Citroen C5 X Shine: long-term test report

First report: cold snap and comfy cabin mean we’ve quickly warmed to our Citroen C5 X

  • 4.5 out of 5

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    So far the Citroen C5 X has been a great car for winter driving: warm, inviting and comfortable. It’s the kind of model that makes you want to book a driving holiday just to spend more time behind the wheel.

    • Mileage: 2,525
    • Economy: 41.4-48.6mpg
    • The last time I got behind the wheel of a Citroen, it was our e-Berlingo back in June 2022. It took a while for that boxy electric MPV to win me over, although it did. This time it’s been love at first sight, though.

      The C5 X instantly stands out. It looks different and, in my opinion, lovely and sleek, with lots of swooping lines and great incorporation of the classic chevron design into the front lights. The unusual shape hints at both saloon and estate models, looking sporty without being aggressive. I’m not sure which angle I like best, but it’s fair to say the car has head-turning appeal.

      The inside is equally inviting and then enveloping. I took delivery of our C5 X Shine PureTech right at the beginning of the pre- Christmas cold snap, and within days the car was covered in frozen snow. As a quick experiment I brushed off the top layer of powdered snow then timed how long it took to defrost the car to a level of visibility safe to drive. Using the heated rear windscreen and climate control (no ice scraping) it took just six minutes, and in that time I was able to fire up the heated steering wheel to warm my frozen hands.

      Luckily for me, the C5 X has also been specified with the Hype Black Ambience (£1,600) option. This features heated leather front seats, along with memory settings for the driver seat, and wood-effect dashboard trim. The latter looks nice enough, but the seats are the next level in comfort, with soft-padded support and electric adjustment. I’m finding the memory setting is very helpful, too, with a 30cm height difference between my wife and me.

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      One-touch seat settings might sound a bit unnecessary and coming from a six-month spell in our Dacia Jogger fleet car into this level of comfort is somewhat mind-blowing. To be fair, the Jogger was almost half the price of our C5 X £31,740 OTR test car. But that doesn’t mean the standard price of £29,290 is expensive for this level of comfort or refinement. Our example is clearly more affordable than the plug-in hybrid version, which would set you back an extra £10,000.

      The car is packed with loads of technology as standard. The screens are crystal clear, with a head-up display giving speed information via a road-sign symbol plus digital readout, with options to use the cruise-control settings. The Citroen also has a seven-inch digital dashboard that can give sat-nav directions. The 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system mounted on top of the dash is huge and impressive, but more complex than expected.

      I had to watch the Auto Express C5 X test video online to discover that swiping was the way to change the radio stations and I’m still working my way through the functions. To be fair, though, it does come with an on-screen system guide.

      I’ve used the sat-nav a few times and it’s wonderful and intuitive, with directions on both screens so you can’t go wrong. It also shows the price of petrol at fuel stations en route, plus red and amber lines to highlight the traffic ahead. Many of the audio sounds in the Citroen are well thought out, too. The indicator tick and speed camera warning alerts are calming, and even the sat-nav’s voice direction has a relaxed tone.

      One rush-hour trip across London turned out to be very chilled. The cabin’s warmth and comfort combined with the simple route instructions and smooth ride to slow everything down, including my heart rate.

      I find the Citroen glides along, despite this petrol-powered C5 X not getting the same active suspension set-up as plug-in models. That tech scans the road ahead and adjusts the dampers to suit the surface.

      Our Citroen comes with a 1.2 litre three-cylinder engine that has plenty of power for town. It has a lovely tone and probably hints at more performance than it actually delivers, but I need to get it out onto some faster open roads to get that information, along with some non-urban mpg figures. A trip up north to see family in Lincolnshire will soon will help fill in those gaps.

      Model:Citroen C5 X Shine PureTech 130 S&S EAT 8 auto
      On fleet since:December 2022
      Price new:£29,290
      Engine:1.2-litre 3cyl turbo petrol, 128bhp
      CO2/tax:136g/km/£230 (Y1)
      Options:Metallic paint (£650), Roof bars (£200), Hype Black Ambience: Mistral Black Paloma leather Advanced Comfort seats, with heated front seats and wood-effect dashboard trim (£1,600) 
      Insurance*:Group: 20E, Quote: £1,028
      Any problems?None so far

      *Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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