How's the hybrid system in the Citroen C5 X?
I remember the first time I drove a hybrid. On ‘old’ TopGear (circa 2000), I made a film about Honda’s original Insight and the early Toyota Prius. The director made me wear some sort of Star Trek outfit. Things have moved on somewhat. My drive down to Le Mans this year was in a Ferrari SF90 Spider, a PHEV whose intergalactic acceleration went mostly under-exploited for fear of the omni-present Gendarmerie, but whose ‘blended’ brake-by-wire and regen capability meant we were able to get from our digs to the track each morning without troubling the 3.9-litre V8. Or even having to plug the car in. (Granted, we weren’t staying that far away, but even so…)
The C5 X obviously sits somewhere else altogether on the dynamic spectrum. It’s very likeable in a number of ways, and would certainly have been more comfortable for the Le Mans trip; the SF90 is many things, but a load carrier it is assuredly not. (Gordon Murray would hate it.) But the Citroen's handover between the ICE and the electrical architecture is a little testy. Things are clunky as you approach a junction, and there’s a perceptible pause as you pull away. The powertrain dithers. The 1.6-litre four-pot is far from sonorous under load, but that doesn’t bother me because no-one in a C5 X is expecting fireworks in that department. The Sport mode is very rarely engaged. I guess it’s about managing expectations, and on a long journey – the sort you might make across France, for example – this thing’s truly in its comfort zone.
Now the weather has finally warmed up, I’m also getting much closer to the claimed 37-mile range on e-power. If you believe the stats, this should be enough for most drivers to do their average daily mileage without stirring the engine at all. It doesn’t take long to charge the 12.4kWh battery (1hr 40mins on a 7kW wallbox), though I don’t always remember to plug the car in at the end of the day. Then it shouts at me for not being socially responsible.