What is it?
The most economical version of Citroen’s new “Germanic” business saloon, aimed at scoring a much better foothold in Mondeo territory.
Lower-spec versions are also now equipped with steel suspension in place of the previous car’s standard Hydractive gas-oil springing, although range-toppers keep the hydraulic set-up.
Citroen is wary of making big volume claims for its new baby in a declining sector, but it reckons the C5’s combination of styling, equipment, pricing and perceived quality is enough to win it plenty of friends.
What’s it like?
In mid-spec VTR+ guise it’s handsome, well-equipped and with interior quality that completely outclasses the previous generation C5. Indeed, from the driver’s seat the new car feels like it could give the bigger and considerably more expensive C6 a run for its money in terms of ergonomics and design.
Despite its status at the bottom of the powerplant hierarchy, the 1.6-litre HDI gets an advanced all-alloy engine and sets high standards for refinement and smoothness.
The 108bhp power output is no great shakes by modern standards, but healthy mid-range torque (177lb ft at just 1750rpm) makes it easy to make relaxed, rapid progress.
The steel suspension is slightly softer than that of the Peugeot 407, with which the Citroen shares a close relationship. It’s little different from Hydractive 3 at lower speeds.
Only when cruising on undulating motorway surfaces do you really notice the oil-gas system’s superior body control.
Economy is ridiculously good. Citroen claims a combined figure of 50mpg-plus, and we found it fairly easy to achieve this in normal driving. It’s a good option, if you’re not the type to get hung up on engine capacities.
Should I buy one?
The issue with bigger Citroens of the past few years has been depreciation, but the company says its tight control of supply and a leap in desirability makes the new C5 a different proposition.
CAP predictions put its resale ahead of most class rivals, but this has yet to be tested by the open market. On comfort, economy, looks and price grounds, it’s an excellent contender.