Citroen’s blazing a different path in the mid-sized segment with its latest C5.
Like the smaller C4 due here later this year, the 2021 Citroen C5 X has adopted a body style that’s higher off the ground like a crossover but with more of a liftback silhouette.
Citroen Australia says it’s “working closely with the factory regarding evaluating the new Citroen C5 X for local introduction” so there’s no concrete confirmation or timing as yet.
Citroen says the C5 X, in addition to a higher ground clearance than a typical mid-sizer, offers “large-diameter 720mm wheels fitted with 19-inch tall and narrow tyres on most versions”.
The C5 X measures 4805mm long, 1865mm wide, 1485mm tall and rides on a 2785mm wheelbase.
That makes it 80mm shorter, 25mm wider and 40mm taller than a Toyota Camry on a 40mm shorter wheelbase.
Open the tailgate and there’s 545L of space, expanding to 1640L with the rear seats folded.
Unlike the C4, there’s no all-electric version, but the C5 X will offer a plug-in hybrid in addition to conventional petrol powertrains.
The plug-in hybrid version has a total system output of 167kW and provides an electric range of more than 50km using the WLTP standard.
It can be driven in pure-electric mode at speeds of up to 135km/h.
Those are similar specs to that of the Peugeot 508 Hybrid, which suggests the plug-in C5 X will share its 132kW 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, 80kW electric motor and 11.8kWh lithium-ion battery.
The 508 Hybrid is available only with front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Detailed specifications have yet to be released for the rest of the C5 X’s powertrain range.
Citroen’s hydropneumatic suspension may be gone, but the C5 X uses the company’s latest Advanced Comfort suspension.
While this lacks the trick hydropneumatic spheres of old, it uses progressive “hydraulic cushions”, or two hydraulic stops to separate from the springs and dampers – one stop for compression and the other for rebound.
Plug-in hybrid models go one further with Advanced Comfort active suspension, which electronically adjusts the ride depending on the drive mode you select.
All models come standard with LED headlights, part of Citroen’s new V-shaped front lighting signature that debuted on the new C4.
Inside, there are Citroen’s Advanced Comfort seats which include special padding reminiscent of a mattress topper, plus a layer of thick foam.
Available features also include a sunroof, hands-free power tailgate, and a “large-scale” colour head-up display.
The infotainment system uses a 12.0-inch touchscreen, while there’s also wireless phone charging and four USB-C outlets in the cabin.
Safety and driver assist technology includes highway driving assist, which combines the adaptive cruise control with stop/go and lane-keeping assist, as well as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a surround-view camera.
The Citroen brand has been absent from the mid-size segment locally since the discontinuation of the second-generation C5 back in 2016.
The last C5 was also the last Citroen to use hydropneumatic suspension, which by that point was electronically adjustable.
Citroen didn’t just retire from the mid-size segment in Australia. The C5 ended European production in 2017 leaving Citroen without an offering in the admittedly declining segment, though production continued in China for that market.
The C5 X’s high-riding hatchback styling might be different from past mid-sized Citroens but it’s not without precedent.
Honda sold a high-riding, hatchback version of the Accord called the Crosstour in markets like the US, though the company continued to sell a more conventional sedan alongside it.
Even Citroen itself offered a genre-busting large hatchback, the DS5.
The C5 X may also get some company, as overseas reports have suggested the Ford Mondeo and Opel Insignia (once known here as the ZB Holden Commodore) will be replaced with high-riding hatchbacks or wagons.