Suspension is killing me
Citroen’s C5 Tourer hits a bump in the road, writes NEIL McDONALD
AS WITH most things French, there’s mixed emotions about the Citroen C5 Tourer Exclusive. Love the looks, space, equipment, technology, six-speed automatic and effortless cruising pace of the 2.0-litre turbodiesel, but the driving experience leaves us indifferent.
It all comes down to the car’s hitech Hydractive III suspension.
It is sensational when the roads are billiard-ball smooth and when you encounter some gravel roads.
The Roll-Royce-like plushness and refinement is something you don’t get for the price of a European family wagon.
But sharp bumps such as bridge expansion joints will catch it out regardless of whether you’re in normal or sports mode.
Speaking of sports mode,
it doesn’t feel particularly sporty, just harsher.
Perhaps it’s about taste. It takes time to get used to French culinary delights such as snails and frogs’ legs, so we suspect driving the C5 falls into the same category.
But there’s plenty to like about the big French wagon.
The cabin is plush, with heated front seats that have good support, and the ambient lighting at night is a touch of class.
The door pockets have motionsensor lights that turn on when you’re rummaging around for gear and the luggage bay light that doubles as a torch is a neat touch.
An acoustic windscreen and laminated side windows do a great job of isolating the cabin from road and wind noise, and the rear side window blinds are handy for keeping the sun off small children.
The 100kW/320Nm 2.0-litre diesel is quiet, smooth and reasonably frugal, but feels a bit underdone in this cavernous wagon.
Citroen quotes 7.2 litres/100km and we came close to bettering that in a mix of highway and city driving.
Apart from the spongy ride, the C5’s fixed-hub steering wheel— like the C4 — takes time to get used to.
Some of the minor switchgear and radio controls are not intuitive.
The storage space around the cabin is plentiful but practically useless because the nooks and crannies are so small.
That’s the French for you. You should not expect a country that gives you great food, architecture, fashion and style to execute cars with the same efficiency as the Germans.
At $60,990, the C5 wagon is for those confident folk who embrace individuality and French flare.