Citroen has an impeccable history of producing wonderfully innovative estate cars including the DS and the CX - so if they seemed to lose their way in the nineties and noughties we find it easy to forgive them. Yet heritage can weigh heavy and some manufacturers have been known to choke as a result.
If Citroen did choke and I think they did theyve put it behind them now. Their recovery, long overdue and much deserved, stalled due to the global recession, which hit them hard at exactly the wrong time. They fought back and did what all great corporations do: they knuckled down and staged their revival through innovative engineering and bold design. The result is a range of cars that, on the whole, gives the customer a little bit more than they thought they needed and a lot more than they thought they wanted.
The Citroen C5 Tourer is gaining respectable reviews and if it doesnt lead the pack (in the way that offerings from Ford, Skoda, and Audi do) it does have its own unique charm, and charm, as we all know, is often more desirable than outright ability...
The C5 Tourer is an elegant interpretation of the usual estate-shape being bold and distinctive and different to the usual German fare; the XM-lineage is obvious and bang-up-to-date.
Chrome trim abounds but looks integrated and works well with twin-exhausts that add a sporty note and could almost be mistaken for quad pipes. Shut-lines are tight and even and, as is so often the case these days, the C5 looks more convincing as an estate that a saloon; hurrah for 2.4 kids and a Labrador.
Our car came with Exclusive trim, which is French for loaded, but even so, Citroens Press Office has blown a large part of its annual budget upgrading it.
It now boasts a HiFi Pack (550), leather seats (975), and rear lateral airbags (270). Thus equipped it feels generous and if it misses luxurious it does so by the narrowest of margins.
Some might complain that the boot isnt especially large by the standards of its peers but I thought that it was big enough for anyone other than those who have the need to carry a wardrobe on a regular basis. And anyway, the self-levelling Hydractive suspension (on the top-spec Exclusive models) keeps everything on an even keel, making up in poise what it might lack in capacity.
One very Citroen-esque touch is the fixed steering wheel hub, which allows the wheel rim to turn independently, keeping the controls in one place. I found this less than convincing and, if Im honest, a bit unnerving at times. Perhaps others can see the benefits
Youd expect a top-flight Citroen to possess exemplary refinement and the C5 doesnt disappoint. The hydro-pneumatic suspension might lack the compliance of the original cars and so good was the original 50 years ago that it was licenced to Rolls Royce but it isnt far off. High-speed, long-distance comfort is up there with the very best. Add in some terrific mid-range punch and you have a very, very effective long-distance business express.
It copes with twisty roads too and while the steering might not be the most engaging youll ever use it does get the job with a soupcon of flair.
Petrolheads are out of luck because you can only buy a C5 Tourer with a diesel engine, presumably to appeal to the business user. (The Benefit in Kind figure for our car is 25%.)
We tested the 2.2-litre HDi 200 with the six-speed automatic gearbox, which produces (funnily enough) 200bhp and 332lb/ft of torque.
Drive it hard and itll reach 62mph in 8.6 seconds and go on to a top speed of 140mph. Both are strictly academic and to drive the big Citroen like that is to miss the point completely. Better by far to exploit that mid-range torque and waft about at high-speeds in complete comfort, dismissing slower traffic with a casual extension of the ankle.
With no effort at all we tickled the feet of 40mpg, so everyday use should produce 45-50mpg. CO2 emissions are 155g/km, putting it into VED Group G.
Value for Money
Our C5 Tourer, with part-leather, bigger alloy wheels, and the Hi-Fi pack (specced, in other words, much as you would want one) cost just over 33,500. That seems quite a lot of money and thats without factoring in depreciation. Leasing is, therefore, the way to go.
The Citroen C5 Tourer is a hard car to dislike. It doesnt do anything badly and does some things remarkably well. It rides beautifully (and the steel-sprung cars are just as good, if not marginally better), is quiet and refined, handles well, and goes as well as anyone needs one to.
As a company car (where someone else is picking up the depreciation) it makes sense. And for a private buyer? Yes, if you lease one - and there are some very good deals out there to be had.
Check out our full Citroen C5 Tourer page with reviews, stats, photos and videos for more.