The best executed big Citroen saloon yet, but be wary of residuals

What is it?

The flagship version of Citroen’s handsome Mondeo-class model, and one which sets new standards of style and interior quality for a C5.

Indeed, some would say it looks as good as the much-admired (and much pricier) C6. The range-topping motor is only available with full-on ‘Exclusive’ trim, meaning all the gubbins: parking sensors, electric seats, laminated side glass, mood lighting and much more.

What’s it like?

Typical big Citroen, but better executed than ever. Low seating, soft Hydractive 3 oil-gas suspension and fantastic body control when cruising fast on lumpy motorways. No other car is as good at diffusing big bumps, though you have to be prepared to concede some surface rumble, a traditional foible of this system through the years.

Steering is quite firm and seems to suffer a little “stiction” compared with the Peugeot-related system that accompanied new steel-suspended C5 versions lower down the range, but advantage is brilliant hands-off stability, even at 100 mph.

The engine is refined and gives pretty decent economy, with consumption around 35 mpg being perfectly possible day-to-day, despite the standard-fit six-speed auto.

The only downside is the car’s weight – a stonking 1766kg – which serves to blunt acceleration, despite the engine’s best efforts. Fortunately the transmission’s tall ratios and the motor’s plentiful mid-range puff make it a supremely relaxed high-speed cruiser.

Should I buy one?

A cautious ‘yes’ to this one – with several provisos. Plusher versions of big Citroens have always suffered from resale issues, and although residual experts CAP reckon this one will do far better come resale time, the case isn’t proven yet.

But if you’re looking for the long term – or if the firm is paying – the V6 C5 is a great way to schlep around. Otherwise, wait and see how the residuals settle down. It will be a fantastic three-year-old buy, though.

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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Howard Ward 25 August 2008

Re: Citroën C5 HDi V6 Exclusive

There is a subtle question behind the question i.e.are manufacturers massaging performance figures? There are other Jag/Citroen perfomance parameters which are anomalous and which appear to defy the laws of physics. Compare the C5/XF CO2 and consumption figures. The weights are almost identical and the drag coefficients can't be all that different, given that the maximum speeds are similar, yet the Jag outperforms the C5 by between 10% and 15%. Somebody please explain.

Howard Ward

Berol 24 August 2008

Re: Citroën C5 HDi V6 Exclusive

What I meant to say,before the archaically clunky programming of this forum took over,was that this thing is going to weigh over 1800 kgs in estate form,which is the one thats going to sell.

1800 kgs,think about it,over 300 kgs more than the saloon in 1.6 litre guise,thats 660 lbs or an unbelievable six hundredweight.

Something is not only wrong here , criminal deception is abroad.

Firstly,this is not a particularly roomy vehicle,although it must be said that what it sees as its peers are very bulky indeed.

Internally,which is the only dimension that matters,this is a medium/ large car.

With modern production know-how it would be a bit porky,in estate form,with any likely engine,at 1500kgs.

So where is all this extra 300 bags of sugar distributed?

It may be very rigid,but so was an Austin 1800,at a fraction of the weight.

I am prepared to bet anyone a grand that I could reduce the weight of this vehicle to 1500 kgs without detriment to anything that matters within a year,and all Citroen have to do is pay my reasonable consultancy fees and do exactly what I tell them to.

Since they quite clearly have nobody who can even approach this I shall expect a very speedy response from them.

I just hope its speedier than their response when my last Citroen hit warranty problems.


Berol 22 August 2008

Re: Citroën C5 HDi V6 Exclusive

I imagine t