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2023 Citroen C5 X is the Best New Car You’ve Never Heard Of

French cars are having a bit of a moment. I had the pleasure of driving some of the new metal last month in the form of a PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch, but classic cars like the 205 GTI are also becoming a favourite of collectors everywhere. And while Aussies are typically geared towards Japanese cars when it comes to purchasing new cars, I think it’s about time they started looking towards the French too.

It started as an act of curiosity, with Australian car prices rising into the absurd, it’s almost unbelievable to say that the Citroen C5 X starts from $57,670 AUD plus on-road costs. It represents great value in the segment, but I picked out the C5 X because of the styling. It’s a standout in the market, with so many cars throwing away design in favour of wind tunnel aerodynamics, the designer Frédéric Angibaud beautifully blends a saloon and wagon shape together with an SUV stance. It’s outstanding and looks just as good in the flesh.

RELATED: 2023 PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch Review.

Citroen C5 X at a Glance

High PointLow PointVerdict
Best-in-class ride comfort from the ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushion’ suspension. The engine is fuel efficient while maintaining enough power for highway overtakes and city merging.The gearbox is a little unsure of what it wants to do sometimes, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s an older dual-clutch transmission in traffic.Not only is the Citroen C5 X one of the most comfortable cars in the segment, but it’s also one of the most comfortable cars I’ve driven this year. The hydropneumatic suspension might be gone, but there’s more style, tech, and efficiency than we’ve seen from the brand in a long time.

How Much Does the Citroen C5 X Cost?

As mentioned, the Citroen C5 X is competitively priced at $57,670 AUD plus on-road costs and has launched in Australia with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine offering 133kW and 250Nm. A plug-in hybrid model will also arrive in Australian showrooms later this year. Prices haven’t been announced but if the recently unveiled Peugeot 308 is anything to go by expect a *ballpark* $16,000 premium over the non-hybrid model.

Citroen C5 X’s nearest competitor is the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake, which is $65,990 AUD plus on-road costs. However, cars like the Subaru Outback XT are more competitively priced at around $52,190 AUD plus on-road costs, offering an edge in the rugged department, but losing out in terms of outright luxury and style.

The Genesis G70 Shooting Brake is also a worthy competitor, however, it’s priced at an astronomical $79,000 before on-road costs.

In terms of colour options, you have a Magnetic Blue as standard, or you can have any shade of grey you want for an extra $690, including Steel Grey, Platinum Grey, Amazonite Grey, and Perla Nera Black. White will cost you an extra $1050.

RELATED: 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 V8 is a Fantastic ‘FlexUV’.

2023 citroen c5 x at a glance
How Much Does the Citroen C5 X Cost? | Image: Supplied

What Powers the Citroen C5 X?

 2023 Citroen C5 X Performance Figures
Engine1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power133kW @ 5500rpm
Torque250Nm @ 1650rpm
Drive-typeFront-wheel drive
TransmissionEight-speed torque converter automatic
Acceleration0-100 km/h in 8.1 seconds

The 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol isn’t much of a powerhouse with 133kW on tap at 5500rpm but it gets the job done on the freeway and around town. I spent most of my time driving the C5 X from Sydney to Newcastle and it took the drive in its stride.

It’s comfortable sitting on the speed limit and I averaged around 6.6 litres per 100km which is rather frugal for a turbo four-cylinder. Official figures indicate the following; City cycle (L/100KM): 7.0, Highway cycle (L/100KM): 5.4, Combined cycle (L/100KM): 6.0.

In terms of the transmission, the eight-speed finds its gears well and rarely misses a kick down when asked. However, it’s rather jerky in stop-start traffic and offers characteristics similar to a dual-clutch transmission, stumbling over itself and communicating with the start-stop system in a completely different language. After a week I did manage to learn the quirks and drive quite smoothly, but it’s an adjustment I’d rather not make in a car at this price.

RELATED: 2023 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is More Supercar Than SUV.

2023 citroen on the road
How Does the Citroen C5 X Drive? | Image: Supplied

How Does the Citroen C5 X Drive?

Driving comfort is where Citroen has made a name for itself and although the hydropneumatic suspension from the previous generation C5 has been swapped out for something called a ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushion’ – a cushion inside the spring itself – it’s great. I’m a sucker for the ride quality in the Subaru WRX Wagon, but the Citroen C5 X is in a different league.

Sydney roads remain an absolute nightmare after months of rain, but the Citroen C5 X was the perfect antidote to any bumps, holes, and undulations. Laminated windows mean the cabin is well insulated from wind noise and the skinny tires with large sidewalls (205/55/R19) help the case and take your mind off any inadvertent pothole exercises.

I still wonder how the car would go with a proper all-wheel drive system as the suspension seems more than capable on rough roads. Subaru still wins the battle in this department.

Steering is about right in the weight department, not too light in normal mode or too stiff in sports mode. You won’t find yourself looking to drive the C5 X at the nearest driving road, however, the body roll is controlled in the mid-corner and it’s happy to change directions fairly rapidly.

Overall, it’s a fantastic place to sit on your daily commute but it’s just as capable of eating away big KMs on the freeway with driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control (including speed recognition adjustment) and lane centring assist – I’ve highlighted all the safety features below.

2023 citroen interior
What’s the Interior Like on the Citroen C5 X? | Image: Supplied

What’s the Interior Like on the Citroen C5 X?

The general layout of the Citroen C5 X is far more reminiscent of a traditional sedan than it is an SUV. While cars like the Subaru Outback lean towards an SUV-orientated driving position – with maximum visibility by way of a raised driving position – the C5 X raises the dashboard and door cards for a cocoon-like experience.

None of this detracts from the overall space in the cabin, it’s huge. I much prefer this driving position over a typical SUV as it offers a more connected feeling between your seat and the road itself. Naturally, your body won’t move around as much in corners and while the seats in the C5 X don’t do a particularly good job of hugging you with a general lack of side bolstering, they’re very comfortable for longer journeys.

In terms of the trims and appointments, there’s a mixture of soft-touch leathers and plastics, with large portions of textured ‘woods’ along the upper dashboard. Most importantly, there are plenty of real buttons, including climate control. The gloss black plastic trim around the gear selector is a little off-putting (scratch-city) but the centre console is very deep and has plenty of storage space inside and a USB-C port and 12v outlet for charging cameras etc.

Strangely enough, the steering wheel in the Citroen C5 X was a highlight. It makes use of real buttons while remaining good-looking and simple to use. In a world where complicated wheels have become the norm – think Kia EV6 with its four toggle switches – it’s so nice to use a wheel that nails the basics. Thickness, grip, and comfort are top-notch.

Customisable touchscreen
There’s an ability to customisable widgets to create a dedicated home screen | Image: Supplied

Is the Infotainment System Modern, Does it Have Apple CarPlay?

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto find their way into the Citroen C5 X, displayed on a 12-inch touchscreen in full-screen. Don’t ask me how the native touchscreen works as I (like everyone else) screen-mirror everything.

That being said, there’s an ability to customisable widgets to create a dedicated home screen that suits your profile which is fairly trick.

Even cooler is Citroen’s Connected Services suite. It’s an impressive bit of software that feeds live information on car park space availability, fuel prices, and traffic information thanks to TomTom, you even get daily fuel price updates.

Behind the driver sits a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster that’s not particularly big by today’s standards but it is customisable. The display itself is clear and easy to read. Most importantly, you can read all of it as the wheel is nice and large.

RELATED: 2022 BMW 230i Review.

2023 citroen rear end
Man of Many’s Verdict on the Citroen C5 X | Image: Supplied

Man of Many’s Verdict on the Citroen C5 X

The Citroen C5 X offers what I would consider best-in-class ride comfort from its ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushion’ suspension. However, when you look beyond the shocks you don’t find anything to suggest the brand has cut any corners along the way either. There’s plenty of technology, wireless Apple CarPlay, and the cabin is well-appointed and spacious.

Yeah, the gearbox is a little unsure what it wants to do sometimes, but the engine is happy to rack up serious KMs on the freeway while remaining very good on fuel in the process.

When you consider the price of $57,670 AUD plus on-road costs, it’s one of the better options in the segment. If you’re looking at cars like the Subaru Outback XT but you’re wanting more in the comfort and fuel economy departments it’s a great option, especially if you don’t plan on heading down any dirt roads. Compare the C5 X to the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake, which is $65,990 AUD plus on-road costs, and it makes a serious case for itself.

Beyond all of that, I love the way the Citroen C5 X looks, and if this is where Citroen is headed, I expect to see plenty more on the road in the future.

2023 citroen c5 x safety
Is the Citroen C5 X Safe? | Image: Supplied

Is the Citroen C5 X Safe?

The Citroen C5 X offers a number of safety features not previously been offered by Citroën, including:

  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Long Range Blind Spot Monitoring System
  • Active Lane Positioning Assist
  • Intelligent Cruise Control with Speed Adaptation

Driver assistance features include:

  • Automatic dusk-sensing LED headlights
  • Automatic High Beam Assist
  • Automatic ‘Welcome’ and ‘Follow Me Home’ lighting
  • LED daytime running lights (front) incorporating indicators
  • LED front fog lights with static corner lighting
  • Automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers with integrated wash function

Standard safety features include:

  • Driver and front passenger front airbags
  • Lateral airbags
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB): with low-light pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • In-crash braking: Multiple collision braking
  • ISOFIX: mounting points on outer rear seats
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with intelligent traction control
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Tyre under-inflation warning
  • Driver Attention Alert
  • Coffee Break Alert
  • Active Lane Keep Assist
  • Extended Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Speed Limit Recommendation
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with complete Stop & Go function
  • Intelligent Speed Adaptation of Cruise Control
  • Speed Limiter
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • 4 high definition parking cameras
  • Visiopark 360-degree top-down parking image

In short, it’s safe.

Citroen C5 X Warranty and Servicing

12 months
24 months
36 months
48 months
60 months
Citroen C5 X Shine$444 $722 $444 $743 $465 $2818

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