Creative Dissonance

Citroen reveals its big idea.

2021 Citroen C5 X. (c)

It ought to be obvious really; that incredibly fertile period of Citroën design overseen by the recently departed Robert Opron and presided over by CEO, Pierre Bercot was merely a blip; a marvellously inventive, optimistic and futuristic one, but a blip nonetheless. One where high speed travel in supreme comfort was to be made available to the broadest possible audience. Lamentably, we live in rather different times now.

Automobiles Citroën has been living in vastly different (and decidedly interesting) times for close to a half-century now; one punctuated by brief periods of creativity, only to be suffocated amid sojourns in the arid landscapes of profound banality.

The bookend of that most recent creative drought was heralded by the emergence of the C4 Cactus model of 2014, perhaps the first product bearing the double chevron in generations to viscerally appeal to the kind of customer who mourned the loss of the innovative and intelligently conceived Citroën’s of yore. The Cactus heralded a fresh direction for brand-Citroën – softer, more playful.[1]

That it proved a good deal less than the sum of its parts was an unfortunate consequence of money and management, but nonetheless, the cars which followed it did bear some of its ethos, albeit in seemingly ever-decreasing circles. Little by little however, the reimagined Citroën design template became clearer. An emphasis on visual trompe l’oeil; one is intended both to see and yet not see, and certainly there has been little shortage of visuals to be deciphered in Vélizy’s latterday confections.

Busy has been the adjective which sprung most obviously to mind – unnecessary being another. But for brand-Citroën, achieving a form of visual dissonance was considered a requirement, given the commercial and reputational mountain they have needed to climb.

Last year’s C4 debutant was the most eloquent pointer to where stylistically speaking, the double chevron seemed headed. However, this week’s announcement of the latest C5 X lays a further, more substantial, and perhaps definitive layer to the current Vélizy gateau.

The C5 X is Citroën’s latest and long-awaited D-segment offering; its first since the demise of the previous generation C5 saloon, a car which had its adherents, but left a great many Citrophiles decidedly unmoved, to say nothing of the average car buyer it was so clearly targeted towards. Perhaps the latter’s only durable claim to history being the fact that versions were the last Citroën-branded cars to be fitted with the final vestiges of hydropneumatics – a once noble system decontented to unviability before being consigned to the waste paper basket of history.[2]

Citroën’s PR function cites the 2016 C-Xperience concept as the C5 X’s visual inspiration, but also takes pains to mention the recently ennobled CX as its creative forebear – which to be frank is difficult to discern, even after a good hard stare.[3] In another trompe l’oeil attempt, Citroën would have you to mentally connect the C to the X here, a disingenuous and somewhat cynical act to these eyes, but that’s marketing for you. What nobody seems to have recalled is the 2012 Numero 9 DS concept, from which the production C5 X appears to have imbibed rather more heavily from.

Citroen DS Numero 9 concept from 2012. (c)

Stellantis’ more playful French outpost would also be rather pleased for you to view the C5 X as an entirely new concept in the D-sector, when of course it really is nothing of the sort.[4] Nevertheless, as an early attempt at a metaphorical post-saloon, one can at least acknowledge the effort, and gratefully appreciate the fact that it isn’t simply another by the numbers crossover CUV.

While it shares an over-familiar rhapsody of over-worked surfaces, inlets and indents, the fact that these are smeared over a larger canvas somewhat aids the C5 X’s case – one perhaps lacking in its more compacted siblings. Utilising a longer wheelbase version of the shared Stellantis (former PSA) platform which underpins the Peugeot 508 also helps; the Citroën majoring on cabin space, even if it isn’t quite as spacious in the rear compartment (some 7cm short) as the Chinese-Market 508L.

Nevertheless, there is now a coherence to Citroën’s visual offer – one rooted in incoherence, one might be moved to venture, although I’m fairly certain Citroën’s designers would argue quite forcefully to the contrary.

Citroën’s current design chief is relatively new to the role – Pierre Leclercq’s immediate predecessor, the well-regarded Alexandre Malval having left to join Mercedes Benz in November 2018. This means that both production C4 and the latest C5 X were largely complete upon Leclercq’s arrival, and probably don’t necessarily reflect his creative vision for the brand – insofar as we can discern at least.

Leclercq’s CV is a somewhat chequered one; having recently departed KIA Motors for the Vélizy gig and prior to that had spent a number of years in China at Great Wall Motors. Earlier still, he served under Chris Bangle at BMW; his Vierzylinder palmarés including the second-generation X5 and the execrable X6. He now reports to Jean-Pierre Ploué, who currently oversees the entire Stellantis design portfolio.

2021 Citroen C5 X. (c)

Clearly, on a more macro level, the massive personnel changes that have taken place across the Stellantis empire are likely to precipitate further creative upheaval over the coming years, but given the timelines, conceptual toe in the water exercises notwithstanding, we are unlikely to see much of Leclercq’s hand at Citroën for some time yet.

A new styling director is usually an opportunity for a carmaker to rethink its creative offer. For Leclercq, it represents a chance to underpin something both necessary and important. Citroën’s press release makes much of the C5 X’s warmth, tranquillity and serenity, as espoused by its “Citroën Advanced Comfort active suspension system” [no joke, they actually said that], and extra bouncy seats. Fine and dandy, but it might behove both double chevron and you, the potential consumer to be presented with something a mite calmer looking in the coming years.

After all, creative dissonance only gets you so far.

[1] Don’t mention the F-word.
[2] May those responsible be forever haunted by the ghost of Andre Lefebvre and Paul Magés.
[3] While any resemblance to the CX is frankly for the birds, the author of the design review published on the excellent (and highly recommended) Lignes-Auto suggests there is more than a note of XM to the rear quarter light treatment.
[4] Both AMC and Subaru (amongst others) have mined this particular seam in the distant past and a number of rival carmakers now appear bent on promoting it as the new frontier for the saloon format.

I also highly recommend this fine dissection of the C5 X design on Design Field Trip.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

38 thoughts on “Creative Dissonance”

  1. Isn’t Citroen’s major problem that we’re all Citroen drivers now? Front wheel drive, all independent suspension, streamlined forms, the less diplomatic might also add slightly intrusive safety aids and “Challenging looks”. PSA’s ownership gave Citroen an unwelcome chance to stand still whilst the rest of the world caught up, so now under a parent that doesn’t champion innovation Citroen’s only way of creating difference is tacked on visual eccentricity.

    PSA spotted early on in it’s tenure that despite all the DS’s and CX’s, Citroen was THE purveyor of Europe’s most uncompromising budget car and the 2CV variants made for a range who’s median point was much cheaper than Peugeot’s own. Aside from a brief stint where Talbot wore the budget crown Peugeot has always made sure that Citroen is the cheap one in the stable- not do much by rock bottom list prices and a clearly telegraphed lack of bells and whistles a la Dacia, but in Britain at least by constant discounts. This shouldn’t have any bearing on the C5X or whatever it’s called but really it does as “Stellantis”suddenly has many children and it’s a good time to re-appraise what Citroen means; will itbe Citroen or Fiat that’s the “Cheap one” (Or Opel), will it be Citroen or a rebooted Lancia that does the innovative engineering “Thing”?

    1. That portfolio is as unwieldy as BMC and Leyland´s. GM pruned its own stable down. Some of these brands only make sense as indepdendent names. Now that Opel is part of the group it doesn´t have a raison d´être at all, sad to say. When Opel was a different company from Peugeot it made cars and could not avoid making cars that had their own identity. Citroen and Lancia should not be in the same stable; Peugeot and Opel should not either. And Fiat? In the next few years a lot of plastic logos will be unscrewed from dealership masts.

    2. Hello Richard. “Isn’t Citroen’s major problem that we’re all Citroen drivers now? Front wheel drive…” I’m pleased to say that I am not. Mercedes W204 C250cgi here. 10 years old, rear wheel drive and still looks good to me thanks!

    3. What Richard might have been trying to say was that most of the market caught up. As I said in my very excellent Astra review some years back,

      Credit Where It’s Due

      the mainstream hatch is as refined and comfy as a GS was in 1971 using entirely conventional suspension. The same applies to the Auris, Golf and Focus.
      It´s a pity steering never caught up though.
      Part of me likes the idea of rear wheel drive and part of me says at today´s driving speeds, it is a complete irrelevance. The Lancia Beta and Rover 75 showed how good front wheel drive could be. Audi shows you can make a a FWD look as good as a RWD car too!

    4. OK, here goes. Citroen is a cheap Peugeot. DS is a posh cheap Peugeot. Opel is a Peugeot for someone who doesn’t like French cars ( and Vauxhall for Brits who don’t like French cars). Alfa will be a sporty Peugeot, Lancia a posh Peugeot. Fiat a small retro Peugeot and Chrysler a brash American Peugeot.
      There is no room in Stellantis for “innovative engineering”.

  2. The car here has the same condition is many other contemporary designs. There is not one clear conceit executed consistently. A VW Up is more interesting than the C5X which is not faint praise. I think the rigour and subtlety of the Up makes it absorbing to gaze at. The C5X is a mass of small and medium scale shapes without an underlying anchor. It is different from other cars like a pebble in a shoal of shingle, different but not very different. Citroen have misunderstood what made the SM, GS,CX, BX and XM stand out. It wasn´t that they were wierd or busy but that they were well thought through and clearly expressed ideas.

    1. Thank you Richard.

      This is a concise summary of what exactly is wrong with this design. A huge amount of visual noise, but curiously unmemorable. Now that I’ve scrolled down to type this comment, I can no longer remember what the C5X looks like, but if pressed to describe it would use the word ‘jarring’.

    2. Thanks. Is it even jarring, is it? It´s like a mess of spilled oxtail soup on the floor. By that I mean there might be a lot of information as in details yet it captures nothing fundamental. For a succesful pair of noisy designs look at the C-HR from Toyota and the much-Juke. Or dial it down and consider the Nissan Micra. That´s lively but structured.
      This car is could have been launched at the same time as the DS5 – is there any sense of this being a 2021 design? Or put another way, what is here that could not have been shown in 2016 or 2014?

  3. Good morning Eóin. A good assessment, thank you. When I first saw the C5X, I thought it was a refreshingly calm design, but the muddy brown colour (an odd choice as the only colour for the launch photos, don’t you think?) hides quite a lot of noise. The more I look at it, the fussier it becomes:

    The front end is the usual melange of vents, scoops and lights, applied in scattergun fashion and bearing little or no relationship to each other. The side profile is disfigured by those odd ‘neither round nor square’ creases around the wheelarches that featured previously on the 2007 Peugeot 308. That bit of decorative tinsel bridging the front wing to door shut-line beneath the door mirror is used by almost everybody these days and is now just a lazy design cliché. The rear isn’t too bad, apart from the inevitable ‘diffuser’ with its rhomboid shaped fake exhausts.

    It’s all a very far cry from the confident simplicity of Citroën’s best designs.

    Incidentally, am I alone in thinking that the 2007 Citroën C5 really was a rather handsome design, even if it was patently not a Citroën?

    1. The front seems to be two themes on the one front clip. There´s a dog bone mass of shapes from headlamp to headlamp. Under that the lower air intake has its own theme: three things that are jammed up into the upper set of shapes. The front needs two upper lamps, two lower lamps and an air intake. The car as it is seems to have too many things to count – the figure/ground relation is confusing.

    2. I agree the 2007 C5 was a handsome thing, just not very Citroën.

    3. Hi Richard. The C5’s interior did come with a lighter colour option:

      That centre console is a real button-fest!

    4. Hello Daniel. No, you’re not alone. I always liked the 2007 C5.

    5. Is the license plate displaced to the left on the second picture of the C5-X? I agree about the 2007 C5, when it came out I thought it looked much better than the Peugeot 508 that was launched almost simultanously. By the way, that interior looks really nice, button fest notwithstanding, which actually was still a thing back in the 00s.

    6. Hi Cesar. Regarding the rear licence plate, I don’t think that it’s displaced to the left. Instead, it’s an optical illusion caused by it being more deeply inset than is immediately apparent.

    7. I’ll second liking the 2007 C5. I imagine I thought it was boring and Audi-like at the time. It looks good in Tourer form, too, and rather shows up the C5X. Actually, looking at the two, I know crash regs, blah, etc, but does the C5X really have to have such a tall front and sides?

    8. A tall bonnet isn’t strictly necessary or even safer if it results in a pedestrian being forced to the pavement and under a moving vehicle. There is another way, of course.

  4. Here´s the portfolio again: Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, DS, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Mopar, Opel, Peugeot, Ram, Vauxhall.

    They can get rid of Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Fiat Professional, Mopar,DS; Opel/Vauxhall and Lancia. Ram should be merged with Dodge or Dodge closed. That leaves cheap and cheerful Fiat, Dodge trucks, Jeep, Peugeot and Maserati. I could see either Citroen being excused as a pureyor of low middle price styling excercises. Lancia would compete with Peugeot so it can´t stay.

    1. Richard,

      Fiat Professional was FCA’s European cash cow and hence subject of the EU antitrust commission’s inquiry into the FCA/PSA merger (the passenger car businesses, on the other hand, were allowed to merge without review). As we all know, Lancia plays a significant role in the Italian market, where products like the 500/L/X have failed at replacing Lancia’s line-up.

      Rumour has it that Seat/Dacia’s Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos is heaving for Alfa’s top design job, whereas Renault’s Francois Leboine is allegedly destined to head Lancia’s design department (which hasn’t been in existence as such for years). If that proves to be true, neither brand is going to be shut down.

    2. “Rumour has it that Seat/Dacia’s Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos is heaving for Alfa’s top design job, whereas Renault’s Francois Leboine is allegedly destined to head Lancia’s design department (which hasn’t been in existence as such for years). If that proves to be true, neither brand is going to be shut down.” Such insights make the difference between guessing (me) and educated commentary. I am glad Lancia will get a design director – who would take a job like that if it did not have some challenges involved. As for Alfa Romeo, I am beyond indifference now. For more than half of my time on this blighted earth I have been reading of AR renaissances. The nice and affordable cars people ought to have lapped up (the 147 and 156) were not huge successes. Is it me but the current Giulia seems a bit frightening a la Maserati? I imagined I could handle a 157 as easily as a Mondeo or 406. The Giulia is a bit intimidating. It makes a BMW 3-series seem very half hearted. And wasn´t that the idea, I guess.

    3. People actually did lap up the 156, at least during the first few months of its market presence. In 1998 Alfa sold more 156s in Germany alone than they now sell Giulias world wide. Alfa even managed to get the 156 on the offering lists of the large lease companies like LeasePlan or ALD. In car parks of companies like Accenture or PwC there were an astonishing number of 156s between the usual German cars. Sales collapsed when fleet managers of those customers cancelled their lease contracts because they were fed up with the non-service of Alfa dealers. And that’s a deadly mistake you only make once and that’s the main reason the Giulia doesn’t sell. Fleet managers and lease companies wouldn’t touch an Alfa with a barge pole because the last thing they need is all the hassle with the dealers. And that’s a problem that won’t be fixed under Stellantis because if there’s something PSA dealers are not known to provide then it’s proper service at the level comparable to the providers of the ubiquitous company car.

    4. No Dodge. No Chrysler? A Peugeot Hellcat or Redeye instead then…..

    5. Hellcats, demons, giant serpents consuming small children… I think we should enjoy them while we still can.

  5. Let’s look at the positives; as Eóin states, the C5 X’s extra length over the C4 means that this ‘look’ works better than the latter, lower denominated C car (which is, frankly, dreadful). It’s also an quirky/ odd looking thing, which many commentators state is a Citroën trait – and indeed that pleases me more than the banality which was being pedaled with the C4 Mk2 of 2010.

    A very good spot from Eóin about the earlier Numero 9 concept by DS clearly being an inspiration for this C5 X – a pity that it isn’t even closer to it. The Cxperience clearly presaged certain features and details, and, again that car is a lot more appealing than the schizophrenic styling of the production car, mainly because no one decided that it had to receive the Rover 200/ 25 Streetwise treatment, something which one imagines was imposed in the midst of the production car’s development.

    I can’t see it selling well in the UK, nor the C4 (I am yet to have the pleasure of seeing one of those, even though we have a dealership nearby). I just think we Brits tend to like cars to fit into readily definable categories, and don’t get on with cars which try to be things they are not (stylistically, at least). The fact that Citroën seems to be making a hoo-hah about the C5 X being three cars in one would therefore be about two too many. The casual observing Brit is likely to think it’s a odd-looking/ ugly long/ big hatch which sits too high on the road and move on.

    The current Peugeot range is much more coherent and more appealing, although that could change now that Linda has been placed in charge.

    1. I´m obviously not that good at parsing the market. The last C4 didn´t offend me for what it was; more for what it wasn´t. Other than there being no clearly appealing USP, there was nothing wrong with inside or out. Most disinterested drivers would not notice the diferrence between the Astra, Focus, Auris or Megane on the one side and the C4 on the other. It was “just a car” and for some people a good price and a dealer nearby is enough to make them sign up. The one thing it wasn´t was at all wierd or “left field” as Tim Polllard at Car called (as left field as a glass of tap water served in a glass on your left, perhaps).

  6. I’m not ready to say that I dislike the C5X, despite it being fussy and over styled, with no identifiable design theme. At least it’s less busy and jarring than the C4 so there’s hope. Also, some cars don’t photograph well, and the C5-X could be one of them. I’ll hold judgement on it until I see it in person, as I really want to like the big Citroën. The proportions and relationship between the volumes seem to work, so let’s see what happens when I finally get to see one in the metal, and in a different colour please!

  7. Interesting piece, excellent analysis from all involved. However…

    After deeper analysis, I am warming greatly to this largest of current Citroën’s. I believe Citroën has managed to offer a piece of France, a Citroën containing some celebrated avantgarde qualities. First off, the looks – obviously there are styling cues, I can see some Panamera at the back and a little Mondeo to the sides but overall the car stands particularly well. Is there anything at all on sale like the new C5X? Or following it?

    The front and rear three quarter views sit best to these eyes and whilst the press shots naturally imbue professionalism, I’d like to see the car for real. And in other colours; there has to be one “out-there” hue that will upset most but make my inner Frenchman giggle with delight. A cyan or lemon yellow, maybe? Stuffy ole Blighty will probably just do with grey, silver and black so a European only offering in lime green would brighten an autoroute or village journey.

    This says a lot for the amount of time I’ve given to this one motor. Most new cars seem to be a re-hash of the old and maybe glanced at but little else. I want to spend time configuring one. This Citroën flagship I do hope will rejuvenate some love for the brand – but can they really take the fight to ze Germans? Who knows if even Citroën fans will snap ‘em up – it’ll naturally all be down to how much the monthly cost comes in at. And not the styling or the HUD, or clever packaging or the sheer size of the bugger.

    And I don’t think this is an aggressive looker, either. The look is advantageous, welcoming, pleasingly different in a good way.

    In a nut shell I hear the counter arguments, understand and appreciate them.

    But I like it. I expect to be in the minority.

  8. It doesn’t raise any emotion in me whatsoever. It looks heavy and lacks the elegance which a large Citroën should have.

    Having read all the blurb by the designers in Lignes/Auto, it appears that Citroën wants us to think of it as being reminiscent of the Porsche Taycan in that it has rounded sides and haunches. There was also a lot of blaming of customer clinics for its compromised design, which I think is a cop-out.

    It’s quite old-fashioned, in many ways – a couple of petrol engines and a plug-in hybrid are available – no fully electric versions. Colours are black, some silvery-dung metallics and a blue.

    On the positive side, I guess it’ll be pleasant to ride in and be good value.

    I can’t imagine that I’ll ever see one in real life, and there is an increasing number of cars I can say that about. We really do need local motor shows, or something like them, back again, so we can experience new cars properly. I’ve got a horrible feeling that models will soon come and go without my being aware of them, which is depressing for someone interested in cars.

    1. I notice that too. There are vehicles on the market I barely see. I see 508s now and again. Some BMWs are only on websites. Some of this comes from living in Jutland, of course. Some of it is down to the market for also-rans being very tiny these days.

  9. Thank you Eóin for this very diplomatic contribution.

    I am probably lucky enough not to be forced to buy a new car in this lifetime.
    So it won’t be a Citroen C5 X either. (Well, the “X” is probably the necessary marketing hint that this vehicle is a “crossover”. So nothing half and nothing whole, or as they say here in Germania „not Fish, not Meat”).

    To me, it all looks very much like today’s usual we-also-have-the-same design.
    Realy great is the hint on Lignes-Auto that there would be some Porsche in the side panel to the windows. Haha, which one? The ugly one? Or the completely overgreased 911? To attribute any modern design elements from Porsche to a Citroen is not praise, but rather a slur.

    The surfaces of the sides live from the fact that there was a lot of length available and that they avoided the Inglostadt crease festival.
    There’s no need to say a word about the rear, it’s pathetic opulence.
    At the front, they obviously had the luxury of several designers – at least two of whom were also allowed to contribute their version DRL. Unfortunately, in the course of the 3D modelling, the internal communication system failed. The result is the scientific proof of “many cooks spoil the broth”. And it is a terrible mash of wrinkles, fake holes and highlighting. More-is-more. Toyota-meets-AMG.

    Well, some of what has been said will be reconsidered when the first vehicles are seen in real colour. But I suspect it won’t be getting any better in colour.

    I know that no monument has ever been erected for a critic and I don’t have to buy this vehicle.
    But I do have to look at it in daily traffic.
    What a coincidence. Today I saw a Citroen LN on the road coming towards me, probably the only survivor in northern Germany. Even the best-wife-of-all turned her head (“What was that?”) Well, I know, for Citroen aficionados the LN is a no-go.
    But if the wife ever turns her head over a C5 X, I promise I’ll report on it here in my first article on DTW.

  10. An outstanding article, brilliantly written. Grasping the essence
    of the brand’s styling strategic navigation.

    Its subject, however, does not seem to be so well received around
    these chambers.

    First thing that strikes me about the C-cinq-X (doesn’t it sound like
    C-sans-X, to an extent?) is its author(s) electing to use LvDA’s approach
    launched on the Espace – using huge, apparently 22″ wheels (ugly ones,
    as on 99% of today’s cars – one can try photo-shopping the car with
    full, solid alloys for an eye-opening effect…). The aim being to gain almost
    a proper-SUV ground clearance, whilst retaining a relatively low,
    streamlined bodywork. A basic visual set-up that almost screams
    a loud disregard for any significant ‘visual suspension travel’ whatsoever,
    rendering questionable whether anyone can view it as a SUV at all.

    Divorcing the notion of visual suspension travel from a Cit-branded
    product is, in itself, enough to pause and think. This is not just any
    Citroen launch. Especially when boasting with phrases ‘…adv.comfort active suspension’ etc…

    Second thing that’s striking is, that, on a ~4.99 m length car with a ‘virtual C-pillar’, they somehow managed to succeed in delivering “an angle for everyone”. In today’s market reality, I refuse to take this as a coincidence.
    It is apparently deliberate that the C-cinq-X’s frontal 3/4 look is set to arouse the predominant target group today – the visually confused / oxygen-starved individual (especially its headlight/front end, that manages to pull off making a C-HR or a Juke look coherent, especially as evidenced by the photo Daniel O’Callaghan kindly attached above, one of the car’s not so happy viewing angles).

    At the same time, the profile, and the semi-bird views of the car, seem to appeal to those of us (myself included) that would find eg. a Talisman SW appealing – with a relatively pronounced shoulder right beneath the beltline, and a sub 2.00 door-height / DLO-height ratio (1.96 on avg., to be exact, achieved partly using the black plastic ‘Allroad’ style sill-cladding, without which the car would appear almost coupe-like in the above mentioned parameter, and partly by the carefully disguised beltline rake).

    Achieving a play-it-safe visual concoction, by thus adhering to the apparently
    brief-imposed “anyone will find an angle they like” leitmotif, makes me almost certain that the car will find its fair share of adopters. The opulently dimensioned, while visually restrained interior / dash styling, seems
    to add thereto.

    Electing to use the dullest possible colour at launch, hints at their apparent self-confidence that its showroom- and street- presence will prevail as
    an unexpected acceptance / Wow-factor. The ingredients for such an
    in-the-flesh surprise are, in theory, there:

    – ~5 m length over an almost ‘shooting-brake’ vertical proportioning
    -LvDA’s zero-susp-travel ‘Espace trick’
    -visually deleted C-pillar.
    -pronounced shoulders/wheelarch flares, nicely filled with 22″ wheels,
    to counteract the slightly extreme length/body height geometry.

    While being seriously reserved about its intrinsic stylistic qualities, I’m
    afraid the car is just a set of differently-styled wheels away from making
    a prominent street presence – which is what apparently sells cars nowadays.
    Pure aesthetic values seem to be overthrown by the majority of target groups anyway, yet Stellantis seem to have preserved a few viewing angles for the ‘minority groups’ to behold as well.

    A commendable effort, as an overall well-thought product design.

  11. Daniel,

    that C5’s light-coloured HVAC / Audio panel reminded me strongly, and unexpectedly, of the Nokia’s Communicator- series visual language
    (which I find superior when it comes to button design in general).

    It looks so very different in a light colour. Amazing.

  12. I think you’re right on many points, Alex. Re the large wheels, in addition to the reasons you mention, I think they have to be pretty large due to the car’s tall sides.

    The ‘Allroad’ look appears to be the latest thing, and it looks like the next Ford Mondeo will have a similar appearance. I wonder if it’s an attempt to improve fuel economy figures – by effectively squashing SUVs.

    Looking for a longer video review, I watched PlaneteGT’s take on the C5X. The film shows that Citroën has put a lot of effort in to the car, especially in its detailing.

    They briefly mess around with the car’s length and height in the video, to illustrate its proportions in relation to its sister vehicles, which is quite fun to see.

    The video illustrates how high the doors are – the window ledge appears to be around neck level. The dashboard also struck me as being quite shallow, which means the windscreen must be relatively tall or upright. I’m not sure about how that works.

    Here’s the video; it’s in French, but it’s not hard to get the gist of what the presenter is saying.

    1. Charles,
      thank you for this link – apparently it points out, too, that the car is with rather unusual proportions.

      The design of the ‘C5X’ logo itself (the letter ‘X’ being composed of two explicitely opposed chevrons), is also intriguing in a way.

      The sleek, delkcate ‘rhyming’ between the roofline and beltline (pasted almost directly from the DS Num.9 concept)
      seems to play
      a crucial role in visually taming its gargantuan footprint (which they undeniably succeeded at).

    1. Indeed, it is a nicely measured spoiler, giving the hatch glass a (distant, mind)
      air of the CX’s. The only thing I dislike in the rear view are the somewhat over-pronounced light clusters. They ruin an otherwise well resolved
      set of curvatures/radii.

  13. Looking back over the last 60+ years Citroen’s brand values have been distinctive styling and supreme comfort. They have squandered these values and (in the UK at least) descended into discount driven mediocrity. Pretty much every mainstream car these days delivers poor ride quality compared to what was on offer 30+ years ago so Citroen really should deliver something special in this area.

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