Citroen C5 HDi 160


Citroen C5, front
Citroen C5, side
Citroen C5, rear
Citroen C5, interior
Citroen C5, back seats
Citroen C5, instruments

AS Citroen goes through a sort or re-invention process via the sleek and sexy DS range some of the established models have inevitably been shuffled into the shade.

If ever there was a Cinderella car of the line-up it is the C5 - a large, family four door that's sort of a French equivalent to the Mondeo or Passat.

It happened along as the recession bit hard in 2008, the SUV sector began its upward climb and the conventional four-door saloon started to decline.

So the dice was somewhat loaded against the pleasingly styled, spacious C5. Yet despite this, it offers the high mileage user an interesting and extremely comfortable alternative to mainstream repmobiles at a competitive price with low running costs, especially if you go for a diesel version.

I tried the 2.0-litre HDi in flagship Exclusive guise. This means for a list price of £25,670 - and realistically expect a heavy discount - you get electric front seats, alloy wheels, parking sensors, dual zone climate control and tyre pressure monitors.

The source of power is the tried and tested 2.0-litre diesel which packs a healthy 160bhp, sufficient to give it a 130mph maximum and acceleration to 62mph in a respectable 9.1 seconds.

It's not the quietest of engine but the high-gear pick-up is strong. The Citroen is at its best when cruising at motorway speeds or leisurely swallowing up the miles along sweeping A-roads.

There's quite a bit of roll if you hurry it into bends although the front drive design ensures cornering is safe and predictable in a non-sporty way.

Steering is heavily power assisted and insulates the driver against poor roads. Unfortunately, it also acts to prevent messages getting through to the helm when you are pressing on around bends.

The seats are among the best available and compliment the absorbent ride - our pock-marked, pot-holed roads are smoothed out in a way that few saloons can match, even luxury brands.

Noise levels are pleasantly low at cruising speeds, further boosting the car's refinement. Only at start-up or when revved hard does the HDi engine sound a bit rattly.

The six-speed gearbox has a high top gear which also benefits economy during long journeys.

Despite its substantial size - the C5 is 4.8 metres long - the turbo diesel manages an official 57.6mpg combined and meagre emissions level of 129g/km, making it one of the better models in its class. My average fuel consumption was 44mpg.

The cabin, though spacious enough for four to travel in comfort is beginning to show its age and lacks the ambience and style of the new Passat or latest Mondeo.

The boot is fairly shallow but extends deep into the car and car carry a decent 439 litres of luggage.

There isn't a lot of oddment space within the car and one gripe are the door pockets which are too narrow to squeeze in a pair of Oakleys.


Citroen C5 HDi 160 Exclusive

Price: £25,670

Mechanical: 160bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 9.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 57.6

Insurance Group: 25

C02 emissions: 129g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles


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