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Dare to be different? Image by Dave Jenkins.

Dare to be different?
The Citroen C5 is under many buyers' radar; it shouldn't be.

   



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| Week at the Wheel | Citroen C5 2.2 HDi Exclusive |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

Citroen's reputation for innovation and individuality is instantly obvious when looking at the C5. Every body panel is heavily sculpted and even the glasshouse, in the form of a concave rear screen, doesn't escape the stylists' attentions; the resulting buttress type C-pillar is unique in this class. The overall effect is certainly standout, if perhaps a little heavy handed in places, and the svelte lines disguise the dimensions of the C5 quite well, as it's a big car.

Interior space and quality are impressive. Ignoring the many tones of grey in the interior of our test car - on the basis that other choices are available - the attention to detail shows that as much thought has gone into the design and manufacture of the inside as was invested on the exterior. Equipment levels on this range topping model are generous with features such as heated, massaging seats being made available, a feature generally reserved for more luxurious cars.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

Peugeot/Citroen's 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel is no stranger to these pages, seeing service in a number of makes and models now. In this application it's rated at a muscular 173bhp, backed up with a very useful 273lb.ft of torque at a customarily lowly 1,750rpm. Citroen claims a 0-62 time of ten seconds but the C5 feels quicker than that and, as with most diesels, it's the interim in-gear performance that is most telling, and usable - in this context the C5 is much more impressive.

Ultimate performance may be blunted by the C5's 1,729kg kerb weight but it remains smooth and muscular and the slick shifting six-speed 'box is appropriately rangy to aid cruising economy. It's also well insulated, quiet and free of intrusive noise, making it a relaxing touring companion. A figure of nearly 38mpg, combined with a 71-litre tank, gives the C5 a real world range in excess of 500-miles, or at least a week's motoring for most private owners.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Innovative suspension has always been a Citroen hallmark and the C5 retains this property courtesy of its 'Hydractive 3+' suspension with adjustable spring, damping and ride height. The switchable suspension does a fine job of meeting different briefs with the softer mode proving to be supple and forgiving around town and the sports mode firming things up nicely on more challenging and engaging roads. In direct comparison to the best in class then the C5 does fall short of handling prowess. However, it's clear that this wasn't the C5's primary remit and it's a fine motorway cruiser, as well as being a more soothing companion in most road conditions than some of the more capable handlers in the class. The trade-offs are clear to see, and probably deliberately so.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

Given the package on offer, the C5 offers fine value for money. It undercuts Ford's Mondeo Titanium 2.2 TDCi by around 4,000, and that's before you take into account Citroen's appetite for a discount. Insurance group 13, group E road fund license and a service interval of 20,000-miles should make running costs reasonable. Be sure to haggle hard on the new price though, as French executives have a tendency to depreciate heavily at the best of times.

Overall: star star star star star

As a stylish, diverse option to the usual suspects (the Mondeo, Accord, Mazda6 etc.), the Citroen succeeds in establishing a very strong case for itself. Driving thrill seekers should stick with the Ford, but most others, and those with a desire to stand out from the crowd, will find much to like about the Citroen C5.

Dave Jenkins - 11 Feb 2009



  www.citroen.co.uk    - Citroen road tests
- Citroen news
- C5 images

2009 Citroen C5 specifications: (2.2 HDi 16v Exclusive)
Price: 21,795 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 10.0 seconds
Top speed: 136mph
Combined economy: 43.5mpg
Emissions: 172g/km
Kerb weight: 1729kg

2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.

2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.



2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Citroen C5. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 






 

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