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Tested: Citroen C5 3.0D

2010-04-15 12:13

Sergio Davids

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Citroen
Model C5
Engine 3.0l V6 HDi
Power 177kW @ 3 800r/min
Torque 450Nm @ 1 600r/min
Transmission 6 speed automatic
Zero To Hundred 7.9 seconds
Fuel Consumption 6.8l
Steering Power steering
Airbags Dual front and side
Price R465 000

Citroën has introduced perhaps its most important model since its relaunch into the South African market - the new C5 flagship.

This model is the French manufacturer's standout attempt at making a dent in the premium sedan arena, which is firmly in the hands of the German car-making trio.

It might not be the best looking new entrant in the premium sedan market but with its smooth ride, unique looks and pricing it does set itself apart from the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.


In the looks department, the C5’s appearance is clean and presentable.

From the side, the vehicle’s extended roofline, high waistline and sculpted wheel arches appear simple but combine to give the car a very elegant profile.

The C5's signature two-part boomerang-shaped taillight below the rear screen adds plenty of style to the otherwise-simple rear end with its flowing lines that wrap onto the flanks. Chrome strips forming the Citroën logo on the bonnet are a great touch, too, and the model definitely exudes a sense of quality with a touch of French flair.


The 3.0-litre diesel V6 engine produces 177 kW at 3 800 r/min and a substantial 450 Nm of torque from as low as 1 600 r/min. Combined with superb in-gear acceleration, flooring the C5 will instantly put a grin on your face.

The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, with a manual function for those who would prefer to be more in control. The combined fuel consumption cycle is rated at a fair 6.8l/100km, considering the sizes of the car and of its power plant.


Citroën’s Hydractive III hydro-pneumatic, as borrowed from the larger C6, is standard on the C5. It is controlled by sensors on each axle and has two settings – “normal” and “sport”. While the suspension’s regular setting is more than adequate and the C5 handles very well when using it, a “sport” button on the centre console activates the athletic properties of the C5. With the sport function enabled, gear ratios are altered for sportier shifts and the suspension stiffened. It also sounds amazing. 

In the standard setting, the Hydractive III suspension also has load leveling properties, maintaining the vehicle’s ride height, regardless of the load and number of passengers. This translates into a comfortable ride whether you're cruising around on bumpy roads or making your way across the city.


The interior of the C5 is where this car really shines. Manufacturers will often throw cash at designers who tend to forget that we spend 90% of our time inside our vehicles. With this in mind, Citroën have definitely done the C5’s interior justice with pleasing and intuitive interior design. The spacious interior matches the eye-catching exterior with generous proportions and a cosseting ambience.

The car’s interior boasts the French marque's second-generation, fixed-hub steering wheel that offers great functionality. Instrumentation is placed on the steering wheel’s fixed hub, which means that the controls remain in a fixed position, regardless of which way the wheel is turned.

C5’s cabin’s look-and-feel, instrumentation and switchgear all speak to the vehicle's sophistication, though I can't help feeling it could come across as being overwhelming. This feeling is made even worse at night when the red backlit controls stand out, even at the mildest setting.

The seats are extraordinarily comfortable; there's even a heating option for those front occupants that enjoy a toasty posterior during winter mornings.


There has been some perception that the quality of French cars is not always quite up to standard, but Citroën leapfrogs this statement with the C5. You immediately get the sense of class in the new C5 where the soft leather and chrome trimmings used throughout the interior add to the luxurious driving experience.

The C5 boasts plenty of interior space, coupled with a massive boot, to make for a great family vehicle. One of the biggest drawbacks of owning a large sedan is not being able to nip in and out of parking spots, but the parking assist works very well and is extremely helpful when you're trying park.

I do have one major gripe, however petty they may be. This car has loads of features, two suspension modes, a great V6 engine, but no automated petrol cap release? I was the laughing stock at my local fuel station when I had to hand over the keys to fill up.


Citroën's C5 is a thoroughly enjoyable sedan with plenty of creature comforts, sublime driving manners and not a bad looker. Overall a great vehicle but it remains to be seen what Citroën can do about the dreaded parts and after sales queries once you've driven this beauty off the showroom floor.

C5 3.0 HDi V6 Automatic - R465 000

Can Citroen's new C5 take on the German car-making trio? Share your thoughts here!


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