The first question was about how we list the new Citroën C5 X under one of the online menus we have. How do we categorise it? Is it an estate, an SUV, a hatchback, a crossover, a large family saloon, a compact executive car or what?
And in answer: yes, yes it is.
Citroën, prolific maker of many small cars, has also made some great big ones in the past, but it's fickle about how often it produces them – mostly, one suspects, because while they’re often cool, they’re also not universally popular.
And the market for big cars from conventional (by which I mean non-premium) brands is shrinking. They call it the D-segment. That which contains the Volkswagen Passat, Vauxhall Insignia, Ford Mondeo and historically a dozen other models from mainstream brands, or “a segment that to all intents and purposes is sad, boring and steadily decreasing,” according to Citroën's engaging CEO, Vincent Cobée.
Nonetheless Citroën is launching a new car into it. It’s a new big car that it hopes is none of the above. It’s a car created with “a willingness and a readiness to be different”.
The C5 X, then (pronounced X, not Cross, although they won’t mind too much either way), is a 4.8-metre-long, 1.8-metre-wide fastback/hatchback/estate (look, whatever) with a raised ride height to give it an crossover/SUV-ish appearance without all of the frontal area of an actual SUV. The looks without the inefficiency.
It sits on the platform that gives us so many Citroëns and Peugeot models (the windscreen is even the same as on the latest Peugeot 308), meaning it has a steel monocoque, front-wheel drive and pure petrol and plug-in hybrid powertrain options. “We could do a four-wheel drive one, but we won’t,” says Cobée.