index page Wintons Opinion cars index page Global Warming stories page under construction
First reviews, more pictures of the latest, hottest cars
citroen c5 review
Citroen C5
Citroen Sharpens C5 Looks With Face-Lift
citroen c5 review
citroen c5 review
citroen c5 review
citroen c5 review

High Tech Gizmos Warn Dozy Drivers, Limit Speed, Swivel Headlights
C5’s Suspension Still Class Leading
*** out of 5

Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire
The Citroen C5 needed a facelift from the day it was conceived. Its massive, chubby, shapeless frame was in dull contrast to the wonderful machines made by Citroen in the past. Compared with its predecessors, the C5 was just plain dull. Citroen aficionados must have been bitterly disappointed.

Citroen has gone some way to jazzing up the car. The C5’s front end has been upgraded to reflect the new corporate look. The headlights sweep into what Citroen calls a “boomerang” style. There is a new sculpted bonnet, now in aluminium.

The rear end has been tidied up too, with new lamp clusters.

The C5 certainly has more presence than the old model, but not much. The C5 though has received some radical new gizmos which will go some way to setting the car apart from other rivals in this sector, like the Toyota Avensis and Volkswagen Passat.

Right Buttock Gets It
There’s the Lane Departure Warning System, which activates a vibrator if drivers doze off and start to lose control. When the computer detects that the car has started to wander across white lines, it sets off a vibrating mechanism under the right or left side of the driver’s seat. If you move to the right, your right buttock gets it; to the left and the left cheek gets zapped. If you don’t like it, you can switch it off.

There’s a speed limiter, standard on most new C5s, which you can set to make sure you don’t exceed speed limits by more than amount which will get you a ticket. I’ve sampled this on the Renault Vel Satis and it is very useful. Driving in rural Gloucestershire though, with what seems like constant changes in the speed limit from 30 mph to 60, back to 40 and then 50, you might wear out the manual setting, or crash into the trees while fiddling with it. A voice controlled system would be better.
Headlights Swivel
Citroen pioneered swivelling headlights in the old DS, and the C5 brings the technology up to date with Xenon Dual Function Directional Headlamps. I didn’t drive the car in the dark, so I can’t comment on how well this works. There are parking sensors front and rear. All C5s will have 7 airbags, with traction control as standard. All known safety acronyms are incorporated too.

Half of the six petrol and diesel engines are new to the C5 range – two latest generation common rail diesel units – the 110 bhp 1.6 HDI and 138 bhp 2.0 HDI – that claim around 50 mpg fuel economy and low CO2 emissions, as well as a 143 bhp 2.0i 16V petrol power-plant. A new 6-speed automatic gearbox makes its first appearance mated to the 3.0i V6 petrol motor, while a 6-speed manual is fitted to the new 2.0 HDI.

Inside, the dashboard and centre console have been revised, with new style instrument dials.

Fantastic Suspension
All this new technology aside, it is the car’s ride and handling which sets it apart from the pack. The Hydractive suspension gives a fantastically supple ride, wafting the car effortlessly and quietly over harsh surfaces. At motorway speeds the suspension will automatically adopt a lower, front down stance to improve aerodynamics, stability and fuel economy. On poorer, bumpier surfaces, the suspension is raised to give greater ground clearance. Heavy load carrying is simplified because the Hydractive suspension chooses the right height. There is button you can push to choose a sporty suspension setting. This button will probably be in pristine, unused condition on the day the car goes to the junkyard.

“Exceptionally Well Equipped”
Prices start at under £15,000 (21,700 euros) with the 1.8i LX coming in at £14,795 (21,395 euros). The cheapest estate car is £15,865 (22,940 euros). Citroen said the C5 is exceptionally well equipped, with every model in the range having 7 airbags, ESP with traction control, an alarm and fully automatic air conditioning – “equipment that, where available, would add up to £750 (1,100 euros) to the cost of most Mondeos and Vectras”.

The 2.0 litre diesel would be my choice. If only the instruments showed you which gear you were in, like in the new Land Rover Discovery.

Neil Winton – October 16, 2004

Citroen C5 2.0 HDI
1,997 cc 4 cylinder diesel
138 bhp
6 speed manual
0-62-0-100 km/h 9.8 seconds
Top Speed:
127 mph-204 km/h
Fuel Consumption:
claimed combined – 47.1 mpg-6.0 l/100 km
158 g/km
4,745 mm
Suspension front:
Suspension rear:
MacPherson strut independent
Insurance Group:
£17,795 (25,700 euros)
Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall/Opel Vectra, VW Passat, Honda Accord, Mazda 6, Toyota Avensis, Nissan Primera, Hyundai Sonata, Peugeot 407, Renault Laguna, Saab 9-3, Skoda Superb
Would I buy one?
No. With all that choice, buy the best deal
*** out of 5
class-winning ride
still looks bland, expect dodgy residuals

home page / more reviews / auto industry news / top of page