While still strong, family estate car popularity has taken a beating over the years - first from the rise of the MPV, and more recently from the explosion in SUV popularity. Volvo, once the go-to firm for wagons, now sells far more high riders than it does big-booted beauties. Meanwhile, some companies have decided not to bother with estate versions of some models at all as their crossovers apparently fill the void.
Perhaps what the humble estate car needs is a bit of a reinvention. Dubbing wagons as ‘Shooting Brakes’, as VW and others have done, is one solution, but Citroen has come up with something else. Its new C5 X seems like an estate at first glance, but look a little closer, and you’ll see it isn’t. Not quite.
Citroen says the car “offers the elegance of a saloon, the versatility of an estate and the commanding presence of an SUV”. Sure enough, it has a slightly higher ride height than the average wagon plus some token plastic body cladding, rather like a Volvo Cross Country or Audi Allroad model. Nothing new there, but at the rear, there’s a sloping, fast-back style profile. We reckon it looks great.
The styling isn’t the only thing the C5 X does differently. We’re used to press releases banging on about torsional rigidity and sporty driving characteristics, but Citroen is unashamedly pitching this thing as a waft-mobile. On that front, it has ‘Citroën Advanced Comfort Active suspension’, which uses hydraulic cushions for a silky-smooth ride.
Where your bum’s parked also plays a big part when it comes to comfort, and Citroen has paid plenty of attention there too. The seats are topped with a “special padding that works like a mattress topper,” and have a thickened foam parts strategically positioned to give the best “dynamic and postural comfort”. We feel relaxed just reading that.
There are plenty of more conventional touches in the cabin, though, like the usual big high-def touchscreen (a 12-inch one in this case), a smattering of USB sockets, a wireless phone charging system and a colour head-up display.
In terms of engines, Citroen isn’t saying much, but we know there isn’t going to be a diesel engine in the line-up. It’s also been confirmed that there will be a 222bhp plug-in hybrid inline-four engine offered, giving an electric-only range of up to 31 miles.
The C5 X go on sale at the tail end of 2021.