Our Fleet Test Drive: Citroen C5 Tourer - Final report
13 May 2009
Author: Guy Bird
The question we asked in October last year when taking on the Citroen C5 Tourer was a highly pertinent one for the economic climate then and now. To summarise: Can businesses save money by downsizing on engine and spec?
The answer to the first part of the question for this urban-based low-mileage driver is a resounding 'yes'. Picking the 110PS 1.6 HDi over the 138PS 2.0 HDi gives a saving of nearly £1000 on the list price, lower tax via a smaller P11D and CO2 rating - one BIK band lower - and almost 5mpg better official fuel economy.
Driving the smaller-engined car was genuinely no hardship. 'Power surge' overtaking was not possible, but confident acceleration in all gears and at all speeds was tangible, not questionable. Real-world economy was decent too - a 40.3mpg average, with a 42.0mpg high and reasonable 38.4mpg low.
What became harder to stomach as the months passed was the lack of feel-good factor the lower spec engendered. While the exterior look was still quietly stylish in SX trim despite average alloys and black rather than chrome roof rail 'profile definers', the C5 Tourer never truly excited. Driver ergonomics were generally sound, with praise for clear displays  and good seat comfort. Also appreciated was its spacious interior package with a big and accessible boot, including a smart and durable chrome scuff plate .
SX trim provided 'needs' like seven airbags and ESP to 'wants' like a leather steering wheel and climate control, but what disheartened were the many false buttons that didn't do anything at our trim level, and more functionally relevant, the fixed-hub steering wheel , which made horn-tooting while turning a job for Mr Tickle. The usefulness of a colour satnav screen was missed, while smarter and more varied trim materials would have lifted the monochrome-feeling interior.
So there you have it - the C5 Tourer shines with the smaller 1.6 HDi unit and provides a good ride and reasonable handling. But consider an upgrade to VTR+ trim to define more of Citroen's individual style, and keep staff happier and future RVs more positive.
|Citroen C5 Tourer 1.6 HDi SX|
|Claimed combined |
|Our average |
|Model price range||£16,595-£26,295|
|CO2 (tax) ||140g/km (19%)|
|BIK 20/40% per month||£57/113|
|Why we’re running it||Can fleets go frugal|
quality or satisfaction?
|Positive||Exterior smartness, |
|Negative||Fixed hub steering |
wheel, low spec RV