There are certain objects you simply cannot polish effectively, but Citroën’s designers have had a fair stab at bringing the C5 up to date as well injecting a modicum of excitement to the styling of a car largely forgotten in its class.
New headlights and the latest corporate grille, which includes Citroën’s double chevrons, set a far more assertive tone up front while restyled L-shaped lamps and a bumper-mounted number plate tidy the rear. It’s not pretty and the overall proportions are still odd, but it’s a dramatic improvement. Shame the same can’t be said for the (fantastically comfortable) interior whose curvy dashboard and brittle plastics have dated badly, despite some minor fettling that has updated the switchgear design and instrument graphics.
Major mechanical changes include a new 1.6-litre 109bhp, 192lb ft turbo-diesel which is very refined, if a bit short on poke and slightly low geared. But the most satisfying drivetrain combination is the also-new 136bhp 2.0-litre HDi with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Though fractionally less refined than its little brother, the 2.0-litre offers effortless mid-range punch thanks to an overboost function that supplies 251lb ft of torque to the front wheels at full load. Both engines are Euro4 compliant. Choose an automatic ’box for your diesel and you’ll get the old 2.2-litre HDi engine which still attracts the 18 per cent tax loading. There are no plans to slot the 2.7-litre V6 diesel co-developed by Ford and PSA under the bonnet of the current C5.