- Excellent levels of comfort
- Two bodystyles to choose from
- Economical powertrains
- Rivals have more kerb appeal
- Tech may feel dated
- No sporty model on offer
What's the Citroën C5 like?
Some car makers are now learning the lesson that most buyers would rather have more comfort than the lower quality of ride that often comes from sports suspension.
But Citroën knew that years ago when it came up with the C5, which at the time the first model came out in 2001, was one of the best riding cars in the world.
Here, I’ll concentrate on the model built between 2008 and 2018, as saloon and estate.
Citroën’s reputation for reliability had improved dramatically when this third-generation model came along and it's right up there with the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia at the top of the large family car class.
Coming back to that superb ride, it really is the very best you can get for the money, wafting occupants along in cosseting comfort over all surfaces.
So good is it, that it’s more comfortable than most Audis or BMWs in the executive class above and even better than some luxury saloons costing three times as much.
The big Citroën’s amazing fluidity over the worst of surfaces is an absolute revelation and shows just how comfortable a car can be.
The excellence doesn’t stop there either. It also hugs the road through corners, with very little roll and tremendous levels of grip.
This is backed up by fantastic balance and safety even on the limit and the only downside is slightly lifeless steering.
There's just one petrol engine and that’s the ubiquitous Peugeot/Citroën 1.6-litre THP turbo, which is available in both 120 and 156bhp power outputs.
Despite being quick enough for 0 to 60mph in about 8.6 seconds, the smooth and quiet higher output unit is also decently economical, managing a best of 40mpg.
But of course, the petrol models were hugely outsold by the diesels – always a strong point in the Citroën armoury. Smallest is a 1.6-litre HDi with 115bhp, which offers decent performance and excellent economy of 53mpg.
The other diesel is a 2.0-litre HDi with either 140, 150 or 160bhp, and the best of them – the Blue HDi – has a government average of 67mpg, while still managing the 60mph sprint in 9.1 seconds.
The most likely models to find used are those with the top selling 140bhp 2.0-litre, which offer good performance and 48mpg.
The standard gearbox is a 6-speed manual with an easy change and a light clutch, but the 2.0-litre engines were also available with a 6-speed automatic.
Equipment in the mid-range VTR includes traction control, alarm, climate control, plenty of seat and column adjustment and cruise.
It also has audio remote controls, heated mirrors, folding back seats, six airbags and electric windows all round.
All of the above details also apply to the estate, which is simply a more practical version of the same car.
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More interested in comfort than thrills? The Citroën C5 may very well tick your boxes. A super-refined ride, good levels of practicality and economical powertrains are just a few of the reasons as to why the C5 is a great choice.