Citroen C5 X review

Citroen C5 X

We road test the distinctive new Citroen C5 X – a big car with an identity crisis?

The all-new C5 X marks Citroen’s return to the ‘D-segment’ – automotive industry speak for the size of vehicle next up from the ‘C-segment’ (eg VW Golf, Ford Focus).

An intriguing mix of hatchback, estate and SUV, its competitors include everything from the Volkswagen Arteon and Peugeot 508 fastbacks, to the Skoda Superb estate and even the Kia Sportage crossover.

The C5 X is a car that dares to be different, and for that alone, Citroen deserves praise.

Citroen C5 X

Around the same size as a Volkswagen Passat, the C5 X initially has the look of a sleek hatchback. Study it closer and there’s an estate-like rear overhang, while the raised ride height hints at a crossover.

The result is unmistakably a Citroen. A handsome, aerodynamic car with an impressively low drag coefficient of just 0.29.

Citroen even claims the newcomer pays homage to the game-changing CX and iconic XM, but that might be stretching it a little.

Why? Because apart from its distinctive design and affordable starting price (£27,790), it’s a fairly conventional large family car.

Citroen C5 X

The C5 X is offered with a choice of either 1.2 or 1.6-litre petrol engines producing 128bhp and 178bhp respectively, or a 222bhp plug-in hybrid system. It’s only available with front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and there’s no diesel option.

The entry-level petrol 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine powers the C5 X from standstill to 62mph in 10.4 seconds and it’s capable of up to 48.6mpg, while CO2 emissions are as low as 136g/km.

The more powerful four-cylinder 1.6-litre unit can manage up to 43.9mpg, CO2 emissions are 147g/km, and it reduces the 0-62mph sprint time to 8.8 seconds.

Combining the 1.6 petrol unit with an 81.2kWh electric motor and 12.4kWh lithium ion battery, the range-topping plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is the quickest model with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds.

Citroen C5 X

More importantly, it offers up to 37 miles of electric-only driving and CO2 emissions are only 30g/km, unlocking substantial tax savings for business users.

In other words, if your daily commute is around the 25-mile mark (in line with the UK average) and you can charge overnight at home (it takes less than two hours to recharge from 0% to 100%), your visits to the petrol station could be few and far between.

You sit lower down in the Citroen C5 X than most SUVs, yet higher than a hatchback or estate, and the overall feel is more conventional car than crossover.

Soft and supportive, Citroen’s Advanced Comfort seats are standard across the range and a big bonus, especially on longer journeys.

Citroen C5 X

Elsewhere, the cabin isn’t quite as plush as we’d hoped, but we can’t fault the crisp, intuitive infotainment system. The entry-level Sense Plus trim comes with a 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, while both higher trim levels (Shine and Shine Plus) get a 12.0-inch.

The infotainment system features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, DAB radio, Bluetooth and built-in sat nav, while Citroen has thankfully left the heating/cooling controls as a separate entity below the touchscreen and vents – with buttons and dials.

Perhaps most impressively, there’s a real feeling of space inside the cabin – front and back. This is no surprise, because the CX 5 is made in China (and sold there too) and if there’s one thing the Chinese like, it’s rear passenger space.

Additionally, boot capacity is 545 litres, expanding to an estate-like 1,640 litres with the rear seats down. Just to give you an idea of the space available, it’s possible to fit a washing machine in sideways without flipping the back seats, though it’s worth noting that the PHEV’s capacity is reduced to 485/1,580 litres because the battery takes up some space.

Citroen C5 X

We tested both petrols and the PHEV, and while offering a lot of car for the money, the thrummy little three-pot 1.2 in the entry-level model has to be worked quite hard to lug around this relatively large car.

We’d advise paying the extra for the turbocharged 1.6, which is swifter, pulls better and more refined.

If money is no object, then go for the plug-in hybrid, which offers the most relaxed driving experience overall and suits the C5 X best.

There’s more power on tap, and naturally, it’s hushed in all-electric mode, while the switch from petrol to hybrid and vice versa is seamless. The only slight issue is the eight-speed automatic gearbox which is sometimes a little hesitant to kick down.

Citroen C5 X

Citroen’s ‘Advanced Comfort Suspension with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions’ system is standard across the range with the French company claiming it provides a ‘magic carpet’-like ride.

What’s more, the PHEV versions get the upgraded Advanced Comfort Active Suspension, which features automatic electronically controlled damping.

We wouldn’t go as far as ‘magic carpet’, but the ride is smooth and bump absorption is impressive. That said, on rougher surfaces, we were surprised how much road noise made its way into the cabin.

Considering it’s built more for comfort than performance, it handles well. It feels substantial, yet body lean is well controlled in faster corners and there’s decent grip.

Citroen C5 X

The steering is light and it’s easy to manoeuvre thanks to all-round parking sensors and a rear-view camera, even if visibility isn’t best-in-class.

Which brings us to the sharply raked rear window, complete with two spoilers. It may look cool, but there’s no rear wiper. We drove the C5 X during a heatwave, so we couldn’t test it in the rain. We’ll reserve judgement for now, but we fear this could prove to be an issue on motorways, for instance, when rain and dirty spray is the order of the day.

Ultimately, the C5 X is at its best cruising along while you and your passengers enjoy the smooth ride in your comfy seats.

Verdict: The all-new Citroen C5 X is a breath of fresh air; offering elegance, comfort, refinement and serious value for money. If you can, stretch to the plug-in hybrid version for extra economy and low CO2 emissions.

Citroen UK

Toyota Aygo X review

Toyota Aygo X review

We road test the all-new Toyota Aygo X – a city car transformed into a funky urban crossover…

Toyota is on a roll. Recent acclaimed additions to the range include the GR86 coupe, the Yaris, Yaris Cross, GR Yaris, and the bZ4X – the brand’s first EV.

The all-new Toyota Aygo X continues the winning streak. In one fell swoop Toyota’s designers have re-invented the city car, creating an urban runabout sporting chunky, compact crossover looks.

Arguably its only rival is the quirky Suzuki Ignis, which needs a workout in comparison to the rufty-tufty Aygo X (pronounced “Aygo Cross”).

Toyota Aygo X review

At first glance it looks like Toyota started with a clean sheet, but look closely and you’ll spot design cues from the outgoing Aygo such as the glass hatch and pop-out rear windows.

At only 3.7 metres long and 1.74m wide, it’s a little larger than the old Aygo hatchback, and despite its crossover design, it rides just 11mm higher.

Starting at a very competitive £15,405, the Aygo X range has been kept simple. There’s just one (non-hybrid) petrol engine available (a 71bhp three-cylinder unit), with the option of either a five-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission.

Toyota Aygo X review

And there are only three trims levels (Pure, Edge and Exclusive), plus a special Limited Edition model.

Entry-level X Pure comes as standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, air con, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, plus a leather steering wheel trim.

Edge grade adds 18-inch alloys, automatic air con and wipers, rear privacy glass, front fog lights and an 8.0-inch multimedia display. It also gains extra exterior styling details and a bi-tone/metallic paint finish. Options include a large, power-operated canvas roof and a parking pack with front and rear intelligent clearance sonars and an automatic braking function.

Toyota Aygo X review

The range-topping Exclusive model comes with cloth and synthetic leather upholstery, a wireless phone charger, LED headlights and smart entry.

It also gets the new Toyota Smart Connect multimedia system with 9.0-inch display, giving access to cloud-based navigation, latest road information, connected services and over-the-air updates for updates and fixes.

We tested the Limited Edition version, which is finished in cool new Cardamom Green metallic paint. It features 18-inch matt black alloys, Mandarina orange highlights on the wheels, sills and bumpers, plus other interior design features and the canvas roof. The front seats are heated and have part-leather upholstery.

Toyota Aygo X review

So, the Aygo X is well equipped. It’s also safe because the impressive Toyota Safety Sense package is fitted as standard. It includes pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, emergency steering assist, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera. Higher-spec cars also get front and rear parking sensors.

Despite its pumped up looks and longer wheelbase, it’s still very much a city car inside, even if the seating position has been raised by 5cm.

The interior is cheap and cheerful, but then what would you expect for the price? So, you’ll find hard plastics and exposed painted metal. On the plus side, the infotainment system works well and there are still some physical buttons and dials (for the air con – crucially).

Toyota Aygo X review

There’s plenty of room up front and the driving position is comfortable. However, it’s still cosy in the back and the passenger experience isn’t helped by the small, rear-hinged windows which don’t fully open.

Thankfully, the boot is more practical than before, offering 60 litres extra (231 litres in all), expanding to 829 litres with the rear seats folded.

The thrummy three-pot has been tuned for economy over performance, so more spirited drivers will have to work the five-speed gearbox hard to make swift progress.

Toyota Aygo X review

Officially, the manual version hits 62mph from standstill in 14.9 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 98mph.

CO2 emissions are as low as 109g/km and fuel economy is up to 58.85mpg. In fact, in mixed driving I managed 60mpg, which added to the low insurance group and Toyota’s reputation for reliability, means owning an Aygo X should be an affordable experience.

Despite being low on power, it handles surprisingly well and only feel unsettled if really pushed.

Toyota Aygo X review

In its more natural urban habitat, it’s nippy, agile and easy to drive. Light and quick steering, plus an exceptionally small turning circle of just 4.7m really help.

However, it’s not the quietest cabin – a combination of the thrum from the engine and wind noise, while the full-length canvas roof doesn’t help – even if it is fun in the sun.

So, the Aygo X isn’t perfect, but full marks to Toyota for creating a new niche and a dinky car full of character that stands out from the crowd, puts a smile on your face and represents great value for money.

Toyota Aygo X review

It’s also worth remembering that the Aygo X comes with a standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty, but it’s also eligible for Toyota’s warranty protection for up to 10 years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first), but you do have to service your car at a franchised dealer each year to maintain that cover.

Verdict: The all-new Toyota Aygo X is a breath of fresh air. An affordable city car with cool urban crossover looks that’s fun to drive, safe, economical. cheap to run and well equipped.

Toyota Aygo X review

Toyota UK

Kia Niro review

Kia Niro Hybrid (

We test drive the Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid and EV versions of the all-new second generation Kia Niro…

The Niro compact crossover is an important car for Kia. After the slightly larger Sportage, it’s the South Korean brand’s second most successful model.

A genuine game-changer when it was launched in 2016, it was available with self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid or 100% electric powertrains and offered practicality, peace of mind and economy at an affordable price.

Fast forward six years and more than 70,000 have been sold, while 55% of all Niro sales are fully electric. In fact, the e-Niro was the UK’s second best-selling EV in 2021.

The success of the all-electric version especially was no surprise, given the value for money it offered, plus that 282-mile range.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Now it’s time for the second-generation Niro. Again, there are hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions, and this time round it’s slightly bigger (65mm longer, 20mm taller and 10mm wider) and the interior features a higher proportion of sustainable and recycled materials.

Pricing starts at £27,745 (Niro Hybrid), followed by the Niro Plug-in Hybrid (£32,775) and the popular Niro EV from £34,995. Note, it’s no longer badged ‘e-Niro’.

There are three trim levels (‘2’, ‘3’ or ‘4’) and a choice of eight colours, with top spec ‘4’ models offered with an eye-catching two-tone paint option which features the C-pillar in contrasting Steel Grey or Black Pearl, depending on the chosen body colour.

Naturally, there are differences in spec and equipment between the trim levels, but as standard you get goodies such as LED headlights, rear parking sensors and camera system, a touchscreen display with DAB radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus driver assistance technologies such as Forward Collision Avoidance with car, pedestrian and cyclist recognition and junction crossing – and Smart Cruise Control.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Top-of-the-range ‘4’ grade models get a head-up display, twin 10.25-inch touchscreen, an instrument cluster display, heated rear seats and ventilated front seats, a power operated tailgate, electric sunroof, an uprated Harman Kardon premium sound system, driver’s side memory seating, and front passenger lumbar support.

There’s also Remote Smart Parking Assist, Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist and PU vegan leather seat coverings, containing Tencel from eucalyptus trees.

The all-new Niro EV combines a 64.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and a 201bhp electric motor.

Torque is rated at 255 Nm, and it can accelerate from 0-to-62 mph in 7.8 seconds. More importantly, an electric driving range of 285 miles is claimed.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Recharging from 10-80% takes as little as 45 minutes – up to nine minutes quicker than the outgoing model.

In colder months, the system uses navigation-based conditioning to pre-heat the battery when a charge point is selected as a destination, which helps shorten charge times and optimise battery performance.

The Niro Hybrid has a 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. There’s also a 43bhp electric motor and small 1.32kW battery, delivering a combined maximum power output of 139bhp.

It can accelerate from standstill to 60mph in 10.4 seconds, fuel economy is up to 64.2mpg, while CO2 emissions are 100g/km.

The Niro Hybrid (and Plug-in Hybrid) also feature a new ‘Green Zone’ drive mode, which automatically switches to electric power based on location guidance from the navigation system, driver patterns, or manual selection by the driver.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Expected to be popular with business users because of its low CO2 emissions and tax benefits, the Niro Plug-in Hybrid uses the same 1.6-litre engine as the Hybrid, a larger 11.1kw battery (it takes about 2.5 hours to charge it at home) and an 83bhp electric motor, producing a combined 180bhp and 265Nm of torque.

Crucially, it has an electric-only driving range of up to 40 miles – more than enough to complete the average daily commute in the UK.

The Niro Plug-in Hybrid can cover the 0-60mph sprint in 9.4 seconds, CO2 emissions are just 18g/km, while fuel economy could be as high as 353mpg (in theory).

Whichever version you go for, the new Niro is a much bolder looking crossover than the outgoing car with angular design cues and a hint of the larger Sportage. And those sharper looks continue to the rear corners which feature high-set upright boomerang-shaped lights.

The smart interior is attractive, and well designed, with twin 10.25-inch displays giving the dashboard a wow factor. Featuring slick, sharp graphics, the infotainment system is intuitive to use – something of a Kia trademark. Broadly speaking, the quality of the cabin, in terms of materials used and build quality, is good, but it won’t worry premium rivals.

Kia Niro Hybrid

There’s a real feeling of space and plenty of leg and headroom for adults in the back, while luggage capacity varies depending on the model chosen. For the record, the Plug-in Hybrid has 346 litres, the Hybrid gets 451 litres, and the EV boasts 475 litres. Flip the rear seats and you get 1,342, 1,445 or 1,392 litres.

You sit quite high in the comfortable seats so there’s a commanding driving position. Visibility is generally good, but those chunky rear pillars leave a bit of a blind spot.

The three versions of the Niro each have their own character. Naturally, the Niro EV is the smoothest and most refined of the trio.

It’s swift without being gut-wrenchingly quick like some other electric cars. And for a crossover with no performance SUV pretensions, it handles well (with the accent on comfort). Sure, there’s some body roll if it’s pushed, but it’s well controlled and it generally feels planted.

There’s good traction through the front wheels, while the all-round grip is impressive. There are various drive modes, and you can also adjust the level of brake energy recuperation using paddles behind the steering wheel. It’s worth playing around with them, but we found the normal/mid settings worked best for us.

Kia Niro Hybrid

The Plug-in Hybrid is refined too, unless you floor it and the petrol engine kicks in. Drive sensibly and the transition between electric and petrol, and vice versa, is much smoother.

There’s more than enough performance on tap for everyday driving and it works well with the six-speed automatic gearbox. Obviously, EV mode is a joy, if not as quick as it’s pure electric sibling.

With a firm suspension and sharp steering, it’s a lively performer and more agile than you might think, but as with the EV, it’s at its best cruising along.

The lethargic full Hybrid is the most disappointing version of the Niro. It’s not a bad car, but its shortcomings are apparent when it’s tested alongside the PHEV and EV models.

Not only is it down on power compared to its siblings, but the six-speed automatic gearbox can be tiresome. It’s fine at city speeds, but can become hesitant on faster roads, meaning the engine is more vocal, resulting is a far less relaxed driving experience.

Kia Niro Hybrid

On the plus side, it will slip into EV mode for short bursts in stop-start traffic or when manoeuvring, CO2 emissions are low, and the fuel economy is comparable.

The Hybrid has a slightly softer ride than the PHEV, and again is easy to drive. Just don’t push it.

The Niro hasn’t been tested for safety by Euro NCAP, but we’d expect it to get a maximum five stars (like the Sportage and EV6) because it’s packed with driver assistance and safety technology.

Finally, the Niro comes with a large dose of peace of mind because, as with all Kia cars, it comes with a generous seven-year warranty.

Verdict: The all-new Kia Niro family-sized crossover is a step-up from its predecessor, offering a winning blend of good looks, space, safety, practicality, generous equipment levels and comfort.

Kia UK

Nissan Ariya EV crowned ‘Car of the Year 2022’

Gareth Herincx

6 hours ago
Auto News

Nissan Ariya

Nissan has scooped the prestigious Auto Express Car of the Year 2022 with its all-new pure electric Ariya.

British engineers at Nissan’s European technical team in Cranfield have played a big role in the development of the new Ariya, resulting in what judges describe as “a comfortable ride and superb refinement with impressive agility for a big car”.

The Ariya is Nissan’s second mass-market EV following its pioneering Leaf, arguably the EV that first made electric driving affordable.

The annual Auto Express Awards are “the most customer-focused car awards in the UK”, recommending models across categories that are set, like the judging criteria, following research into the wants and needs of real UK buyers.

As well as specific EV category wins, there was success for electric cars in traditional car categories, too. The new all-electric Fiat 500 scooped the best City Car trophy and the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric was named Best Company Car.

“The new Nissan Ariya is quite simply a fantastic new car – it just so happens to be an EV, too,” said Steve Fowler, Editor-in-Chief of Auto Express.

“It’s so cleverly thought through, buyers will find it really easy and enjoyable to live with, while it drives superbly, looks great and is the most premium-feeling Nissan we’ve ever seen.”

Auto Express Car of the Year 2022 winners

  • City Car of the Year – Fiat 500
  • Supermini of the Year – Renault Clio
  • Family Car of the Year – Dacia Jogger
  • Estate Car of the Year – Skoda Octavia Estate
  • Small Company Car of the Year – Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric
  • Mid-size Company Car of the Year – Nissan Ariya
  • Large Company Car of the Year – BMW 5 Series
  • Small SUV of the Year – Kia Niro
  • Mid-size SUV of the Year – Hyundai Tucson
  • Large SUV of the Year – Skoda Kodiaq
  • Small Premium SUV of the Year – Mercedes-Benz GLA
  • Mid-size Premium SUV of the Year – Lexus NX
  • Large Premium SUV of the Year – Land Rover Defender
  • Luxury Car of the Year – Range Rover
  • Hot Hatch of the Year – Hyundai i20 N
  • Coupé of the Year – BMW 2 Series
  • Convertible of the Year – MINI Convertible
  • Performance Car of the Year – Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
  • Affordable Electric Car of the Year – MG ZS EV
  • Premium Electric Car of the Year – BMW i4
  • Affordable Hybrid Car of the Year – Toyota Yaris
  • Premium Hybrid Car of the Year – Mercedes-Benz C 300 e
  • Pick-up of the Year – Ford Ranger
  • Electric Van of the Year – Ford E-Transit
  • Van of the Year – Fiat Ducato
  • Technology Award – Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX
  • Auto Express New Car of the Year – Nissan Ariya

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Kia Sportage PHEV review

Kia Sportage PHEV review

Earlier in 2022 Kia launched the superb fifth-generation Sportage – one of the most striking new crossovers on the road.

Rocking a bold, confident new design and hi-tech interior, it was initially available with a choice of petrol, diesel and hybrid (mild, self-charging) engines.

Now a plug-in hybrid version has joined the award-winning range – and the best just got better.

Kia Sportage PHEV review

But first the bad news. Whereas the Sportage line-up starts at £26,775, the PHEV variant debuts at £38,395, rising to £43,795.

The good news is that it has a theoretical fuel economy of 252mpg, and an emissions-free EV driving range of up to 43 miles.

And with official overall CO2 emissions of 25g/km and 8% benefit in kind (BIK), it’s particularly attractive to company car users.

Kia Sportage PHEV review

The Sportage is the South Korean brand’s best-selling car and the new model is already a firm fixture in the UK’s Top 10 most popular new cars.

The PHEV looks much the same as its conventional and lesser hybrid powered Sportage siblings, except for the extra ‘fuel’ flap for plugging it in (the battery can be fully charged in as little as 1hr 45m via a 7.2kW connection) and it has a slightly reduced boot capacity (down from 591 litres to 540 litres) because of the larger battery.

The Sportage Plug-in Hybrid features a 1.6-litre T-GDi petrol engine, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, working in tandem with a 66.9kW electric motor and a 13.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack.

Kia Sportage PHEV review

This powertrain combination delivers a total of 261bhp, a 0-60mph time of just 7.9 seconds, and a top speed of 119mph. What’s more, all plug-in hybrid versions of the Sportage get all-wheel drive.

Elsewhere, the Sportage PHEV is much the same as the rest of the range. In other words, it has serious road presence, echoing some of the futuristic styling cues of its pure electric big brother, the EV6.

Inside, it’s just as radical with a smart two-screen infotainment set-up. As standard, there’s a an 8.0-inch main touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and additional digital driver’s display on the right. From GT-Line spec up there’s a larger 12.3-inch screen in the centre.

Kia Sportage PHEV review

The curved console is clear, bright, responsive and intuitive to use. There’s plenty of space for adults front and back, while the luggage capacity expands to a useful 1,715 litres when the 40:20:40 split rear seats are flipped.

On the road, the Sportage PHEV is easy to drive with light steering and a commanding driving position, delivering good all-round visibility.

Kia Sportage PHEV review

The overall ride is on the firm side, but not uncomfortably so, and there’s a bit of roll in more challenging corners, but overall it’s a relaxed cruiser.

Switching from Eco to Sport mode alters the throttle and steering responses of the car, but stay in the latter for too long and it will dent your fuel economy (which can dip into the late 40s on longer runs when the battery has depleted).

In addition, there are two main drive modes – EV (prioritises battery power) and HEV (blends power from the engine too, which is more efficient on longer journeys), plus AWD terrain modes for Snow, Mud and Sand.

Kia Sportage PHEV review

The PHEV powertrain delivers a surprising amount of poke and the switch from engine to electric and vice versa is seamless. The engine itself is refined, only becoming vocal if pushed hard.

A slick-shifting gearbox completes the picture. It’s a traditional automatic, as opposed to a high-revving CVT which so often blights hybrid driving experiences.

The PHEV is heavier than other Sportages, but it hides the extra battery weight well, while grip and traction are impressive, partly down to the AWD system.

Kia Sportage PHEV review

The Sportage is packed with the latest safety and driver assistance kit including autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and, as with all Kia cars, it comes with a generous seven-year warranty.

Rivals in the family PHEV SUV sector include the Hyundai Tucson, Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga and Vauxhall Grandland.

Rivals in the family PHEV SUV sector include the Hyundai Tucson, Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga and Vauxhall Grandland.

Verdict: The plug-in hybrid version of the Kia Sportage is the highlight of an already fantastic family SUV line-up. Its blend of economy, striking looks, hi-tech interior, practicality, top safety features and peace of mind make it stand out from the crowd.

Kia UK

Kia Sportage PHEV review