New prince of Wales
The Citroen C5 takes French style into the British heartland, writes BRUCEMcMAHON
THOSE Londoners are a strange mob of cattle. So many important people rushing from someplace here to somewhere there.
Much life is lived underground, popping up from rail tunnels to discover another ancient monument and miles upon miles of fancy shops.
The inner-city is all summer sparkling clean, yet without the buzz of previous decades.
The ring of suburbs beyond is tumbledown and grubby.
Among the city’s confusions is that cars drive on the left, as at home, but escalator riders are asked to stand right. Simple enough perhaps, but this creates footpath confusion amid the madding crowds.
Best then to head countryside, to Stratford-on-Avon and down to Abergavenny in Wales to rediscover old workplaces and such.
For this jaunt the new Citroen C5 is a recommended travelling partner, a most sensible European machine with airs of distinction.
The deep-red sedan is a C5 2.0 HDi VTR+ with six-speed automatic transmission, 101kW of diesel power and the only car to win five stars for adult occupant protection in Euro NCAP crash tests.
In Britain this model is priced at $42,000. Australians should see the new C5 — with 2-litre petrol, 2-litre and V6 diesel options— in September, with prices starting in the low $40,000s.
It runs for 450km over a week of motorways (at speed), B-roads (with care and suspension set to sport) and down rough and narrow lanes (with Hydractive suspension set on high and parking sensors going berserk — must have been the badgers in the hedgerows).
All the while the C5 is a most comfortable conveyance, with many buttons for adjusting all manner of things from stereo to airconditioning and an automatic park brake.
Over the week the handsome C5 averages 50km/h and an economy of 6.3 litres/100km, much appreciated with English diesel about $3 a litre.
The Citroen turns heads with a boldness that includes a concave rear window, subtle strips of chrome and stand-out wheels.
It has a solid feel, down to electronic stability control, with traction control for the front wheels.
It is also most spacious — plenty of head and leg room for four adults plus luggage — and runs everywhere with only the sounds of a quite decent stereo to disturb the serenity.
The suspension’s sports setting allows a flatter ride, a little less float over the standard mode, but the C5 is never a sharp sports sedan.
Rather, with communicative steering, reassuring brakes and a willing engine (in particular with the transmission in sports mode), the C5 is a most sensible, safe and smart touring machine with great comfort and a decent amount of individualism over Ford’s Mondeo and other Euro rivals.
Coming our way: the Citroen C5 2.0 HDi VTR+ with six-speed automatic transmission. Australians should see the new C5 in September.