Such style! And somehow so different…‘Vive la différence!’
Car Reviewed: Citroën C5 X Plug-in Hybrid 225 Shine Plus
This plug-in hybrid adds to the Citroën heritage of cars that seem to create a niche of their own. It could be said that it’s not quite an SUV, but you still get quite a high driving position.
At the start of our week with the car, there were 28 pure-electric miles available. Before the end of our first drive — a distance of 185 miles in hybrid mode, this had all been used up. The first five miles were stop-start town driving; the rest was mainly motorway and dual carriageway.
The overall petrol consumption at this point was an indicated 48.6 mpg and, with a few minor ups and downs, that was the mpg after our total of 420 miles that by then included a five-hour cross-country trek in atrocious weather. But no problem because the C5 X proved itself to be, well, so comfortable!
Combine the seats and suspension properly and it’s ‘job done’. Nor was the handling compromised as a result. This and the steering was as they should be for a car that is, in effect, a grand tourer.
222 bhp from the 1.6-litre engine can get you to 62 mph in less than eight seconds.
The outward appearance, with its long wheelbase, sets it apart from the crowd.
Inside, a plethora of surface materials and design keeps you interested; look closely and you discover the Citroën chevron makes a variety of appearances.
However, shortly after setting off, I found that I should have had an intensive course in how to work the infotainment systems. We’re they just not working correctly? Or was it me? I felt I needed to get into the crossword-puzzle mind of its creator. In the end, of course these things can be reached and worked out. The car had no owner’s manual, so Mister Google was called in to assist.
Nonetheless, there were some anomalies: for example, the controls at the end of the main stalk would not operate; the drive select system appeared to work only when it felt like it; the downshift paddle would not always do what was asked and there seemed no apparent reason for this.
The screen is a good size, as is now customary in the auto industry, which always likes to keep up with itself.
The satnav came with the language available in ‘American English’; sure enough, when your voice command was answered, it was with a female American accent. I would have liked, perhaps, a charming French accent.
On locking the car and then walking away, there would be an unnecessary loud ‘beep-beep’. Perhaps the car was just saying ‘bye-bye.’
So: is this what might be euphemised as ‘character’? If so, I’d have to ask myself would I buy a C5 X. Absolutely! I loved it. There are some outstanding cars out there at the price (£43,560 for this particular car), but there’s definitely something about the C5 X. I’ve got to say it, haven’t I: “Je ne sais pas quoi!”
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.