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Sunday, July 3, 2022

three in one

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Phew, that was close. For the motorcyclist who, without a helmet and carelessly, crosses the intersection at full speed just in front of the cars, even if they have a green light. But the active emergency braking assistant reacts quickly enough, and faster than the author. The Citroen C5 X comes to an abrupt stop and as the other cars honk their horns wildly, all I can do is shake my head at such life-threatening ignorance.

Yes, the new Citroen C5 X has learned a lot from French engineers. This affects both the security package and the basic concept. The C5 X is actually three cars. It has all the attributes of a sleek sedan, the raised body of an SUV, and the relaxed space of a station wagon. So a lot of car. Above all, Citroën wants to make a strong offer in the so-called D-segment with the C5 X. The French themselves gave up the place in 2017 when they discontinued the predecessor C5. Segment D, which includes upper mid-range models, represents more than eight percent of the European market. There are heavyweights like the Mercedes C-Class, the Audi A4, the BMW 3 Series or the VW Passat. So the change makes sense. “The Citroën C5 X is our new flagship for the brand,” emphasizes Germany boss Wolfram Knobling.

With the double angle ahead and with very flat LED headlights under the powerful hood.Photo: Citroen

Who comes back really tries. It is noticeable by the 4.81 meter long car. First-class equipment, carefully designed surfaces and beautiful materials, as well as a lot of driving comfort characterize the crossover model. The wide front end with ultra-flat, dual-angle LED headlights beneath the long, powerful hood blends into a flowing, aerodynamic sideline. Emphasized wheel arches and very large wheels make a powerful impression. With a ground clearance of 19 centimeters, the C5 X plays in the SUV league. A spoiler on the roof edge and a second spoiler below the flat rear window characterize the powerful rear end. Behind there is a boot with 545 liters, which can be comfortably loaded on a low edge. The rear seats can be folded down from the trunk and then hold 1,640 liters of luggage. In normal operation, the large amount of space benefits rear seat passengers. So much knee room, otherwise there is only in the automotive luxury class. The same applies to head height in the 1.49 meter tall car. More headroom than the twenty centimeters taller C5 Aircross SUV, which is mounted on the same platform – how the engineers managed to do that remains their secret. The C5 Aircross presented in 2019, a success with more than 240,000 units, arrives with a facelift this summer.

The two spoilers frame the flat rear window.Photo: Citroen

The C5 X is offered with three engines. In addition to two petrol engines with 130 and 180 hp, there is also a plug-in hybrid with a total of 225 hp. The purely electric range of 50 kilometers is completely sufficient for mobile city dwellers as well as the average commuter. It is good that the electric drive is now always used when starting. With the C5 Aircross, users always have to consciously set this up first. With the C5X, nothing stands in the way of environmentally friendly use, unless the legislator interferes. Because a homologation and promotion of the C5X is only possible in 2022 due to the autonomy of 60 kilometers. Currently, there is a fight behind the scenes over how government subsidies for plug-in hybrids should continue. After all, there is a lot of misuse: for many users, the charging cable is still in its original packaging in the trunk. Half a year ago, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) categorically called for an end to plug-in hybrids, but now there are signs of a rethink. Mercedes and Volkswagen have already announced that they will increase the electric range of hybrids to 100 kilometers. Even with Citroen you stay. If the purely electric minimum autonomy is increased by law, that will not be a problem. The deciding factor will be how to check whether a hybrid actually drives with an electric drive. By the way, Citroen wants to electrify all its models by 2025.

During the test drive, the hybrid made a good impression. In heavy city traffic, it was agile and quick in critical situations. Switching to combustion mode is hardly felt, and not heard either. The soundproof windows of the C5 X also contribute to this. However, it only switches to the combustion engine when the battery is empty and does not happen automatically in conjunction with the navigation system. So all that remains is to go into combustion mode yourself when you go to the mountains to save battery.

Beautiful materials and good seats – feel-good cell with a large touch screen.Photo: Citroen

The hybrid and the two combustion engines are backed by a newly developed eight-speed automatic gearbox that runs very cleanly on any terrain. The standard Advanced Comfort chassis with individually controlled dampers, also fitted to the C5 Aircross SUV, ensures very smooth roadholding despite the higher ground clearance. Whether in the hybrid or the smaller petrol engine, the selectable sport mode with slightly more direct and firmer steering has a positive effect. Unlike its more powerful siblings, each with a four-cylinder under the hood, the 130PS unit, which draws its power from a three-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1.2 litres, is taut and growls audibly on inclines. or when accelerating.

Insatiable. Up to 1,640 liters fit in the well-loaded boot.Photo: Citroen

Even if that doesn’t necessarily sound like upper middle class, it only reduces driving pleasure to a certain extent. In addition to well-made materials, the interior impresses with structured surfaces, high-gloss lacquer or elaborate quilted seams with good seating. The cabin looks like a living room with generous space and a pleasant atmosphere. The 12-inch touchscreen, which sits atop the wide center tunnel, dominates the space next to the flat steering wheel. Three-finger touch and swipe operation makes it much easier to find and select features while driving. Voice control – “Hello Citroen” – is also possible. Above all, the improved head-up display is a plus for the driver. Apparently floating four meters in front of the car, road signs, speed and all navigation information are displayed. There is no distraction when looking at the touch screen. The standard lane departure warning system is always in use on normal roads, but you need to take countermeasures yourself. On the motorway it’s different: Highway Driver Assist, subject to a surcharge, performs the necessary steering movements. As part of semi-autonomous driving, the C5X also automatically brakes, maintains its distance and accelerates again.

Prices for the C5 X, which can be ordered immediately, start at €35,730 for the PureTech 130, the more powerful PureTech 180 is available from €40,930. The hybrid PHEV 225 costs at least 44,980 euros – if the state subsidy is discounted, 37,803 euros remain.

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