Citroen C5 Review: 2009 Model | C5 | Car Buyers Guide

2009 Citroen C5 Review

I have to admit, I enjoy those German Citroen TV ads. The chap they picked to play Hans is a delightful caricature of the German stereotype and he makes you believe that if a Citroen C5 can satisfy his exacting standards, it’s good enough for anyone. But can a French car really be that German?

Um, no. Our 1.6 HDi Dynamique saloon couldn’t look any more Gallic if it was draped in a tricolore and was used to deliver garlic and baguettes. It’s a sharp looker in its glossy black paintwork and perched on standard 17-inch alloys; it’s awash with sophisticated surfacing and tasteful detailing, even if there's a tad too much plastic ‘chrome’ and the wheels look a tad tiddly tucked into its vast wheelarches. Despite what the ads imply, it's French and it's gorgeous, and it's even prettier than an estate.

Sadly, it's very French inside, too. The dashboard is somewhat randomly laid out, with too many fussy displays and an overworked dial cluster. The clever fixed steering wheel boss is no more useful than ordinary steering-wheel buttons and there are so many switch blanks it feels like ‘le specification poverté’. It's also rather average in terms of interior space, particularly in the rear, but the seats are exceptionally comfy and the boot is vast.

On the move the 110hp, 240Nm 1.6 HDi acquits itself surprisingly well, managing to haul the 1,503kg C5 around with surprising verve, helped by a slick gearbox and distinct lack of turbo lag. Its 13.4 second 0-100km/h time and 192km/h top speed are typically lacklustre diesel figures – it feels much livelier on the move and it's certainly a light drinker, too. To drive, it’s an odd mix, combining a sharp steering with ample front end grip but throw it around and you get copious roll and sloppy body control. The ride quality of this steel-sprung model is hugely impressive at day-to-day speeds on all but the roughest of roads but there's a whiff of choppiness at low speed and way too much wallow as the pace quickens. In the end, you give up and chug everywhere in a disinterested fashion.

The mid-range Dynamique model comes loaded with toys including dual-zone climate control, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, ESC, seven airbags, adaptive headlamps etc. Then again, at a rather steep €30,000, it would want to be well equipped. If someone else is paying and you have mega-mileage to cover every year, then by all means grab yourself a C5 and enjoy the best long-distance muncher this side of a Saab 9-5. But if it's your own cash, if you need real interior space or if you've got a few twisty roads on your commute, I’d still plum for something Allegmendé.



Citroen C5 1.6 HDi Dynamique



1,560cc 4-cyl turbo diesel



110hp, 240Nm



5-speed manual



0-100km/h 13.4 seconds


Top Speed

192 km/h



5.6 litres/100km


CO2 Emissions



CO2 Tax Band

C €290 p.a.





Boot Capacity

439 Litres


Base Price



Price As Tested




Looks, economy, comfort



Space, handling, price






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