Sus­pen­sion is killing me

Citroen’s C5 Tourer hits a bump in the road, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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