Friday, 12 August 2022

Citroën shows its sober side with ‘no frills’ C5

AN EMAIL from Media Citroën International dropped into my inbox this week that perfectly illustrates the French car

AN EMAIL from Media Citroën International dropped into my inbox this week that perfectly illustrates the French car company’s on-going determination to remain “cutting edge”.

It was effusive in style — as one has come to expect from Citroën — and trumpeted the coming of the new so-called SpaceTourer Hyphen — a “vibrant 4x4 concept”.

The vehicle, to the accompaniment of music by French pop band Hyphen (hence the name), is to be launched at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.

The media writer of the email had a field day with all this and it’s worth quoting a sentence or two.

The SpaceTourer Hyphen, the email said, “creates a link between families and tribes, MPVs and SUVs, cities and wide open spaces”. “On board,” it says, “anything becomes possible.”

Well, I suppose during the old days of rock bands hammering up and down the country to gigs in battered Transit vans, anything was indeed possible.

These days bands tend to be more corporate-minded, as presumably is the case with Hyphen.

Anyway, I was struck immediately by the contrast between this week’s drive, the Citroën C5 VTR+ BlueHDi 150 and the much-hyped SpaceTourer Hyphen concept.

The C5 is in itself not too shabby when it comes to thumping up and down the motorway. In fact, I would say that this is what the C5 does best.

But I found it a sober, no frills car — a vehicle where it is very likely that “anything” is not possible other than getting the job done.

That’s not to say this car is not comfortable: and I found it reassuring though oddly conservative in its outlook.

For this is the sober side of Citroën. And actually I admire the ability of this particular French carmaker to provide no-nonsense cars such as the C5 while turning out innovative new models in eye-catching style (even if the PR hyperbole is over the top).

Citroën’s DS brand is a case in point. While you could take to the motorway in the C5 and doggedly clock up endless miles, the smart, stylish DS cars you see on today’s roads display Citroën’s search for what I can only describe as “the new”.

So what is the C5? The model I was driving was the Citroën C5 VTR+ BlueHDi 150. The C5 has become one of the carmaker’s longest serving models and its solidity and assurance in both handling and performance is apparent.

However, the C5 is at the no-frills end of the Citroën spectrum of models. So if you go looking for one you will be after something tough, proven and hopefully reliable.

I think, as I said the other week, that these types of cars such as the C5, that mostly appeal to fleet operators for business use, are actually a good, sensible private buy.

What I was very impressed with was the fuel consumption of the C5, which is in the region of 65 mpg or more overall. And this has to be down to better-engineered power plants.

The new BlueHDi 150 S&S manual six-speed and the BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT six-speed engines Citroën says “set new standards for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in their segment”.

I was driving the car constantly quite hard and it sipped fuel.

There are new styling features: the selection of wheels has been extended to include new alloys. The selection of bodywork colours of the C5 range has been also extended. The C5 and C5 Tourer employ new technologies, such as the seven-inch touch-sensitive tablet. The new tablet includes a touch-sensitive navigation system with 3D views, a multimedia player over USB or in audio streaming, the telephone with a hands-free function, the onboard computer and the vehicle settings.

So if you look at comparable rivals to the C5 you will find a choice that is keenly competitive. But this is because unlike the rather wonderful SpaceTourer Hyphen, there is not a lot of song-and-dance about this week’s drive.

The Citroen C5 gets the job done and I found it did that rather well.

Citroën C5 factfile

Test car: Citroën C5 VTR+ BlueHDi 150

On the road price: circa £25,000

C5 Saloon’s concave rear window adds distinctive style, the reverse curve of the window allows easy access to the boot.

With the Exclusive trim option, chrome inserts add a new touch to the Citroën C5’s lower body, radiator grille, bumpers and side windows.

On the HDi 200 automatic model, chrome twin exhaust tailpipes underline the powerful design of the rear end.

LED daytime running lights add elegance while improving  visibility.

The Citroën C5 Saloon comes with a wide selection of wheel options, including 16in to 19in alloys.

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