I grabbed the keys to a Citroën C5 last night; I’ve been impressed by the looks of and, to a certain extent, the approach behind the French firm’s latest saloon, so I was keen to sample it for myself.
If anything, I’d hoped that a spell behind the wheel might allow me to see past Citroën’s ludicrous marketing campaign for the C5. In case you’ve missed the television commercial – and if you watch F1 on ITV then you’ll struggle to do that – it shows a tiresome man displaying lots of Germanic traits that generally irk Britons, then tells us that the C5 is unmistakeably German (as if this would be a positive), then points out that it is, of course, French.
It’s as if some Citroën marketer piped up, “Of course! The reason British BMW and Merc drivers have forked out their hard-earned on those brands is because the cars are built between knockwurst lunches by sword-fighting Bavarians!” (An alternative view being that it’s because they are better engineered, more reliable and hold their value more effectively.)
Anyway, I digress. The C5 in question was a 2.7 HDI Exclusive, effectively the range-topper with a V6 diesel engine. It costs, wait for it, £24,395 – which makes it, I believe, one of the most pointless cars on sale in the UK today.
Now, put aside for a second the fact that the Mondeo outshines the C5 in almost every area of dynamics (except, perhaps, ride quality). Fact is, you don’t even need to look beyond the C5’s own range to find a car that renders the 2.7 HDi irrelevant. It’s called the 2.2 HDi, it costs precisely £3000 less, wants for precious little on the spec sheet, emits 51g/km less of CO2 and manages 9.9mpg more on a combined cycle.
Alas, it is a whole 3mph slower in terms of top speed and the 2.7-litre model will have raced a whole 0.4sec clear in a dash from 0-62mph. But I’d live with it. Or rather, I’d give it a second glance before committing to a Mondeo 2.2 TDCi.