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Words from a Citroënist: When the Citroën C5 X meets the Citroën C6

La Citroën C5 X face à la Citroën C6 et la Citroën CX

A new section on the site, Passionnément Citroën gives you the floor to tell us about your passion for Citroën in a free speech on the subject that interests you. Whether it's a test drive of a new or old Citroën, or your passion for the brand, Paroles de Citroëniste is your space. Today, Christian tells us about his Citroën C5 X, which he has owned for a few months and which has already covered 27,000 kilometres.

"After driving a saloon for many years, my last one, a 17-year-old C6, was starting to show its age. So in 2021, I decided to go for the Citroën C5 Aircross plug-in hybrid SUV," before being quickly won over by the new C5X, which Christian says is "like no other. The proportions are ideal and the fact that it is a raised saloon does not shock me, unlike the C4, whose height/width ratio always shocked me". In October 2022, Christian gave in and took a C5 plug-in hybrid.

In just over a year, Christian has covered 27,000 kilometres at the wheel of the C5X, which "has given him back the pleasure of the C6, which I still own, and by regularly switching from one to the other, I can compare and measure the evolution over 15 years, each representing two different eras". The opportunity to make a comparison between these two great Citroëns, which follow a long line of top-of-the-range saloons.

La Citroën C6 de face avant

Exterior styling

For Christian, "From the outside, there is no doubt that they are indeed Citroëns, they do not resemble any other car except the CX, which they both have in their genes (I also own a CX25 RD Turbo2). They are two large saloons with a fluid design, but with very different characters. If the C6 is smooth and imposing in a limousine style, the C5X is sculpted, with a more slender profile, raised like an SUV, but dynamic and even daring. Connoisseurs will notice that the overhang of the big Citroën is at the rear. Despite this blasphemy, the proportions are ideal and the fact of being a raised saloon, with the codes of SUVs. The rear is the most elaborate, with wide wheel arches and a double spoiler that looks great when the C6 retracts its spoiler when stationary. Its very difficult profile, which it inherited from its predecessors, finally offers what we have the right to expect from this configuration, this tailgate that its predecessors did not offer, having to make do with a boot with more accessible than average access. The C5X therefore does not hide its family ambitions under the appearance of a shooting brake with a truly gigantic boot of almost 500 litres, which increases to 1500 litres with the benches folded". C5X advantage for the outdoors.

Interior style

Christian regrets the dark interior of the C5X, while his C6 has a Méteil beige interior. For him, however, "the dashboard is the worthy heir of the big Citroën, with a completely unobstructed view to the front. The 12-inch, high-resolution and sensitive tablet can be consulted at a glance as it is placed above the central console. As for the small size of the digital display, it does not bother me at all because all the information, including the GPS, is projected onto the windscreen, giving the impression of having a 21-inch tablet "floating" in front of the car without taking your eyes off the road. However, he regrets a few elements, in particular the "toggle" for controlling the gearbox, which he does not find intuitive, as he has never used the paddles behind the steering wheel.

In terms of comfort, Christian notes that "the elbow room in the front is more limited than in the C6", but the C5X retains "a huge legroom in the back, which few modern cars offer, while maintaining a wide base".

La famille des grandes Citroën avec la Traction, la CX, la C6 et la Citroën C5 X

On the road

If there is one of Citroën's strong points, it is its comfort, and if there is one regret that many Citroënists share, it is the abandonment of the famous hydraulic suspensions, replaced on the C5 by progressive hydraulic stops, controlled on this hybrid version.

The comparison between the C6 with the hydraulic suspension and the C5X therefore allows us to objectively assess the level of comfort offered by the latest large herringbone saloon? For Christian, "the comfort of the "Advanced Comfort" leather seats is remarkable... leather, yes, but far from the full-skin quality of the C6, which prides itself on being worthy of being called "leather upholstery". Their electric controls are ergonomic, placed on the side (a big advantage over the C6 which has them on the door), they are climate-controlled, heated, ventilated, have an amazing multi-point massage function and lumbar support whose position can be adjusted in depth and from the bottom to the top of the backrest. Unfortunately, none of these features are available on the rear seats, which, unlike the C6, are not even heated. The lack of adjustable central armrests at the front and a large storage compartment worthy of the name is also unacceptable in a car that aims to be a high-end model. The C6 and C5 Aircross have them. As for the carpets, the C5X's, black on black, is of poor quality, very dirty compared to the superb, thick Hilton style, treated with Scotch Guard, very easy to clean and which does not retain the dirt of the C6. Advantage therefore to the C6 for the Pullman finish.

Finally, the crucial moment comes, that of the suspension... "I was convinced that no metal suspension could compete and be as efficient as hydraulics. But now, after the Aircross, which almost convinced me, I am amazed by the piloted version of the C5X and I can only say that Citroën has succeeded. Having several hydraulics, it is easy for me to compare their performances on the same trip. The CX's hydraulics are by far the most flexible and can easily handle all the dangers of the Périgord roads, which put the suspension to the test. But you have to have a good stomach, because this ability to absorb everything unfortunately results in a very smooth, wave-like ride, like a small swell, a well-known effect. Its firmer seats, now better than those of the DS, with rigorous control of these movements by means of firmer stabilisers, already limit this risk. Then the electronic fairy on the C6's hydraulic Amvar completely eradicated this problem of nausea, but at an industrial cost that is now exorbitant. To put it simply, the C5X is as comfortable as the C6, or even more so in certain areas, such as uneven road surfaces or potholes, where the C6 still fails to eliminate the notorious bump due to the brutal damping of the hydraulic return of the cylinders. For those who prefer a firmer ride, the Sport mode turns the car into a German car, but with much more comfortable seats, and if you like the softness of the hydraulics, the Comfort mode restores the boat effect, but be careful, as soon as the road becomes twisty or rough, the variable damping automatically takes over."

In terms of driving, Christian finds that the C5X PHEV is quick to get to grips with and has an ideal driving position. Behind the wheel, the magic happens... "We are in cathedral silence, we drive without any parasitic noise inside or outside, thanks to the laminated glass, the road noise is extremely well filtered (better than the C6). When the thermal engine snorts, it does not disturb this living room on four wheels. It is only when the revs rise that it becomes audible, but not unpleasant, and it is at these moments that I miss the gentle roar of the C6's V6. Gearshifts and shifts to hybrid are imperceptible, except for a sudden deceleration when you feel a slight jolt. The steering is precise and the brakes are easy to control and powerful. I do not understand the comments of the testers who feel a lack of progressiveness in the brake pedal and a steering that is not surgically precise. I have never felt this in 27,000 km" C5X Advantage.

Finally, the engine of the Citroën C5X plug-in hybrid, with 225 hp, has nothing to do with the V6 of the Citroën C6, with 204 hp, but here too the C5X has the advantage of modernity because, according to Christian, "apart from comments about the sound at high revs, there is nothing to complain about". The comparison between the C6's 204 bhp V6 and the C5X's 225 bhp V6 is in favour of the latter. It is much more responsive, its torque is instantaneous and when accelerating the car literally jumps, overtaking becomes an anecdote, especially as it is much lighter and less clumsy than its motorway-designed predecessor. Let's move on to the plug-in hybrid. I don't have to worry about recharging because I live in a detached house. For daily journeys, the 32 to 50 km of autonomy (difference between winter and summer) is more than sufficient, and apart from one or two monthly journeys exceeding this mileage, I am always in electric mode. If I have to drive less than 100 km, I select the hybrid mode from the start and the car adjusts itself to the ideal hybridisation times. For longer distances, you have to tell the GPS where you want to go and the system modulates the hybridisation up to 450 km with an average consumption of 5 l/100 and then it favours the thermal, maintaining a slight hybridisation with a consumption of around 6.5 l/100. My average over 27,000 km is 3.8 litres compared to 7 litres on the motorway and 8 litres on daily journeys with an average of 7.2 litres for the C6 over 230,000 km. There is no photo".

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