THERE is something luxurious about the feel of the new Citroen C5 X.

Granted, that very much depends on your definition of luxury, but the slightly old-school suppleness of the French carmaker’s new flagship, the way its suspension shrugs off the worst road imperfections with a lazy gallic nod of its springs makes this a car with comfort at its very core.

That, for me, feels luxurious, even if we’re not even supposed to be in truly luxurious territory here.

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Citroen owner Stellantis has gone to great lengths to try and establish its DS Automobiles brand for that purpose, after all – albeit with so far limited success.

Perhaps no Motors readers will like to be reminded of how the French seem to shrug-off challenges, following last weekend’s disappointment, but the C5 X will not have it all its own way.

Entering the market in a Citroen-defined market segment which claims to include the best attributes of large saloon, estate and SUV, it might take customers some getting used to.

But at 4.8m long, 1.5m tall and 1.8m wide it serves up proper D-segment accommodation either way, along a 485-litre boot that is fairly cavernous but nonetheless 100 litres down on Citroen’s existing C5 Aircross SUV.

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The C5 X’s styling is inspired by the Citroen’s iconic XM and CX models.

There are definite family traits, with an extremely broad bonnet and a rakish A-pillar which sets the tone for a surprisingly sleek silhouette all reminiscent of those sleek French creations of the past.

It is a distinctive look, which I feel Citroen have judged well, but it will nonetheless challenge many customer perceptions of what a car should look like in a market dominated by SUVs.

Despite its flagship billing, the large Citroen launched with a reasonable-looking £27,790 starting price this summer.

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Good though the entry-level PureTech 130 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine is, however, it is the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version tested here that will garner the most attention.

Prices for the PHEV start at £36,470 in a line-up that features ‘Sense Plus’, ‘Shine’ and ‘Shine Plus’ trim levels.

Featuring a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine at its heart, the PHEV drivetrain delivers a potential all-electric driving range of 39 miles from a two-hour charge and CO2 emissions of 30g/km as tested here.

The official combined fuel economy is 186.2 to 236.2mpg but on my test I saw around 45mpg delivered once all the 12.4kWh battery’s charge had been deployed.

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A combined petrol/electric power output of 225PS and 250Nm of torque delivered via the front wheels results in a claimed 7.9-second dash to 62mph and a 145mph top speed, but the C5 X’s relaxed, verging on nonchalant attitude feels at odds with rapid acceleration.

Tested here in the mid-spec Shine trim, the C5 X came in at £39,960 as standard and £43,560 after options including a panoramic sunroof (£1,300) and upgraded massaging seats (£800).

Inside the C5 X there are touchpoints familiar to Stellantis’ other brands, most notably the toggle-like gear selector and drive mode selector in the centre console.

I was happy to find shortcut buttons to help navigate through the 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system and physical dials to control the stereo’s volume and climate control.

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Similarly, the multi-function steering wheel’s controls were easy-to-use physical controls rather than the fiddly haptic offerings introduced by other brand recently.

While there is a lot of plastic cabin trim, Citroen’s clever use of a very natural-looking wood veneer across the width of the dash, and on the door panels, very effectively adds a level of premium tactility.

The standard kit included in the C5 X Shine is pretty impressive.

The extreme comfort served up by the soft suspension is further complemented by armchair-like seats. The steering wheel is heated, while the central touchscreen is upgraded from the standard ten to 12-inches.

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Citroën’s Extended Head-Up Display projects onto the windscreen, offering large-scale instruments and sat nav guidance.

A 360-degree reversing camera, radar-controlled emergency braking and an adaptive cruise control system that works in stop/start traffic situations are also present.

But it is the comfort, refinement and space that really marks the C5 X out.

It never feels dynamic or sharp-witted, but there is something about the way it disregards those traits which have become premium car conventions in recent years, that gives it its own appeal.

For those not sold on the SUV craze who put comfort at the top of their automotive wish lists, this could be the very car they have been waiting for.

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