Nine years ago, IT programme manager Hugues Lecoeuche bought an ex-demonstrator Citroën C5 Estate from a local dealer near his home in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. He paid £18,000 for the four-months-old 2.0-litre HDi 136 Exclusive Automatic edition, with 4,000 miles on the clock. What a good buy that has turned out to be. The C5’s odometer is now reading over 228,000 miles, and is still in daily use.
As well as regular long business commutes to places such as Newcastle, Manchester and Derby, Hugues is fond of marathon road trips on holiday. One such journey added around 8,000 miles to the car’s tally, when he and his wife went to see the midnight sun at North Cape. First they drove to Calais to drop off the kids with his French parents, before heading north up through Norway, then back down via Sweden and Germany to collect the kids from holidaying with their grandparents in the South of France, then finally returning home to Hemel Hempstead. Another such trip, this time to Istanbul, saw the C5 crossing 16 borders in eight days.
He reports very good fuel economy from the car, regularly doing 800 miles between refills for its 66-litre tank, but says that “this may have to do with my sedate driving style, almost exclusively done on motorways.” For the first three years of its life, the C5 was serviced at the Citroën dealer he bought it from. But since then he has done all the basic servicing himself. He says he finds “the very long life of Citroën cambelts to be an added benefit in terms of reducing maintenance costs,” but is critical of the suggestion that the gearbox is ‘lubricated for life’. “It’s both stupid and misleading,” says Hugues. “Unless you are happy to see your gearbox die from lack of proper lubrication, regular maintenance is required. I have my automatic transmission serviced every 60,000 miles, and each time it felt much happier after an oil change.”
Likewise, he is not convinced by the 20,000 miles service intervals quoted for the engine – although reduced back to 12,500 miles for some later C5s. “Therefore I religiously change the oil every 10,000 miles, and as a result of which I have a very happy engine.” He uses Castrol Edge 5W40, bought at Costco “because the price is more reasonable there.”
The car has just passed its MOT, and Hugues says that unless something catastrophic happens in the meantime, he will keep clocking the miles in it for another year. But he is starting to think about what to replace it with. “My biggest fear is pollution of the injectors, which would probably finish it off.”
He is no stranger to high-mileage Citroëns, having had several in a row. He ran a ZX Estate 1.9 diesel for ten years and 150,000 miles, then a Xsara Picasso 2.0 HDi for ten years and 190,000 miles, before his current C5 Estate, which still has the original major parts including the engine, alternator, water pump and particulate filter. As he says of the three cars: “This is a total of 568,000 miles on the road for £39k worth of metal. Not bad value for money!”