$41,190 – $59,100
Good: Smart design; classy interior; quiet and refined highway ride; excellent individuality (yet still sensible).
Not so Good: Pricey; heavier than previous model; sport mode = harsher ride; lacks steering feel.
Design and Engineering
Good : The latest generation C5 Tourer (or wagon to most folks) followed the sedan by a year to arrive Down Under (on sale from November 2009). We think it looks fantastic and are big fans of the elegant lines. The Exclusive grade comes with smart looking 18 inch alloys (the Comfort grades ride on 17-inch alloys).
Not so good : At almost 1,700kg the most popular 2.0-litre diesel grade (actually popular is the wrong word to use as C5’s are a niche player in Australia) is on the heavy side for a medium segment vehicle, but in its defense the C5 is significantly bigger than a BMW 3-Series or Audi A4 wagon.
Interior and Styling
Good : A Classy and modern interior. As with a number of modern Citroen’s the steering wheel has a fixed centre hub (nice to see at least one quirky touch), is leather finished and on the Exclusive grade has tasteful chrome inserts.
The steering wheel adjusts for both reach and rake and the large front seats are comfortable. We liked the Exclusive grade’s ambient night lighting with motion sensors in the door pockets and the rear passenger side window sunblinds – just a couple of little things that show Citroen is thinking of the end user.
Rear cargo capacity is a decent at 505 litres or 1462 litres with the second row split-fold bench folded down. Thanks to the C5’s air suspension, the rear sill height can be lowered by 60mm to help with loading. Standard in the rear is a rechargeable torch, bag hooks, tie-down rings, a 12 volt outlet (and another in the front), protection netting and a security blind.
Not so good : Too small buttons in the centre dash panel – a common trait for a premium vehicle without a mouse control or touch screen interface. The storage compartments are on the small side and one cupholder in the front row isn’t enough for the target market mum and dad who are both likely to enjoy a quality cup of coffee. The rear seat folding down mechanism should be simpler to use.
Good : Two engines on offer, both Turbo Diesel’s – a four cylinder 2.0L with 120kW of power and 340Nm of torque and a V6 3.0L with 177kW and 450Nm. Whilst the smaller engine has significantly less power than the big V6, don’t discount it as we found it to have adequate cruising ability, staying quiet and smooth when driven normally. Whilst the spec sheet 0-100km/h sprint won’t worry a base model Holden Commodore, in real world driving it is o.k. for non lead foot drivers and the six speed auto is a good fit, ensuring smooth gear changes.
Not so good : The 2.0-litre diesel is a little noisy at high revs, and has to be worked hard to move what is a relatively large vehicle. Turbo lag is also apparent when in slower moving urban traffic.
Ride and Handling
Good : The hydro pneumatic suspension (now going by the name Hydractive III+) features automatic ride height adjustment and rides superbly over smooth surfaces. Road noise is kept to an impressively low level over all but broken up road surfaces. Light steering is great for parking and inner city traffic.
Not so good : The C5 becomes unsettled over sharp bumps. The sport mode suspension setting firms up the ride, but we still wouldn’t call it sporty. In Citroen’s defense the C5 isn’t, nor does it want to be, another sports wagon (if you’re after sports ride and handling, try the half size smaller Mercedes-Benz C-Class or BMW 3-Series wagons). Steering lacks feedback at speed.
Buying and Owning
Good : The C5 has been awarded the top star rating in independent European crash tests. Standard on all grades are seven airbags, including a Driver’s knee airbag, Electronic stability control and Anti lock brakes.
The Exclusive grade ups the airbag count to nine. This grade also features laminated side windows (contributing to the excellent quiet cabin), swiveling bi-xenon headlights, parking sensors front and rear, and tyre pressure monitors.
Not so good : The comfort grade misses out on Bluetooth (disappointing in a vehicle of this price) and Satellite Navigation should be standard on the Exclusive grades.