LAIDBACK LOAD LUGGER
Citroën has long been famous for its reputation for making cars that make an impact, whether that is visually, or for general quirkiness. However, in the mid 1990’s, the French maker seemed to lose its way, with a range of competent but boring cars that left nothing for an enthusiasts juices to flow. In the last few years, this has all changed, and the C5 is just one of the new models that Citroën hopes will cause a spark in a buyers’ heart.
While not all Citroën’s can be described as a thing of beauty, the C5 Tourer is an elegant machine, with long flowing lines that seem to integrate even better than the pretty saloon. And those lines translate into a capable load carrier, with almost 1,500 litres of flat load space with the seats folded, and 505 litres with the seats in the upright position. This is competitive compared to the likes of the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer. Climb behind the wheel and you’ll find the dashboard is a pleasing design, with quality that is a world away from the previous C5. All of the controls fall easily to hand, especially as the Citroën comes equipped with a fixed hub steering wheel, ensuring that the airbag is always positioned in an optimum position for safety. This also means that all the controls remain in the same place, unlike on most other cars.
Out on the road, the C5 offers a ride comfort that is usually only found on upmarket executive limousines. It really is that good, and I personally prefer the conventionally steel sprung C5 to the Hydractive system found on more upmarket versions. The 2.0-litre HDi engine is one of the nicest engines on the market and is plenty powerful to propel the Tourer along the road in a sprightly manner, and is aided by a smooth six-speed gearbox. The steering can take a bit of getting used to, as it feels a bit floaty and non-communicative when first climbing aboard, however after a few miles, you soon realise that the C5 is a car aimed at those that want comfort and refinement, rather than outright dynamics. Equipment levels are generous, with 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, power folding door mirrors, a rain sensor, dual-zone climate control and an MP3 compatible audio system all fitted as standard. This is in addition to the high level of safety kit that includes front, side, head and knee airbags, ESP and an expected EuroNCAP five star safety rating, like its four-door saloon counterpart.
While many of the C5’s rivals have been developed with driving dynamics in mind, Citroën seems to have taken a different route, with driver and passenger comfort higher on the agenda. There are few cars on the market that offer the combination of a limousine rivalling ride and a relaxing, smooth drive. While the Ford Mondeo may be a better bet for someone that is after an engaging, thrilling drive, those that look for a more satisfying, serene driving experience need look no further than the C5. There is simply nothing better at this price point.
RIVALS: Ford Mondeo Estate Zetec 2.0 TDCi, Mazd a6 Estate 2.2 TS2 di esel, Peugeot 407 SW SR HDi 140
- Engine: 1997cc, 4 cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max Power: 138bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 236lb ft at 2,000rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,800kg
- Combined Consumption: 46.3mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 160g/km (D)
- 0-62mph: 12.1secs
- Max speed: 124mph
- Insurance group: 10
Class leading refinement, high equipment levels, classy looks, smooth gearbox and engine
Steering not as sharp as rivals