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Road tests

New Citroen C5 X 2022 review

The pure petrol version of the new Citroen C5 X promises better practicality than the PHEV

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

This PureTech petrol model loses a little of its ride comfort when compared with the plug-in hybrid C5 X, but it improves on that version in other areas, with a larger, more practical boot and an even more affordable price tag given the equipment and space on offer. With stronger tech than ever from Citroen, plus a unique design that doesn’t compromise usability, the C5 X is a solid family car for those who’ve decided that they definitely don’t want an SUV.

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We’ve already tested Citroen’s big C5 X in the UK in plug-in hybrid form, and we very much liked the blend of space, efficiency, comfort and value it offered. And this cheaper, pure petrol version looks like it could serve up more of the latter.

It’s powered by a 128bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo unit, which doesn’t sound like all that much when you realise it has to drive a large family hatch-cum-estate. However, with 230Nm of torque and mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that’s smooth-shifting but not the fastest, there’s an acceptable level of performance for such a big machine.

Officially, the 0-62mph sprint takes 10.4 seconds, but in reality that’s not at all how you drive the C5 X to extract the best from it. It much prefers a laid-back approach, using the low-down torque and moving along with a sense of serenity that you don’t quite get in rival cars, such as a Skoda Superb. Some of this comes from the engine, which is relatively refined and only gets raucous when you rev it hard, but much of it comes from the chassis set-up and the ride.

The petrol-powered C5 X doesn’t get the same active suspension set-up as plug-in models, which scans the road ahead and adjusts the dampers accordingly to account for any lumps or bumps. Instead, this PureTech model only features the firm’s Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension set-up, which uses clever tech to smooth out the dampers’ reactions to inputs and cushion the blow more effectively.

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It isn’t quite as smooth or as plush, but that’s to be expected. Yet it still does a solid job of balancing ride comfort and refinement with respectable handling.

Around town at low speed, depressions or ridges in the road are noticeable, but it’s still far from uncomfortable, the dampers doing their best to smooth out the surface. At higher speed the C5 X’s chassis offers a nice degree of float to its ride and feels in keeping with the plug-in hybrid; both offer a consistent approach in their set-ups.

The raised ride height that gives the C5 X its jacked-up estate look gives a bit more suspension travel, too, but the petrol car gets more unsettled by patchy roads in corners. It never really impacts the car’s stability, though, so it still feels secure.

This gives it a premium feel, which is backed up by the materials inside. The new 12-inch touchscreen is a slicker system than previous efforts from Citroen, and it’s joined by a seven-inch digital dash. There’s leather, LED ambient lighting and some nice metal trim parts that give an upmarket look – plus physical climate controls, which are so much easier to use than a purely screen-based set-up.

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Yet the C5 X’s price tag doesn’t reflect these premium touches. It’s not going to rival an Audi or a BMW, but it shows the brand is on a push when it comes to quality. Priced from £29,290 for this PureTech 130 automatic model in mid-spec Shine trim, it still offers plenty of affordability.

Shine models get loads of kit, including wireless phone charging and the latest connectivity tech, sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, plenty of advanced driver-assistance and safety systems, plus an eight-speaker stereo and multiple USB ports to keep passengers’ gadgets charged. There’s also no scrimping when it comes to space, because the C5 X feels roomy in the rear, and the front of the cabin delivers a good amount of storage, with plenty of versatile oddment trays and bins.

Where the petrol car excels over its plug-in sibling is boot space, because there are 545 litres on offer, compared with 485 in its battery-assisted sibling. This is a healthy extra amount, plus handy levers in the boot fold the rear seats down to reveal a maximum of 1,640 litres here, meaning the C5 X delivers on many fronts.

Model:Citroen C5 X PureTech 130 EAT8 Shine
Price:£29,290
Engine:1.2-litre 3cyl turbo petrol
Power/torque:128bhp/230Nm
Transmission:Eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive 
0-62mph:10.4 seconds
Top speed:130mph
Economy:48.6mpg
CO2:136g/km
On sale:Now
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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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