The brand's latest model, the C5 X, aims to break the mould for what we expect of a large car, combining coupe styling with estate car practicality, plus the ever-fashionable raised driving position. Is it the ideal choice for families, or is it a contrived compromise?
Our full review of the Citroen C5 X - complete with the car's overall score plus scores for safety, reliability and more - will be available once all our lab and road tests are complete.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the traditional large family hatchback or estate was consigned to the history books, given the way manufacturers have ditched them in favour or SUVs of all shapes and sizes.
Citroen - which has a long and rich history in the large car market - thinks there's life in it yet and its latest model, the C5 X, aims to have broad appeal by offering something for everyone.
So this large hatchback has coupe styling, the luggage capacity of an estate car and the fashionable raised ride height that's so in vogue with family car buyers.
Despite the useful added ground clearance, four-wheel drive isn't currently available, with all models driving the front wheels only through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
There's a choice of two petrol engines: a 130hp 1.2-litre three-cylinder, badged PureTech 130, and a 180hp 1.6-litre four-cylinder called PureTech 180.
There's no diesel option, but the C5 X is also offered with the same plug-in hybrid system as offered in other models in the Stellantis model group, including the. It adds a battery pack and electric motor to the 1.6-litre petrol engine for a combined output of 225hp and the ability to travel on electricity alone for up to 31 miles (claimed).
Three trim levels are offered: Sense Plus, Shine and Shine Plus. Entry-level models get all-round parking sensors and reversing camera, seven-inch digital instrument cluster, 10-inch central touchscreen, sat nav, Bluetooth streaming, smartphone mirroring and an eight-speaker audio system.
Depending on trim level, a number of different interior 'ambiences' are available, with unique colour and trim combinations to alter the feel of the cabin.
Exemplary passenger comfort has long been a Citroen strong point, and the C5 X exhibits this to impressive effect.
Potholes and speedbumps you'd expect to send a thump through the cabin are shrugged off as though they're hardly there.
Unlike many manufacturers, which claim to offer a sporty driving experience, Citroen eschews this approach, focussing entirely on comfort and ease of use.
This is evident right from the off - the steering, in particular, is feather light, making the C5 X effortless to manoeuvre at low speeds. It does gain weight for greater precision at higher speeds, but never requires any effort at all. It can feel numb in the hands, but is at least accurate, making it easy to place the car on the road.
Stiffen the adaptive dampers via the touchscreen display and there's a noticeable improvement in body control, without much compromise in the C5 X's pillowy ride.
The plug-in hybrid system shuffles between electricity and petrol power smoothly, and only when rapid acceleration is called for does it become slightly jerky, with a flurry of noise from the 1.6-litre engine. In more normal use, it makes for relaxed progress and isn't short on accelerative performance.
The 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine we also drove is a somewhat different proposition. Despite having to power such a large car, it acquits itself well, and only begins to struggle when accelerating at higher speeds, such as on the motorway or when overtaking slower traffic. There is some engine noise that makes its way into the cabin in such situations, but on the whole, the interior is very well isolated from engine noise and tyre roar.
Inside, the large central touchscreen is responsive and has a more intuitive menu layout than we've seen in alternative systems. Sensibly, Citroen has left physical buttons and switches for the climate control system, reducing the potential for driver distraction on the move.
Visibility from the driver's seat is generally good, thick window pillars, both front and rear do obscure the view out from some angles. All-round parking sensors and a rear-view camera are fitted as standard across the range.
Having only just been launched, the C5 X is currently too new for us to be able to accurately assess its new-model reliability. However, you can view Citroen's reliability as a brand in our guide to .
The C5 X's mildly raised ride height bring the seats up to a very convenient position for getting in and out easily. The door sills are on the wide side, but aren't large enough to be obtrusive.
There's plenty of space up front for even the tallest of drivers to get comfortable, and enough in the back to comfortably seat passengers over 6ft tall. The front seats can be set low, making the C5 X feel more like a conventional large saloon rather than a towering SUV from behind the wheel.
The front seats are very comfortable, with ample padding to provide decent support and comfort over long journeys. They also provide sufficient lateral support, so you won't find yourself falling out of them in tight corners.
The rear cabin is also comfy and spacious. Very tall passengers may find that headroom is somewhat pinched (our test model came with a panoramic sunroof that eats into headroom slightly), but overall there's plenty of lounging space for two and sufficient room for three to travel on the rear bench.
Citroen claims there's 485 litres of boot space in the PHEV model, rising to a maximum of 1,580 litres with the rear seats folded down (545/1,640 litres in petrol models), which creates a small step in the boot floor. It's certainly a very big and deep load space, though, with a large hatch opening, minimal load lip and useful storage cubbies to the side.
We'll be able to give a more accurate assessment of just how economical the C5 X is when we get it into our lab. By Citroen's own figures, however (which are calculated under the official WLTP standard), it's the PHEV that is, on paper, the most economical and will manage an impressive average of between 186.2-236.2mpg.
However, as with other PHEV models, this consumption figures are influenced by the car's ability to drive for limited periods on electricity alone. Unless you can regularly keep the battery topped up and drive emissions-free as much as possible, you're likely to struggle to achieve that in the real world.
Of the conventional petrol engines, the smaller 1.2-litre PureTech 130 is more efficient than the 1.6-litre PureTech 180, although not by a huge margin, with the latter managing 38.3-43.9mpg average fuel consumption and the former managing 41.4-48.6mpg.
At the time of writing, the C5 X is yet to be crash tested by Euro NCAP. However, it comes with a decent tally of standard driver assistance and active safety kit, which is fitted as standard.
All models get camera controlled AEB (autonomous emergency braking), a forward collision warning, lane-keep assist driver attention alert and cruise control with a speed limiter function.
Additional safety equipment is offered on mid and high-range trim levels only, unless you specify a PHEV version, in which case it's included in the base specification. This includes enhanced AEB (using radar to detect pedestrians and cyclists, even at night), adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go (meaning it can automatically bring you to a halt and set off again in heavy traffic), active lane positioning assist and rear cross traffic alert, which warns the driver of approaching cars when reversing.
Adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go is also available as an option on base trim petrol models.
While it's fine for everyday use, particularly around town, the smallest petrol option, the Puretech 130 needs to be worked hard and can feel strained on steeper inclines or when accelerating at motorway speeds.
Citroen's latest take on the large family car delivers a serene driving experience, plenty of space and is available with a generous amount of active safety technology as standard. It covers all the bases well, but it's the sublime ride comfort and hushed cabin that makes it stand out.
Price from: £26,970
Superb ride comfort
Serene and spacious interior
Comprehensive active safety tech
Petrol engine can feel strained
Restricted rear visibility
Sometimes jerky automatic gearbox
Which? first drive verdict: Refreshing take on the family car formula
Remember, this first drive review is based on our initial impressions of the Citroen C5 X. We'll post our full verdict once the car has been through our rigorous lab and road tests.