What is it?
As you’ll no doubt have worked out from the pictures, this is the Citroën C5 Tourer. Cavernous estate models have always been a big part of the quirky Citroën appeal (think CX, BX and XM), especially with hydro-pneumatic suspension systems eliminating the need for suspension intrusion into the rear cabin.
Recently, after several years in a wilderness of mundane design and mediocrity (think Xantia and old C5), Citroën has returned to its old, more interesting and innovative ways with cars like the C4 and new C5 saloon.
What’s it like?
In the C5 Tourer, this innovative design approach manifests itself in some very clever design touches for the load bay. Along with the advantages of self-levelling suspension, the higher-spec versions of the Tourer also get a button in the boot that raises or lowers the rear suspension to aid loading.
Another particularly smart trick is the optional powered boot lid. There are other estates that do this, but where the C5 really scores is that you can ‘teach’ the hatch to stop at a specified point. Useful if you need to load or unload something in a restricted space.
Citroën covers the more conventional practicalities of a large estate, too.
There’s a decent low load lip, the seats fold completely flat and the boot floor has runners fitted as standard to aid the moving around of large objects.
The C5 falls down rather spectacularly at the last hurdle, however. A minimum load capacity of 505 litres and a maximum of 1462 litres make the C5 one of the least capacious cars in the class. By contrast, a Vauxhall Vectra will swallow a whopping 1850 litres. Even a Skoda Octavia estate gets more space, with 1620 litres.
On the road, the estate is pretty much the same as the saloon, which means an incredibly relaxing experience.
The 171bhp 2.2-litre diesel is hushed, and the ride comfort over any roads is superb. But the light, remote-feeling steering and ample body roll discourages too much spirited driving.