From £19,165
Well-rounded petrol saloon, but diesels make more sense
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.

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ThwartedEfforts 17 August 2008

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

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.

nom de plum 16 August 2008

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

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

julianphillips 15 August 2008

Re: Citroën C5 2.0i VTR+

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.

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