Citroen C5

The Essentials

  • Price from £19,895
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 62.8mpg
  • What is it? Designed with plenty of French flair and very comfortable but not as big or sensible as a Ford Mondeo.

Great

  • Chic design puts some ooh la la into your family car
  • So quiet you can hear a pin drop... in Paris
  • Safety and security features should keep car and contents intact

Gripes

  • Dash layout is dazzlingly difficult to navigate
  • Saloon styling won?t suit the family dog
  • Sell it (too soon) and prepare to weep
  • Drive

    Excellent choice of diesel engines, good to drive and an almost zen-like tranquillity inside

  • Inside

    Too many fiddly buttons and some limited visibility

  • Safety

    Seven airbags as well as stability control to keep you on track if you skid. Hard-to-break laminated glass beefs up the good security

  • Reliability

    Citroen is improving and the car has been rated 'average' by owners

  • Space

    Saloon styling limits practicality, but there's ample space for passengers and the rear seats fold flat to extend the boot

  • Standard and extras

    All three trims are well equipped, but you can add luxuries such as massaging seats

  • What's it like to drive?

    Like travelling in your favourite armchair, driving the C5 is wonderfully comfortable, deeply peaceful and not terribly exciting. Choose between one petrol and three diesel engines (we like the 1.6-litre diesel) and two different suspension systems. More expensive models have Citroen?s hydropneumatic suspension which smoothes out most of the bumps but neither system stops the car wallowing through bends. The clunky gearshift and shortage of steering feedback are disappointing too. On the plus side, it's very quiet inside.

  • What's it like inside?

    Everything inside feels plush and smart but the dash isn't easy enough to navigate - there's simply too much information on the dials and too many fiddly buttons. Five can travel comfortably and there's plenty of seat and wheel adjustment to keep the driver happy. The knees-raised driving position does feel a bit strange, however.
    Sometimes we must suffer for beauty and the C5's saloon bodyshape makes loading big square items more challenging. That said, the boot opening is large and the back seats fold flat to extend the space available.

  • How reliable is it?

    From laminated windows for security to headlamps that shine around corners, the C5 has you covered. It scored 81% for adult protection and 77% for child protection in Euro NCAP crash tests; better than a Mercedes C Class which scored 82% and 70% but not a match for the VW Passat (91% and 77% respectively).
    Owners in the latest JD Power customer survey rated the C5's reliability as average.

  • Should I buy one?

    Don't come crying to us if you plan to sell your C5 Estate after a year and realise it's already lost half its value. You have been warned. Leasing rates make it a sensible company car choice but unfortunately the cleanest, most efficient model has a jerky semi-auto gearbox.
    All models have air-con, electric windows and cruise control but we'd opt for at least the VTR+ Nav spec, which adds sat-nav with Bluetooth and alloy wheels.