Friday, 17 May 2013 3:41 PM
The size of a boot is extremely important, especially if you have a growing family, like me.
And so it is disappointing that so many hatchbacks and saloons lack in this area. Even the Jaguar XJ, while having a seemingly long one does not have the necessary depth for bulky items. It is therefore refreshing to find that the Citroen C5 has a cavernous boot, large enough to swallow a cumbersome tandem pushchair as you can see in the video at testdrives.biz I am impressed.
Externally the car’s rear doesn’t look ugly either, in fact on approaching it early one morning, from the side it looks like a Mercedes C-class thanks to the similar styling. It is also helpful that the rear seats split and fold as well as featuring a useful hatch for long awkward items to run the length of the car. When I tested the Jaguar XJ last week I was surprised that this model didn’t have split fold rear seats owing to the fact that they were electrically adjustable.
My eyebrows remain suitably raised when I open the doors of the C5 and find the rear windows fitted with sun blinds that easily pull up and down. They effectively shield little passengers Harriett and Heidi from the bright sunshine that has finally decided to appear during the road test.
Inside there is a feeling of being fairly low to the ground thanks its stance on the road, helping it feel quite sporty. It does seem to be quite a wide car and despite possessing reasonable spatial awareness I find manoeuvring it a little tricky although I’m still able to reverse park into a fairly tight spot without trouble.
As regular readers will know, I do suffer from a bad back and when I tested the Jaguar XJ last week I foolishly over-used its seat massage function, which has subsequently resulted in severe back pain. Exercise, as always, is helping but this experience has made me even more critical of driver’s seats. The electrically adjustable and heated one in the Citroen could do with a better lumbar support but that’s my only complaint.
The C5 is a capable family car and provides a comfortable ride. However, it is also quite a sporty saloon thanks to a sports mode function, which provides a more punchy performance while a sports suspension switch hardens the ride. The six-speed auto box can also be used as a manual for greater driving pleasure.
A little way into the test I realise that the striking steering wheel rotates around a fixed column complete with cruise control and radio functions. This takes a little getting used to, especially if lazy hands rest on it. I have not driven another car with such a unique steering wheel. It’s a good idea because for instance, in my wife’s old Fiat Punto, if you’re going round a roundabout and want to turn the volume down it can be tricky with the steering wheel mounted controls invariably being upside down.
The C5 is also equipped with all the luxuries today’s motorists would expect including sat nav, all round electric windows and air conditioning. The rear window coated in early morning dew does take a long time to demist, though.
Motorway cruising is made easy by cruise control, which keeps the set speed within one or two mph, regardless of incline. Over long distances the adjustable front centre armrest provides added comfort for the driver and front passenger.
Externally, when savouring the stylish C5 from the side there are the smallest welcome hints of the past from the distinctive CX, SM and GS models of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Good design does draw on the past, in my opinion.
Overall, this economical diesel is a competent performer and that cavernous boot scores very highly with me.
Citroen C5 2.0 HDI 16V Exclusive (160bhp) (Techno Pack) 4d Auto
New price: approx. £28,625
Top speed: 130mph
By Tim Saunders