Citroen has certainly provided one of the best rides in the sector with the new C5 – and there are other strong points too. There are acres of interior space and the C5 looks superb inside and out.
It features a sleeker design in and out and feels and looks well put together and well designed; reassuringly German indeed.
However, the C5 adds a touch of French flair to the styling, and it is enough to make it stand out from the often subdued executive car crowd.
It is arguably the best-looking family-size saloon on the market, and the latest version of the C5 matches this with quality and improved driving dynamics as well.
Refinement is high – driving the C5 is a relaxed affair, the suspension compliant without being wallowy and interior noise hushed. Light steering makes it easier to navigate around town, while the C5 will make a superb motorway cruiser with either of the available suspensions.
The standard suspension provides a smooth, comfortable ride – but the optional Hydractive suspension theoretically makes for an even more relaxed ride, something that may appeal to drivers mindful of pitted UK roads.
If that isn’t enough, massaging seats should help to iron out any bumps received from the pothole-strewn roads.
Alongside several strong petrol models there are also diesel units – the 140bhp 2.0-litre unit we took out returns over 50mpg on the combined cycle and provided good torque through the rev range for a nine second sprint to 62mph.
At the other end of the scale, a powerful 3.0-litre HDi V6 delivers 240hp and sits at the top of the range in higher spec models. There is also a choice of manual or automatic transmission.
Standard specification is strong – including cruise control, air con, adaptive front lighting, hill start and an acoustic sound- and heat-reflecting front windscreen.
Higher specification models even come with some mood lighting – a sure fire indicator the French marque is aiming for the executive market with the C5. However, the car is also practical and comes with some clever storage solutions.
There are 439-litres of boot space but there’s a good opening and the rear seats fold down. There are also a number of small cubby holes and a good size glovebox – and plenty of knee- and shoulder room for passengers.
All in all, the Citroen C5 feels well put together inside and is well cosseted, with road noise minimal even at higher speeds. It represents a leap forward in quality from Citroen’s small car range (the upmarket DS Line excepted) and should do enough to steal sales from some of the mid-size German saloons.
This will no doubt be helped along by the price; £16,500 will give you an entry-level model, undercutting many of its rivals.
The Citroen C5 ticks all the boxes for style, comfort and accommodating space – all in all, it’s typically French.
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