leads us to visibility, where at the rear it’s limited due to the integrated spoilers, and at the front, the positioning of the rearview mirror does obscure part of the driver’s vision. Thankfully, when it comes to parking there are front and rear sensors, and a rearview camera that come fitted as standard on all trim levels. There’s even a button on the infotainment system that allows you to clean the rear camera through an integrated washer nozzle. A very small yet handy inclusion by the French automaker.
Should you want to heighten the experience, you’ll want to opt for the Shine Plus trim as it adds high-resolution 360-degree cameras, allowing you to get a top-down view of the elongated vehicle (4805mm) and help you prevent curbing your 19″ alloys.
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TotallyEV’s verdict on the Citroen C5 X Hybrid
On the whole, the Citroen C5 X is arguably one of the best hybrid vehicles on the market. It’s stylish inside and out, very practical and accommodating, loaded with clever technology within the cabin and features a range of standardized driver assistance systems, its hybrid powertrain is punchy for a vehicle of its class, and it has an unmatched driving experience that will leave most bewildered by its supremely comfortable suspension setup.
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To add the cherry on top, it’s extremely fuel efficient and comparatively affordable. Therefore, the Citroen C5 X not only receives TotallyEV’s Best Buy award but also attains the highest score that we’ve awarded to a hybrid vehicle.
What do you make of the C5 X Hybrid? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.