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Citroen C5 X 2023 review

You could say the Citroen C5 X doesn't know what it's trying to be. Or you could say it's so confident, it knows exactly what it is. A crossover model from France that is aiming up at SUV-style wagons - and it's really very interesting.

The all-new Citroen C5 X is different. It takes just one look at the car to realise that.

It’s partly an SUV, has more than a hint of wagon to it, and it’s nothing like the old Citroen C5s of years gone by. That’s no bad thing - because this is the sort of Citroen that people who have never even heard of the brand will likely pay attention to

The brand has shaken off its ‘quirky and French’ vibes for a more ‘modern European’ look, and let me tell you - this is a very interesting car. Read on to find out all the stuff you want to know, plus the things you need to know. 

Citroen C5X 2023: Shine 1.6 THP 132
Safety rating
Engine Type1.6L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$53,240

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

Citroen has made it simple for customers. There’s only one spec available for the C5 X at the time of launch, and it comes pretty much fully loaded for the list price of $57,670 (that’s before on-road costs).

The so-called C5 X Shine is the version we get at that price point, though there may be a higher-priced model with a plug-in hybrid powertrain sometime in the near future. 

As it stands, this crossover wagon could be something you consider as an alternative to high-spec Subaru Outback (which maxes out at $55,990 for the new top-spec turbo XT version), or maybe you could think of it as a bit of a cut-price Euro alternative to an Audi A4 Allroad (from $75,200). The Citroen also looks like good value alongside the Peugeot 508 Sportswagon (from $65,657), which it shares a platform and technology with, and a value alternative to a VW Arteon Shooting Brake 140TSI at $65,640.

Standard are 19-inch wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights, LED tail-lights, LED fog-lights, roof bars, two-tone paint finish with a black roof, leather interior trim, electric front seat adjustment, heated front seats, a sunroof, keyless entry and start, and sat nav with a standard three-year online subscription so your maps will stay up to date. You can extend up to six years, or you can use the integrated Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

  • The touchscreen is 12.0 inches. The touchscreen is 12.0 inches.
  • Up front are LED headlights and daytime running lights. Up front are LED headlights and daytime running lights.
  • At the rear are LED tail-lights. At the rear are LED tail-lights.
  • The C5 X wears 19-inch alloy wheels. The C5 X wears 19-inch alloy wheels.

The screens are a 12.0-inch touchscreen for multimedia, and there’s a 7.0-inch driver information screen and a head-up display as well. There are four USB-C ports (two front, two rear), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, front and rear floor mats, and a space saver spare wheel.

The colour palette includes the following colours: Magnetic Blue metallic is the only no-cost paint option, while Steel Grey, Platinum Grey, Amazonite Grey and Nera Black are all priced at $690. Believe it or not, Pearl White paint is the most expensive option at $1050.

It certainly has plenty of gear for the money, and the design is something you’d pay money for, too. Let’s take a closer look at it. 

Is there anything interesting about its design?   9/10

Citroen reckons the C5 X combines SUV, wagon and sedan design cues to make it a true crossover model. I reckon they’ve got a point, and while it’s certainly not as butch as some other crossover wagons out there, it’s not bashful, either.

I’m a massive fan of the assertive front end lighting design, the bold body lines that punctuate the bonnet and swoop backwards down the sides of the car, and the swooping roofline that dips away, almost like the iconic Citroen DS.

The C5 X's design combines SUV, wagon and sedan elements. The C5 X's design combines SUV, wagon and sedan elements.

It’s quite a large car, too - at 4805mm long on a 2785mm wheelbase, it has a commanding presence, and it’s 1865mm wide (not including the side mirrors) and a rather sleek 1490mm tall. 

Of course it has some body cladding and black plastics to give that ‘rough and tumble’ appearance - and the rear features a couple of spoilers on the boot that help it cut through the air cleanly, and they look interesting as well.

The swooping roofline dips away, almost like the iconic Citroen DS. The swooping roofline dips away, almost like the iconic Citroen DS.

Inside, there’s an almost-square steering wheel, which is interesting, and a pair of screens - a 12.0-inch touchscreen for your multimedia duties, and a 7.0-inch driver info screen. It looks and feels upmarket and pretty conventional in the cabin, so let’s see what the practicality is like.

The cabins looks and feels upmarket. The cabins looks and feels upmarket.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

The Citroen C5 X is almost as big as a Subaru Outback, and similar in size to a Kia Stinger. So it ought to have a bit of family-friendliness packed in.

Starting at the back, there’s a 545-litre boot capacity, with the kick-action, electronically controlled tailgate that you can also use the keyfob to open. It is a low, wide, quite squared-off aperture, meaning loading bulky items in should be a breeze. Just note that the roofline does taper down towards the rear, so bigger things will need to be pushed towards the seat backrests.

Or, if you’re really acting like a delivery van, you can drop the rear seats down to allow 1640 litres of cargo capacity. There are boot-mounted releases to drop the seats down, and there’s a floor mat in the boot, under which is a space saver spare wheel.

Back seat occupants are decently catered for. I’m 182cm/6’0” tall and I managed to sit behind my own driving position with plenty of leg and foot room - however, the sunroof does create a bit of a hump in the ceiling that you might bump your head on, and those with big feet or small children might want to take note that the sills in the door openings are very tall. A child could easily trip over them if they were clambering in the back in a rush.

There's plenty of leg and foot roomin the back seat. There's plenty of leg and foot roomin the back seat.

Children will be covered with a pair of ISOFIX child-seat anchor points in the window seats and three top-tether restraints, too. There are map pockets, door pockets with bottle holders, a pair of USB-C charge points and directional air vents, too.

However, it wouldn’t be a French car without some kind of quirky cup holder situation, and the back seat has none - there’s no flip-down armrest to speak of. But the seat is exceptionally cushy.

Front seat impressions are good - and cup holders are present. They’re big ones, too - large enough for a big cuppa or a bottle of water, even, And there are door pockets with bottle holsters as well.

There’s an opening centre armrest box with a USB-C charge point, and in front of the interestingly designed recessed gear selector and parking brake, there’s another storage spot with a wireless phone charger, too. Nice.

The front seats offer plenty of comfort. The front seats offer plenty of comfort.

Seat comfort up front is very good, with lots of adjustability (eight-way electric for the driver, six-way electric for front passenger) and heated front seats as well.

Scoring a big tick from me is the fact there are physical dials and buttons for the air conditioning and ventilation controls. But they’re in that glossy black finish, which shows fingerprints so much that it makes you feel self-conscious of being a walking germ farm.

The big touchscreen multimedia system has a few buttons and knobs, too - though the menus on screen do take some getting used to. It is highly customisable, so if you bought one you’d set it and forget it, but on first impression I struggled to get to grips with some of the nuances of the menus.

The multimedia system features wireless/wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The multimedia system features wireless/wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It does, however, have wireless or wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (with the media-feed USB-C port under the controls) and it goes full screen, too, while leaving enough space for other crucial elements. The graphics are nice and high-definition, and the 360-degree camera display puts  the “surround” view units in Peugeot models to shame. 

There’s also a configurable driver info screen, and a crisp and lovely head-up display as well. 

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   6/10

Yes it’s almost 2023, but the Citroen C5 X model launching right now isn’t bringing anything new or exciting to the table in terms of what’s powering it.

Instead, it runs a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine that is also used in other Citroen and Peugeot models. No hybrid tech, no electric version yet….  But Citroen has stated it is keen to bring a plug-in hybrid model to the market. Hopefully, it comes soon.

The petrol motor used here is the brand’s PureTech 180 with Stop & Start, and it’s good for 133kW of power at 5500rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1650rpm. This isn’t a small car, but it is relatively light, weighing in at 1439kg (tare mass). 

However, it has a pretty small engine with low outputs for this type of vehicle. For context, the 508 from Peugeot has 165kW and 300Nm.

The C5 X has a standard fit eight-speed automatic transmission, and despite some SUV pretences, it’s a two-wheel drive, with power sent to the ground via the front wheels only.

That much-anticipated plug-in hybrid (or PHEV) uses the same petrol engine but adds an 81kW electric motor to the mix, for a combined output of 168kW of power and 360Nm of torque. Grunty.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

If you see a brand-new Citroen C5 X in the showroom or on the street you’ll note that the sticker on the windscreen shows an official combined cycle figure of 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres. For a petrol engine, that’s impressive.

Now, whether you get near that will be determined by how you drive. Lots of city and urban driving could result in a higher figure - but it does have start-stop tech for the true traffic grind.

On the launch drive, which included a mix of different driving situations, I saw an on-display return of 8.5 litres per 100 on the trip computer.

Fuel tank capacity is 52 litres, meaning a driving range of 866km if you can achieve the official figure, or 611km if you average what I did on the launch drive.

Can’t wait for the plug-in hybrid version of this car; it has claimed efficiency one-fifth of the petrol version launching initially - yep, it sips a claimed 1.2L/100km… but of course that relies on you making sure you actually charge it up and use the 50km of EV driving range it is said to offer. We’ll cover it off in more detail when the vehicle launches locally, likely sometime in 2023.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

If comfort is your main priority when it comes to your new car, then the Citroen C5 X (or any Citroen, really) should suffice.

The brand says that comfort is one of its defining features - a pillar of why Citroen exists, if you will - and as the flagship model in the brand’s lineup, this should represent the ultimate in comfort. 

And it does. 

The seats - with triple-layer foam - play a big part. They’re wider than most seats and, while they don’t hold you in place like the buckets in a sports car, this isn’t a sports car

The engine is perky in Sport mode. The engine is perky in Sport mode.

It also has acoustic glass front and rear to help make it feel more serene and ‘cocoon-like’ inside. There’s barely any wind noise, and just a touch of road roar over coarse-chip roads, but it’s far from noisy in the cabin.

Further, it glides along with relative comfort over bumpy sections of road, with the so-called Suspension with Progressive Hydraulic Cushioning all-but eliminating road surface intrusion into the cabin. 

The suspension has hydraulic cushions at the ends of the springs and dampers (but before the bump stops) that are designed to delete the little bumps in the road surface, while also helping lessen the impact of larger imperfections like potholes. And, with the launch being held in Sydney on yet another wet day, the suspension did a spectacular job. 

Citroen says that comfort is one of the C5 X defining features. Citroen says that comfort is one of the C5 X defining features.

You can still feel the 19-inch wheels moving around a bit when you sink into a pockmark, but the way it feels from the driver’s seat is very good. I didn’t get to play passenger on this launch drive, but the seat of the pants vibe I got was that all occupants will be cosseted nicely. 

That tendency towards relaxed movement is reflected in the handling of the car, too. It’s not a corner carver. You can engage Sport mode - which adapts the powertrain (engine and transmission calibration and sensitivity) and also the steering weight, if you really want to.

On the engine - it is perky enough in Sport mode and can do the 0-100km/h sprint in 8.1 seconds, according to Citroen.

The C5 X is a lovely car. The C5 X is a lovely car.

This powertrain should really be categorised in the ‘comforting’ rather than ‘compelling’ category. It’s not a bad engine - but you can feel the weight of the car is holding it back, and it particularly feels a bit sluggish from a standing start. I also noticed a bit of vibration through the car under full-throttle acceleration, too. 

But honestly, unless you were trying to duck through a gap in traffic, you’re not likely to spend much time with your foot pinned to the boards in this car. 

I love and admire that this isn’t a car designed to be sporty. It isn’t trying to be that. The PHEV version will be more of a driver’s tool, with an adaptive suspension system and more power and torque. But honestly, I’d be happy with the C5 X as it is, because it’s just a lovely car.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

There’s nothing groundbreaking on offer in terms of safety tech in the C5 X - but it does debut a few things for the Citroen brand, like rear cross-traffic alert. Yep, it took this long to get that in a Citroen.

There’s also active lane positioning assistance, “extended range” blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control with speed sign adjustment, and the expected items like auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection. 

It has parking sensors front and rear, and a 360 degree view camera. The camera is a big, big step up on the Peugeot 508 that the Citroen shares plenty with.

However, the C5 X doesn’t have a front centre airbag like some new rivals, though it does have dual front, side and curtain airbags fitted. 

There is no ANCAP rating or Euro NCAP score for this car. But based on the current expectations and criteria, it wouldn’t likely score the maximum five-star rating due to some safety technology items being absent (junction assist for AEB, child presence detection, motorcycle AEB). 

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   8/10

Buy a Citroen and you get a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, as well as five years roadside assist and a five-year capped price servicing plan.

The C5 X isn’t cheap to maintain, with the average service cost sitting at more than $560 - that’s based on service intervals of 12 months/15,000 kilometres. 


This is a new take on the Citroen station wagon, and it’s an impressive one at that. It may not tick all the boxes, but it is a comfortable and practical car, with stunning design, decent equipment and a pretty agreeable price tag.

Now, just get that plug-in hybrid version in at a reasonable price please, Citroen.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with meals provided.

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Range and Specs

Shine 1.6 THP 132 1.6L, PULP, 8 SP $53,240 – 61,160 2023 Citroen C5X 2023 Shine 1.6 THP 132 Pricing and Specs
Price and features8
Under the bonnet6
Matt Campbell
Managing Editor - Head of Video


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