Estate has a certain X factor

Citroen C5 X

By Bill McCarthy

In the world where SUV/crossover appears to be king, introducing a large saloon, or is it an estate?, is a brave, or even an inspired move. Spotting an estate is increasingly difficult such is the svelte, aerodynamic styling of many modern models.

But the proof of the pudding is the practicality and the C5 X has that in spades. So yes, it is an estate, but an extremely striking looking one.

There are many selling points, but the starting price of just short of £28k for what is a whole lot of car, is a compelling one.

It comes in petrol and hybrid versions, the diesel seemingly consigned to the dustbin of history.

There are three trim levels, Sense Plus, Shine and the range-topping Shine Plus driven here.

This model featured the 130bhp, 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, with a powerful 180 bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder powerplant also available.

The front of the car is striking with a V-shaped LED light signature, long roofline that ends with a floating, aerodynamic upper spoiler, while a second spoiler, in gloss black, adds to the sleek look.

Styling is further enhanced with large, diamond-cut alloys and on this model, the optional bi-tone black roof. 

It looks like a premium vehicle and that impression remains with the interior. It is a roomy impressive place to be with leather, chrome and soft-touch finish giving it the upmarket ambience.

Shine and Shine Plus models get leather upholstery as standard, while Sense Plus cars feature a tweed-like fabric.

The whole interior layout is well thought out and logical and dominated by a 12-inch central touchscreen and a seven-inch information cluster behind the steering wheel.

There are big bins under the centre armrest as well as an extra slot that is ideal for your phone. Gear selection is via a centrally placed switch which does away with the traditional lever and adds to the feeling of roominess.

The boot, while still spacious, is comparatively small for an estate car and loses space because of the slung roofline.

It offers the kind of practicality found in an SUV however, with seats that can be folded flat using levers in the boot area, offering total boot space of between 545 and 1640 litres.

The brains of the car, operated via the central touchscreen features a number of apps and controls navigation where fitted, infotainment and connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The system lets you customise the home screen and the TomTom navigation system is one of the best on the market.

The test model features the now familiar three-cylinder, 1.2-litre petrol engine. It seems a small capacity to power such a large car, but copes with ease, delivering the signature three-pot rasp under acceleration.

The 130bhp unit, mated with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, powers the car to 60mph in just 10.4 seconds, while also delivering economy of around 48mpg. Impressive for a large vehicle

On the road, it feels stable and assured and Citroen’s bespoke Advanced Comfort Suspension delivers the kind of comfort reminiscent of the gas-powered suspension of yesteryears in Citroen.

Not soft, by any means but firm enough to be comfortable as on-board sensors to automatically optimise the suspension settings based on road conditions.

All Citroens score highly on safety and this model is packed with kit, both active and passive. 

Equipment here included Active Safety Brake, Collision Risk Alert, 360-Vision, Long Range Blind Spot Monitoring System, Highway Integrated Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Active Lane Departure Warning System and Extended Traffic Sign Recognition and Speed Recommendation.

For those questioning the wisdom of introducing what looks like a large saloon and bucking the SUV/crossover trend, the combination of smart styling, excellent practicality and a tempting price, could prove them wrong.

C5 X Shine Plus PureTech 130 EAT8 automatic

Price: £32,160

Mechanical: 129 bhp, 1,199cc, three cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via an eight speed automatic gearbox

Max speed:

10.4 seconds

Combined mpg: 48

Insurance group: 21E

CO2 emissions: 136g/km

BIK rating: 31%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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