Every now and then we have a test car that we really would like to keep.
Every now and then we have a test car that we really would like to keep. The new Citroen C5 is such a vehicle.
The television adverts capture the essence of the C5, admirably. ‘Reassuringly German. Unmistakably French’, just about covers it although, as far as I am aware, the C5 is French, through and through.
When you’re up against such mile-munching favourites as the Passat, Mondeo, Laguna, Avensis and Vectra (soon to be Insignia), it pays to move away from the ‘Euro-styling’ and make a statement...but not too loudly to be an embarrassment.
There is nothing ‘me-too’ about the C5. The striking, double chevron bars, that run the width of the bonnet, between the wraparound Halogen headlights (with AFS), attract attention. These are chromed and match the trim surrounding the large, lower grille. Particularly pleasing is the way the upper bar forms the leading edge of the bonnet.
The deep front bumper accentuates the wide, low stance of the car, which is further emphasised by the wide shoulders and high waistline.
The C5 is a long car; one of the longest in its class, and ends in a rather squared-off rear, where a further example of Citroen quirkiness can be seen in the concave rear windscreen and sloping boot lid. The shape of the screen has two benefits; it seems to clear water quickly and it allows a larger loading aperture to the 439-litre boot, the capacity of which can be increased by folding the rear seats flat.
The sleek, elegant lines make the C5 stand out from the crowd. There is a hint of German styling but it is no more than a glimpse from certain angles. However, the cabin does display a fair amount of Teutonic efficiency, with a fairly plain fascia highlighted by a metallic trim strip. The door handles offer an unusual but delightful motif as they are shaped like a fish.
The second generation of Citroen’s fixed-hub steering wheel houses various controls, while the steering wheel rotates around the outside. I have heard complaints the people who like to drive with their hands in the quarter-to-three position, which is quite a few judging by the metallic sections on the wheel at these points. They say that because the new hub is more a soft oblong than round, the corners tend to catch fingers when turning the wheel. Personally, I didn’t find this to be the case but I did notice that the shape of these silvered sections provides an indication of the position of the steering wheel.
There are a couple of further niggles. Dashboard and centre console storage comes in the form of a couple of shallow, lidded cubbies, neither of which a capable of holding a pair of sunglasses. There is a cup-holder under the front, centre armrest which is almost impossible to use without being a contortionist and the raised lid of the container/armrest gets in the way when driving. There is a pull-down tray to the right of the steering column but it is angled downwards and as such is only suitable for a small bottle. All in all, the storage and oddments facilities are disappointing and appear to be more of an afterthought than a result of the planning process.
Citroen C5 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Citroen C5 2.0HDi VTR+|
|Body Type||4-Door Saloon|
|Colour||Deep Red Pearlescent|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||12.8 Seconds|
|Top Speed||125 mph|
|Transmission||6-Speed, Auto-Adaptive Gearbox With Sequential Shift|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||51.4 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5|
|Warranty||3-Year / 60,000 Mile Warranty|
|Price (when tested on the 21/07/08)||£20,095 OTR|