From £19,165
Range, refinement and plenty of space make this a fine cruising car. It's just a little slow

Our Verdict

Citroën C5
In a market where there are so many safe options, the C5 stands out

The spacious, comfortable Citroen C5 makes an interesting and off-beat Mondeo rival

2 November 2004

The C5 was always an oddly proportioned car, if somewhat blandly detailed, but this facelift certainly adds startle factor to its front end. It now has double-decker chrome strips with the famous Citroën double chevron as a centrepiece, a theme pioneered by the C-Airlounge concept, though on this car the new look doesn’t integrate so well.

The facelift also lengthens the C5 by 12cm and, although this big car didn’t need to get any bigger, that does swell boot capacity by 15 litres to 471 litres.

The interior is less visually troubling. The dash feels well put together, a flash of silver livening things up. There’s plenty of space too – elbow room is best in class – and rear legroom is good. Standard equipment is very generous, with full climate control, rain-sensing wipers and seven airbags, and Citroen’s new lane-departure warning system is an option.

Start up, and the 1.6-litre turbodiesel is respectably quiet. It’s pretty refined once you’re on the move, too, for noise and performance. With its 110bhp and 177lb ft you don’t expect spine-tingling acceleration, and neither do you get it, but the C5 can be rowed along reasonably briskly.

Only under full load does the car sound anything other than hushed. Citroën has worked hard to reduce cabin noise, filling body cavities with foam and laminating the side windows (which also enhances security). And it works. This is a very relaxing car in which to travel long distances. The Hydractive 3 suspension is pretty effective, too, dismissing bumps and expansion gaps nonchalantly.

Combine all this with the infrequent need to fill up – with a claimed combined consumption of 52.3mpg and a 66-litre tank you can travel a realistic 550 miles (theoretical 750 miles) between fuel stops – and you have an excellent motorway machine. It might not be the most invigorating car around, but the C5 makes each journey a refreshingly relaxed affair.

Rory Lumsdon

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