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  • Superb front and rear seats; wafting adaptive suspension; torquey, economical diesel; clever interior features; hushed road noise; full-size spare
  • Sub-par interior ergonomics; diesel isn\'t quick, but it is laggy; soft dynamics; steering not sharp; no cupholders

7 / 10

Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review
by Daniel DeGasperi

It isn’t back-handed to call the Citroen C5 Tourer one of the most obviously French new cars on the market.

In the often bland mid-sized class, this sub-$50,000 turbo-diesel wagon is brimming with character. But it is also full of tangible features that make it successful in being what the badge on its rump says – a Tourer.

Only two years ago the Citroen C5 Tourer Exclusive HDi tested here cost $61,000, but a new local distributor – Sime Darby, which also imports Peugeot – has since culled the price to $47,190 making it a far more attractive proposition in the process.

And despite the price cut, the C5 Tourer is still loaded.

Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, panoramic glass roof, adaptive air suspension – with two modes, Comfort and Sport – full leather trim with eight-way electrically-adjustable and heated front seats with driver’s memory and massage function, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control, power operated tailgate, and front and rear parking sensors (but no camera).

It’s many of those features, in addition to the engine and several other niceties that cement this big Citroen as a wonderful cruising car.

The 2.0-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine, with 120kW of power at 3750rpm and 340Nm of torque at 2000rpm, can struggle to shift the 1695kg wagon.

Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review

Citroen claims a 10.2 second 0-100km/h, which is about on par with most small hatchbacks, so the C5 Tourer Exclusive HDi certainly isn’t quick when the throttle is flattened. Some modern turbo petrol engines of the same capacity produce more torque than this turbo diesel, despite diesels traditionally being renowned for eclipsing them for pulling power.

Even more so than with outright acceleration, however, it’s when pulling off the line, or attempting to fill that traffic gap that suddenly appeared, that this turbo diesel’s lack of immediate response is most frustrating. The lag between pressing the throttle and the diesel coming on boost requires forward thinking when driving in the cut and thrust of urban traffic.

The Citroen feels at its best out on the open road. Once up to speed, it is effortless, with the six-speed automatic easily covering the small rev band.

Claimed combined economy is 7.1L/100km, but on a four-up weekend away to the country we achieved a still-excellent 8.2L/100km, with an impressive 800km-plus range. Over the 1500km life of the car the trip computer (which had never been reset) claimed 8.7L/100km with a 38km/h average speed.

An alternative 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine is offered only on the C5 sedan, but it’s preferable to the diesel, despite the likely higher fuel usage. We also miss the 450Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 (recently dropped from the C5 range) that late last year retailed for $56,990 and was excellent where the petrol is just effective.

Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review

The Citroen C5 cements its status as a wonderful touring car with its adaptive suspension.

Unlike super-soft French suspension of old, the adjustable dampers provide good control over rough roads at speed. Yet there’s still this wonderful, wafting sensation with the C5, as if the car is gliding over scarred roads rather than driving over them. Its country road behaviour is superb.

Around town, the 45-aspect 18-inch wheels car occasionally snag a pothole, and, oddly for a car with multi-link rear suspension, the C5 can be prone to hop slightly sideways over mid corner irregulations.

The steering system in the Citroen C5 initially feels too slow and vague, though that’s perhaps because the soft-ish suspension takes a while to settle on turn-in to a corner, requiring the driver to wind more lock on. It gets better with speed, becoming nicely light and precise.

The ‘Sport’ button is also one not to be touched in the C5 unless the road is smooth. It slightly ruins the wafting ride, yet it also noticeably sharpens the handling, with flow-on benefits to the steering.

But the Citroen C5 is not a sports car, and that’s a good thing. Although the car feels nicely balanced and subtly rewarding at medium pace, start to push harder and noticeable weight shifting from side to side, and a hint of understeer, are signals of reluctance.

Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review

The torquey engine and comfortable suspension complement the interior of the Citroen C5, which is mostly brilliant in the ways that count, but also below average in other areas.

The consistently matched soft-touch plastics are nice, although the pixellated screen between the speedometer and tachometer and non-touchscreen central display betray the interior’s four-year vintage.

Despite the quirky, fixed central steering hub, designed to increase ease of use, the interior ergonomics aren’t great, with small buttons and hidden menus making several functions difficult to access.

The steering wheel itself, however, is great to grasp, the quality of the leather is high, and the seat comfort all round is superb.

There’s plenty of support and adjustment up front, and the massage seat for the driver confirms the seat as one of the best available for the price.

The rear bench is obviously designed more as a two-seater, with an occasional middle chair, as the outer pews have great side and shoulder support and a deep, plush cushion. Rear legroom is only about average for the medium car class, however.

Lots of little comforts about, too – face-level B-pillar-mounted rear air vents, rear window sunshades, child door locks activated by a simple button on the driver’s door, and a boot light that doubles as a removeable torch. Incredibly, however, there are no cupholders.

Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review
Citroen C5 Tourer Review

The boot itself is 505 litres large, its low bottom lip makes loading items a breeze, and there’s a choice of either folding down a ski port or the whole 60:40 backrest to increase capacity to 1462L.

Although some wagons are noisier than their sedan counterparts, which have rear parcel shelves to help isolate rear wheelarch noise, the C5 Tourer is quiet regardless.

Its low level of coarse chip road noise is exemplary, although the suspension itself can make some noise when dealing with harsh roads.

Particularly considering its reduced pricing compared with when it was launched, the Citroen C5 Tourer is now only an engine and ergonomics upgrade away from being a prime pick in the medium car class.

Smooth, quiet, torquey, economical, spacious, supremely comfortable, and with lots of clever little features, this wagon delivers on more than just French flair.

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  • Markus

    My friend has one of these after switching from the Peugeot equivalent 3(?) years ago. They love it…as a passenger I have to say its very quiet, nice ambience inside and very comfortable ride. It is a nice change from the german/jap family wagons most have.

    It’s all about priorities – into being different? ride + comfort? hidden touches and features? prefer family versatility that’s “french” not “german/jap”? versatility and practicality?

    Care less about dynamics, speed, ongoing costs then you should defs consider these.

    I think citroen certainly have the most zazz and quirk of the French marques nowadays.

  • Karl Sass

    Traditionally I’m not a big fan of French cars but there’s something very likeable about this. It’s French quirky, but not in an off-putting way.

    • Zaccy16

      i agree, its a nice car, have a bigger diesel, less rolly suspension and a more up to date interior with cupholders and it would be very hard ti beat!

  • Jakewilliam5

    Skoda Superb Combi thanks.

    • Igomi Watabi


      • Jakewilliam5

        The Superb has more power and torque, is a physically bigger car, has much more interior space, more standard equipment, is built better, drives far FAR better, uses less fuel, is more reliable and is cheaper than this C5! Win, win, win.

        • Igomi Watabi

          More reliable? Certainly less interesting.

    • Zaccy16

      i agree completely, i like the c5 but the superb wagon is a allround better car, much more effortless diesels and petrols, a quality well thought out interior with limo like levels of leg room, a huge boot and good handling!

  • ES

    I rented the exact same model in Europe last year and covered 9000kms through Italy, France and Spain and couldn’t agree more with the massive lag off the line. Incredible frustrating and requiring forward thinking when needing to overtake etc. I had ordered the 3.0L turbo diesel and of course in true European style customer service they had “sold that car” and I was stuck with the 2.0L crappy diesel.

    • FanBoi

      Try Hertz next time. I always get an upgrade here in EU when I rent from Hertz.


    • Nijase

      Hi there ES, We were thinking of leasing this car from Citreon though there may be a newer model next May? We are travelling about 10 000 klm too and was wondering what else you can tell us. We chose as t is a family road trip and we are stopping and starting a lot, travelling through about 10 countries Franc, Spain, Switz, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, German and Scandi etc. Any tips? Did you have young kids?

  • Tony Abbotts No1 Fan

    The lag seems is a common French trait. My wife’s Laguna suffers from the same issue, however if the throttle is squeezed rather than floored, the car responds much quicker.

    Having said all that, this car like our diesel Laguna is brilliant as a tourer or on highways, but not so much as a town car.

    These cars have a certain flair, they’re not for everyone, but once you’ve tried them, oh la la

  • Koffi

    I bet this wioild smoke the Rav4 v6

    More torque from lower , maybe the gutless rav4 v6 would catch up after 100kmh when it reaches 7000rpm from its gutles motor

    • matt

      what planet are you from? 7.4 seconds to 100 kays is < 10.2, you can spell, but not add numbers?

      • Sr6z

        I have no doubt the rav4 v6 can or (was able) to do 0-100kmh in the 6s range. Probably 6.5 or so.

        The Rav4 V6 was freaking fast. Good engine the Ravs 3.5L was I don’t know why they don’t offer it with the new Rav4

    • Zaccy16

      where did that come from? very random!

  • Labryz

    I have a soft spot for French cars. They always seem to be unique and quirky. And the lower prices will definitely be a good thing and help the brand. However, there is always seems to be one or two things that distract massively from the Peuegot’s and Citreon’s. In this case the engine just doesn’t seem to be up to standard, a pretty major thing. Also, although minor it was a deal breaker as soon as I read it. The lack of cup-holders. Who thought that was a good idea? Especially on what is meant to be a tourer? I use the cup-holders all the time in our car and I just wouldn’t buy a car that didn’t have two cup-holders in the centre area.

  • dariop

    There is a cup holder hidden under the middle armrest but not very practical. I’ve had the Skoda Superb and the C5 Exclusive. Both good but I prefer the quirky C5. The lag is due to turbo. The diesel is the same as in the Peugeot and the Ford Mondeo.

  • Dieseltorque

    Looks very elegant on the outside but apart from the seats looks noughties spec on the inside. On the subject of cup holders. Love them. Honda Jazz has the best positioned cup holders. Located on the upper dash right next to air vents in easy reach.

  • LowRezFez

    I wonder if the fusebox is in the glovebox still? PSA’s right hand drive cars seem to be engineered on the cheap.

  • Greg

    I own a 2013 C5 Exclusive Tourer. The vehicle has a 2litre Diesel engine, hydro-pneumatic steering, and all the best features this car can provide. It is my second C5, and I am a happy and satisfied owner. The car is built to a high standard of quality that is as good or better than many other quality European vehicles. Choosing a Citroen is a personal preference, but I wish more people knew what a great choice it is.

Citroen C5 Specs

Car Details
X7 MY13
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$29,590 - $33,630
Dealer Retail
$29,970 - $35,640
Dealer Trade
$23,000 - $26,900
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
340Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
120kW @  3750rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1200  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
245/45 R18
Rear Tyres
245/45 R18
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
Automatic/Self levelling Suspension, Traction Control System
Satellite Navigation, Trip Computer
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Power Tailgate, Xenon Headlights
Power Windows
Side Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Optional Features
Control & Handling
19 Inch Alloy Wheels
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
12 months /  20,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Top Scuttle
Country of Origin