2003 Citroen C5 SX 2.2 HDi from UK and Ireland


A reliable, comfortable cruiser


Nothing at all.

General Comments:

Fuel consumption is somewhat higher than the brochure states. It now returns 38-40MPG, but before it hit 10,000 miles it was in the low 30's.

Engine seems to have loosened up nicely now, very responsive and more economical.

Build quality seems faultless.

The C5 is extremely comfortable, although there is no lumbar support or base angle adjustment that I had on my last car, I have had no trouble getting comfortable. The armrests on the SX models and above are excellent for long distance cruising.

Hydractive suspension with Sport mode provides excellent ride quality and prevents body roll when pressing on.

Automatic lights have a habit of coming on when you don't want them to, but you can turn the auto system off.

Auto wipers are good.

The C5 is not a car well suited to throwing round country lanes at high speeds - it's a big heavy car and feels more at home cruising.

The cabin is huge, with ample room in the back for 3 adults, the absence of a "transmission tunnel" down the centre of the car makes the centre seat far more comfortable than most other cars. The boot is also usefully large.

It would look better with 16" alloys wheels than the 15's my car has; I believe that the latest ones do all come with 16" alloys.

Overall, I've been very impressed with the reliability and quality of this car. I had expected a few teething troubles, but I haven't had any.

The best bit is the price - I paid £5,000 less for it than the Ford dealer wanted for a Mondeo TDCi Ghia. Be prepared to haggle with the dealers - there's a lot more discount to be had than the advertised "cashback" deals; in my case I got £2000 cashback plus an additional £2000 off the price and free metallic paint.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th November, 2003

8th Nov 2003, 19:48

That's strange. I have had my car for almost one and half years now and it has been giving me endless troubles.

The suspension is way too soft even at Sports mode, the car leaning badly at corners. Therefore you cannot go as fast in the car as you can in other cars.

The engine jerks, and the alarm sometimes does not work at disarm. When it goes over potholes there is a very loud bang.

Of course it is not all bad. I love the auto headlights, the auto wipers, the smooth ride in the straight.

27th Jun 2004, 17:09

Well, there's a paradox hidden in the suspension of C5, it leans when cornering as French cars traditionally does, but you can use very high speeds, in fact higher speeds than most ordinary cars of this size are capable of through bends, provided that you accept the fact that a French car leans when cornering and the suspension is designed to be comfortable, it behaves quite differently from a teenage-BMW or teenage-Golf :)

When accepting the fact that the suspension is traditionally French, the C5 is, I think, sinfully fun to whip through bends at high speed, there's something very special in the feeling how this heavy car neatly obeys the driver's will.

It ain't a Xantia Activa, though, the ultimate car for high speeds on serpentine roads.

2003 Citroen C5 HDI VTR 2.0 HDI from UK and Ireland


An interesting, understated and highly competent performer


The only thing that has gone wrong is that a rear door lock failed in the first week of ownership. This was promptly replaced by the dealer.

General Comments:

I have owned several Citroens, including twenty five years ago a DS of happy memory (although it was slow!) so when my Xantia needed its first MOT I decided to buy a C5 HDI that was at a good price with three years interest free HP.

I I am very pleased with the car and I think it has many touches that reflect intelligent thinking about how we live with our vehicles today. But, despite being a longstanding Citroen customer (who even regrets the passing of non-self-cancelling indicators) I am prone to doubts about my choice when the motoring press seems to rate the car so poorly. Are other cars really that much better?

I have recently been amusing myself by trying the opposition, which I can do because I often travel abroad and have the chance of hiring cars.

I drove the Passat in Sweden for two weeks and found it competent, but, although the motoring press raves about it, disappointing compared to the Citroen -. I was not impressed by the quality of the interior that is always praised (it did not seem noticeable better than the C5) and the style is much more dull. It's a dark car. It rode well, but so does the C5.

The Mondeo I tried in Spain. The diesel is certainly more nippy than mine, but it's a noisy car on the road. Rumble, rumble. And the interior is definitely inferior, even in the high spec model I had. Nor did it seem as solid as the C5.

Friends of mine run BMWs and Mercs. These are good cars, but obviously more expensive. The interesting thing is that everyone of them has had to suffer expensive repairs - a sun roof on a Merc cost over £900 to put right. And electric wing mirror on a BMW over £300. In three years nothing went wrong with my Xantia - nothing!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd July, 2003