Tim Dickson
10 August 2008

What is it?

A well-executed French saloon with a mild personality disorder. The vast majority of C5s will be sold with one of Citroen’s excellent HDI diesel engines, but there are a couple of petrol motors available, too – with the most powerful being this 143bhp four-cylinder 2.0-unit.

What's it like?

Pretty good. This manual petrol version gets conventional coil spring suspension, not Citroën's well received Hydractive set-up. If you want that mated to your petrol-engined C5 you're going to have to choose the four-speed automatic version.

The petrol engine is a brisk enough performer, with a flexible, free-revving nature. As you’d expect, it doesn’t set the world alight in a car of this size, but it's no slouch either.

One key downside is the amount of engine noise that intrudes into the cabin at motorway speeds – a monotonous low background drone spoils what would otherwise be a most relaxing cruising experience, not least because the chassis generates minimal road noise.

In fact, the motor almost feels undergeared on the motorway –an extra ratio to drop the engine's cruising speed by 500rpm would both quieten things down and aid economy.

We're already familiar with the C5's well executed interior. One unmissable feature is the steering wheel's fixed central boss.

It's ergonomically questionable – turning up the stereo while performing a three-point turn is tricky – but Citroën makes a convincing case for the design, claiming that with the centre of the wheel fixed the airbag can be better designed to protect the driver in a crash.

Should I buy one?

If you're taken mechanically or politically averse to diesels, then the petrol-fired C5 is worthy of consideration. Economy and CO2 emissions are of course shaded by the diesel versions, although the petrol engine’s claimed 33.6 mpg is easily achievable.

But for most buyers the slightly more expensive 1.6HDI diesel will make far more sense.

Join the debate

Comments
10

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

6 years 5 weeks ago

"It's ergonomically questionable – turning up the stereo while performing a three-point turn is tricky..." This is certainly a major issue that all other car magazines have criminally ignored, along with several other ergonomic faults that the C5 has - such as difficulty getting into the boot at motorway speeds.

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

6 years 5 weeks ago

Ha Ha julianphillips so funny!

I have the same problem in my car - on a tricky bend with ESP off and I am correcting with opposite lock, it completely throws me the steering wheel being upside down so instead of activating the bluetooth phone to make a quick call - I end up changing the dash display to 'miles per gallon'. This can be an annoying distraction whilst trying to get the back end in line. If I had known about this before I probably would not have bought the car, if only they let you test for these things on the test drive.

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

6 years 5 weeks ago

Glad someone else picked up on that corker!

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

6 years 5 weeks ago

Don't the phone controls stay central because of the fixed hub steering wheel?

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

6 years 5 weeks ago

My wife forgot to put a new toilet roll onto the toilet roll holder the other day - so as I performed the 'dropping of the anchor in pooh bay' - imagine the fun, and dare I say the mess, there was as I tried to get myself across the toilet to where we store the toilet roll. My wife is a thoughtless ar se who only thinks of herself. Just like Citroen.

Autocar has a point.

I think.

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

6 years 5 weeks ago

nom de plum wrote:
My wife forgot to put a new toilet roll onto the toilet roll holder the other day

Right...... you sound like just the sort of guy who changes the roll when you've used the last sheet.

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

6 years 5 weeks ago

ecokarter wrote:

nom de plum wrote:
My wife forgot to put a new toilet roll onto the toilet roll holder the other day

Right...... you sound like just the sort of guy who changes the roll when you've used the last sheet.

Correct.

I'm getting really hot now for you.

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

6 years 5 weeks ago

Plum - it sounds like you didn't allow enough time for the anchor to drop before you made your way to the toilet roll storage facility. I don't experience these problems because I use a traditional chamberpot enclosed in a wheeled, self-propelling commode. I just drive to wherever the paper is when I have finished dropping pebbles. Citroen should have fitted their driver's seats with commodes. The fixed steering wheel hub could be used to house a flushing mechanism.

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

6 years 5 weeks ago

This is what I'm on about Julian - thinking OUTSIDE of the box.

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

6 years 4 weeks ago

julianphillips wrote:
"It's ergonomically questionable – turning up the stereo while performing a three-point turn is tricky..." This is certainly a major issue that all other car magazines have criminally ignored, along with several other ergonomic faults that the C5 has - such as difficulty getting into the boot at motorway speeds.

haha, superb.

The fixed wheel boss is a good idea. You just need to unlearn all that silliness of having the buttons turn with the car.

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Our Verdict

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

Driven this week