C5 Tourer 2.0 HDi VTR+
Citroen C5 braves an uncertain
New Year. But its
got what it takes
because it is cost effective, stylish
and practical and thats
what car owners need right now...
WITH THE SEVERE DOWNTURN IN THE NEW CAR MARKET, especially with a shortage
of retail customers, business users and fleet operators now hold the key to
maintaining volume sales in 2009 for all manufacturers.
Although retail buyers are putting off changing their cars now or if
they are, then they are generally downsizing fleet and business customers
have no option but to change their cars on a regular three-year cycle in line
with the duration of the finance, lease and contract hire agreements.
Citroen has long been the 'value for money' champion for the retail buyer but
in the current economic climate maintaining, or at least limiting, the drop
in overall sales, volumes will depend on what deals can be done with fleet and
Luckily for Citroen they introduced the all new C5 Saloon and Tourer estate
models to the UK in 2008. To date, 70 per cent of their 5,000 new C5 sales have
been to fleet and business users and in the last few months of 2008 the
C5 became the best-selling French-built model in its sector, outselling the
ageing Peugeot 407 and new Renault Laguna.
The Saloon is the largest seller of the two body styles, accounting for two
thirds of C5 sales so far, but interest in estates in the upper medium D-segment
is growing as users move away from large MPVs and 4x4s, so the C5 Tourer should
emerge as a strong sales contender in 2009. However, it still faces stiff competition
from the top-selling Ford Mondeo, the new Vauxhall Insignia (the European Car
of the Year), the Honda Accord and VW Passat all of which will also be
on business and fleet shopping lists.
To get their 2009 sales off to a good start Citroen are offering zero per cent
finance terms over three years with a 30% deposit on all C5 models. For customers
both retail and business through their Elect 3 PCP personal contract
purchase scheme, the C5 models are available with a 10% deposit with a typical
payment, depending on the exact model, of around £349 a month for three years
at an interest rate of 5.9%.
Following on from my first drive, I've just
been catching up with the C5 Tourer, Citroen's very stylish five-door estate
priced from £16,639 up to £25,251. Various engine choices are available
1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol; 1.6, 2.0, 2.2 and 2.7-litre HDi diesels and
the 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0/2.7-litre diesel units have the option of an automatic
transmission. There are also three equipment levels: SX, VTR+ and Exclusive.
VTR+ is the most popular choice with fleet and business customers, whilst 70%
of retail buyers go for the fully-kitted Exclusive models.
The single best-selling Tourer model is the 2.0 HDi 138bhp with VTR+ specification
and a price of £19,476, as tested here.
The headlines for the C5 Tourer are stylish, roomy, well built and well equipped.
Citroen's cars, it goes without saying, have a certain 'style' and their cars
always seem to look different from other mainstream brands. If you remember,
the latest C5 was launched as having German 'looks' and quality, but with French
flair. All true.
The C5 remains a true Citroen, with a sleek wedge-shaped rising waistline linking
an elegant front with the familiar horizontally-slatted grille and a sculptured
aerodynamic looking tail. Roof bars elongate the design still further. The overall
length of the Tourer is 4,800mm long enough to limit a few parking space
options but the front and rear parking sensors help.
The long length and extra width does mean really good leg and shoulder room
for front and rear passengers alike, plus a huge load space ranging from 505
to 1,462 litres. However, due to the futuristic and aerodynamic shape of the
rear tailgate window and the small rear side windows, visibility at the back
is not that great.
All models have cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, adaptive
front lighting, acoustic sound and heat reflecting front windscreen and numerous
front, side and curtain airbags; and most models have an automatic electronic
parking brake and hill-start assist. All models also have Citroen's futuristic
fixed-hub steering wheel which houses duplicate controls for many functions.
Indeed there are buttons and controls liberally situated throughout the front
dashboard and console. They are quite confusing and some buttons are really
very small and not at all user friendly.
My test VTR+ version, the best-selling model, had a very high level of specification
as standard. Too many items to mention but 17-inch alloy wheels, front/rear
electric windows and door mirrors, automatic lights/wipers, halogen headlights,
fog lights, ABS, electronic stability programme and traction control plus a
premium quality interior lighting system give you an idea how well specified
this improved quality C5 now is.
In true Citroen tradition the C5, in both body forms, is a very comfortable
car. This generation C5 has the option of a conventional coil spring and damper
suspension or Citroen's usual 'floating carpet' air system. For me there is
no choice: steel is best because this system provides better, more controlled
and trustworthy handling and yet it remains remarkably comfortable. The electronic
power steering is somewhat vague and will not appeal to drivers who like sports
handling. The C5 is built for style, comfort and accommodating space
typically French then.
The power unit in my test C5 Tourer was the long-serving and current best-selling
2.0-litre, 138bhp HDi turbodiesel unit. Now, and without telling tales, this
engine is due for an upgrade and the 140bhp Euro 5 version is already in the
Peugeot 407 range. The new engine is a little stronger mid-range, quieter at
tickover and cleaner, so it cheaper for VED road tax and BIK company car tax.
However, this current 138bhp engine in the C5 Tourer I found to be better for
fuel economy! The new 140bhp engine tried recently in a Peugeot 407 SW estate
returned 43.5mpg. The older unit in the C5 Tourer returned 48.7mpg. The driving
conditions, vehicle load and the weather conditions were similar, so I think
it is a fair comparison. Officially, the 138bhp HDi C5 Tourer returns 35.3,
46.3 and 56.5mpg respectively on the urban, combined and extra-urban cycles.
There is certainly nothing wrong with the 138bhp unit, and mated with the slick
6-speed gearbox and with 236lb ft of torque available from 2,000rpm it is a
responsive and flexible performer. Indeed, it made very light work of coping
with French autoroutes as well as the twisting Cotswold lanes closer to home.
The previous C5 models were well loved by the towing fraternity and I'm already
starting to see new C5 models on our roads with tow bars. For the record, the
C5 Tourer with the 138bhp diesel engine has a 1,800kg maximum braked towing
Not so appealing is the C5's dull steering response, confusing switches and
controls and limited rear visibility. Also, real life residual values are as
yet unknown. On the plus side the C5 can offer stylish good looks, it's roomy,
well equipped and has a very comfortable ride. In addition, there is a good
choice of engines and it's well priced in its class.
Although the new C5 in either Saloon or Tourer form is a very striking and well
equipped vehicle, the segment it sells in is suffering heavily from shrinking
sales as customers downsize. The competition in this class is also tough, coming
as it does from the Ford Mondeo and the soon-to-be-with-us Vauxhall Insignia.
However Citroen will always be competitive on price and offers so the C5 should
not be overlooked by money-wise drivers private, fleet or business.
Citroen C5 Tourer 2.0 HDi VTR+ | £19,476
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 12.1 seconds
Overall test MPG: 48.7mpg | Power: 138bhp | Torque: 236lb ft
CO2 160g/km | VED Band D £145 | Insurance group 10E