The serene performance of the Citroen C5 is matched by a smooth, luxurious ride quality rarely experienced in this class of car. On its Hydractive 3 suspension and refreshingly high-profile tyres, the C5 glides along the road more like an S-class competitor than a Mondeo rival. It’s so smooth, in fact, that the desire to drive it fast largely vanishes as you start off. Better to enjoy the smooth, quiet progress.
Which is just as well, because handling is not a strong suit. There’s nothing obviously amiss with the way the C5 behaves, but the lack of agility comes as quite a surprise the first time you realise just how much inertia there is if you try too hard on the road. The overwhelming impression is that you are driving a car that’s simply not designed to be pedalled with any speed or enthusiasm.
Instead, you and the C5 are much better off gliding along, covering ground effectively together, and if you drive it like this you’ll come to appreciate the other aspects of the chassis such as its decently accurate steering, fine ride, the good grip from the Michelin Pilot Premacy tyres and the calm, powerful response of its brakes.
The standard steel suspension is also pretty good against class competitors. It will be more than acceptable for many, but given that the outstanding ride quality offered by the Hydractive 3 is one of the defining things about this car, we would recommend choosing it