French-branded, China-built car is expected to arrived in Singapore in early 2023
After a prolonged absence in the large car segment here, Citroen is set to return in 2023 with the new C5 X, a car that the brand says is part sedan, part station wagon, and also part SUV. How it achieves such a complex combo is up to how designers and marketers sell it, but we’ll find out more when the car officially debuts at the Shanghai auto show on 19th April 2021.
What we do know for now is that it will be built in a Stellantis-Dongfeng joint venture plant in Chengdu, and there will be gasoline and plug-in hybrid versions. Exact drivetrain details have not yet been revealed, though this is expected to be known in a week’s time. What we do know however, is that the plug-in hybrid version will have a total of 225 hp, with at least 50km of electric-only range.
It will go on sale in China and Europe at the tail end of 2021 first, then progressively rolled out to the rest of the world including Singapore.
The range-topper will be badged the C5 X, and has a big weight on its shoulders as is part of the brand’s strategy to help end six years of declining sales in China, the largest automotive market in Asia.
The Citroen C5 X is built on the same PSA EMP2 platform as the Peugeot 508 sedan, which is actually due to arrive in Singapore sometime this year.
The C5 X’s main styling highlights include a long, sloping rear roof line giving it a coupe/crossover-like profile. Other SUV-inspired elements include black plastic wheel arches plus bumpers that have the lower surfaces styled to mimic skid plates. 19-inch wheels appear to be the standard fitment for the C5 X at this time.
Interior features include a 12-inch, horizontally oriented main touchscreen, a new infotainment interface, and the newest version of Citroen’s active suspension. Plug-in hybrid versions of the C5 X will have three discrete suspension setting modes.
The claim is that it’s really a car designed for drivers that want a high seating position, carry loads of gear, but don’t want a SUV-specific type of design. Citroen’s CEO Vincent Cobee has stated that the C5 X should appeal to buyers of medium to large sedans and station wagons, as well as compact SUVs.
We think it’s really just another way of branding the crossover SUV and putting it in a new light. While the Citroen C5 Aircross SUV is the top range model for Singapore at the moment, this could change with the eventual arrival of the new C5 X, depending on the engine variants that will be sold here.
Here’s a really fast and expensive wagon
Citroen has not really been a big seller in Asia recently, and relies heavily on sales in Europe, where its sales fell 28 percent in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The brand has announced that it is serious about a more international push to be less reliant on European sales in the coming years. Currently, the international market accounts for only about 15 percent of all Citroen sales. The brand is looking to increase this to 30 percent by 2025 with new cars that are more suited to a worldwide audience, and we expect China, where many European manufacturers fight for a large piece of the pie, to play a major role once again.