The location might have changed, but even on UK soil, Citroen’s segment-busting new range-topper, the C5X, still stands out. Designed to cross market segments, Citroen claims the C5X offers the elegance of a saloon, the versatility of an estate and the presence of an SUV. From the front, its slanted, “Y-Shaped” daytime running lights and high, chrome-edged family grille shout C4 – although this model is longer and wider.  

Move to the side, and this Citroen is characterised by chunky SUV-like arches, raised ride height and large standard alloy wheels. Perhaps most distinctive from the rear, the C5X is a hatch with not one but two rear spoilers (one at the top of the rear window and one on top of the boot), plus large rear lights that stretch across the boot, in the same “Y-Shaped” style as the front. 

As we said before, at 4,805mm, the C5X seems much bigger than say, the C4 – as you’d expect from a range-topper. Yet, it is built on the same EMP2 platform as other smaller Stellantis models, such as the DS DS4, Peugeot 308 and Vauxhall Astra. Inside, the Citroen feels spacious both in the front and back – and the boot is a practically-shaped 545 litres and can be extended to 1,640 litres with the rear seat folded. 

The C5X, like the DS9, is assembled in China. We’re sure this plays some part in the fact that it feels impressively screwed together; there’s no doubt that with the rest of the range, Citroen has made great strides in terms of build and material quality. The chevron textured on the dashboard is a particularly nice touch. Talking of the dash, the C5X gets Citroen’s latest MyCitroen Drive Plus infotainment system – which is a big improvement over their other current systems. Our test car was also fitted with the welcome head-up display, meaning you keep your eyes on the road for longer. Elsewhere, the “Comfort” seats do as they say, the multi-adjustable driving position is comfortable, the steering is good to hold and there are physical controls for the ventilation – rather than having to search menus on the infotainment system. 

Of most interest to fleet buyers is the plug-in hybrid version of the C5X that we spent most of our time in at the international launch back in March. Elsewhere, there are 130 and 180 Puretech petrol versions and after a shorter drive at the same launch, it’s the smaller 130 that we took, to see how it worked on UK roads. It may boast 130hp, but it’s hard to believe that this car is powered by a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine. However, given its small size, it still proved to be a strong, charismatic performer in the C5X. With 136g/km emissions and 32% BIK, this engine is probably more aimed at private buyers than fleet – but this is a very attractive package in top Shine Plus equipment grade, with a price of £31,630. 

In fact, although having to work hard on some inclines, where the engine becomes more vocal, the 130 is our favourite of the ICE engines. Lightest of the range, you can feel it in the way this Citroen drives. Not sporty at all, and like the rest of the range, the C5X is all about the comfort. However, of all the C5Xs that we’ve driven, this one has the most steering feel, is keenest to change direction and was well-matched to the eight-speed automatic transmission that slickly and swiftly moves through the gears. 

Having a “Sport” mode almost seems at odds with this Citroen’s relaxed feel, but it does make the accelerator pedal sharper – although you might tire of the three-cylinder soundtrack, which is most obvious in this mode. 

Engine noise aside, this Citroen’s impressive ride, bump absorption and ultimately comfort, still shine through. Although the lighter feel of the Puretech 130 does make for a more fidgety feel at lower speeds, but we were happy to trade for the more dynamic feel. 

So, will the C5X succeed where iconic big models such as the C6, XM and CX have failed in the UK fleet market? It is a tough segment to be in, but our thoughts about the C5X are ultimately positive. 

It looks interesting and different, all models are well-equipped, and the interior is stylish, well-made, and comfortable. Although there’s no denying that the plug-hybrid version is still the best for fleets, event if it’s not quite as good to drive as this Puretech 130.

Citroen C5X Puretech 130 Shine Plus 

P11D: £26,645

Residual value: 35.31%

Depreciation: £17,237

Fuel: £10,231

Service, maintenance and repair: £2,318

Cost per mile: 49.64p

Fuel consumption: 48.6mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 136g/km (32%)   

BIK 20/40% a month: £142/£284

Luggage capacity: 545 litres

Engine size/power: 1,199cc/130hp