The Citroen C5 is looking quite fresh since its recent restyle that added softer double-chevron badges and a more flowing style for the company’s executive flagship from nose to tail.
The revisions really work: this car barely seems the same as the dowdy original model that launched for 2008. In fact, the two cars share a great deal of their styling and body panels, but tasteful new detailing is much better than the deep black sills and bumpers that cheapened the appearance of the original Citroen.
Reading reviews in international magazines is always interesting, but not quite as informative as it could be with all the measurements in metric. For most American enthusiasts, reading the horsepower in ‘kW’ and torque in ‘Nm’ might as well be meaningless.
This review of the C5 corrects those gaps in our collective ability to convert number formats, and will also be unique because it evaluates the C5 based on U.S. buyer preferences. With pricing for the C5 that converts to about $40,000, this Citroen is a mid-size luxury car.
With throne-like seating and a plush hydraulic suspension, is the C5 up to the task? Click past the jump for the full review of the revised 2013 Citroen C5.
The styling of the C5 is still quite handsome since the car’s mid-cycle refresh brought a new headlight design, new grille and bumpers, and a revised window graphic with a C-pillar up-kick to match the C3 five-door hatch. The only changes for this year are the adoption of Citroen’s new emblem design, which trades sharp points at the top of the badge points for a more flowing and rounded graphic. Still instantly Citroen, the look is enhanced by tasteful dark wheels and LED running lights in front.
Some chrome lower body cladding appears on the top trims to add emphasis to the car’s lower structure and enhance the front-drive proportions slightly. Overall, the effect works and the C5 is better looking than ever – especially from the rear three-quarter angle. The trunk edge still carves a unique body line in the rear glass, but nothing as close to the wild gothic column treatments from the C6.
Available as a sedan (also known as a Saloon) or a wagon (Tourer), the C5’s design merits are visible in both cars. Optional bright white and black metallic paint finishes are a worthwhile addition to the C5’s style, while the wagon also includes a premium roof rack to highlight its extra utility.
Overall, what makes the C5’s styling so cloudlike and relaxing? A strong sense of geometric flow and pure, consistent rounding to the shapes helps the C5 to look a bit like a road-going version of some of Citroen’s most interesting concept cars, like the DS Numero 9 shooting brake or the C-Cactus crossover.
The nose of the C5 would still benefit from a clean-sheet rethink to incorporate a new grille concept, but with less-than-sure appeal of the restyled model – the current C5’s exterior is about as competitive and current as it has ever looked versus its domestic competition as well as the German auto brands.
2013 Citroen C5 – Exterior Dimensions:
|Track - Front (in.)||62.5|
|Track - Rear (in.)||61.3|
|Drag Coefficient||.32, Est|
2013 Citroen C5 – Optional Exterior Features:
- Metallic Paint
- Rear Parking Sensors
The interior of the C5 brings a real sense of quality construction and design, with huge chairs acting as the bucket seats up front. Available in almost a dozen premium leather and woven fabric combinations, these seats are divine and offer a huge range of adjustment.
The C5’s top trims offer adjustments of the upper seat-back angle, for example, which is a rare treat usually reserved for BMW models with the optional comfort seating package. They are a highlight of the C5’s cabin, and the back seats are gorgeous overstuffed thrones as well. It looks fantastic, but the large features do limit visibility and conversation in the cabin.
These great seats meet a dashboard and steering wheel that also feel robust and of decent quality. The design of the wheel is a throwback to Citroen’s experimentation with a fixed central wheel boss – housing buttons and an airbag that are always right-side-up for ease of use. The outside edge of the wheel is all that spins when going around corners, creating a unique and highly memorable experience for all C5 drivers.
The setup can be slightly intimidating for less-able drivers, and has since been dropped from other new models in response to complaints from Citroen’s increasingly important Chinese distribution network. These dealers are often selling drivers their first car, so ease of use is important to closing the deal.
The C5 also has some fixtures and button layouts from a few years ago, with the color navigation screen seeming out-done by the new, much larger and quicker touchscreen panels appearing across of European models from super-mini to super-exotic. The dual automatic climate control is optional and brings a heavy Audi influence to both its style and tactility. No complaints about the looks or operation of these.
A final note is the optional glass roof. This huge single piece of glass is a lovely touch to add some sunshine to the cabin. This is a welcome feature and is unobtrusive with the sun shade to block out the hottest rays.
A big glass roof is something Citroen is known for, but sadly its giant windshield features from lower in the range are not available here. (These cars use a single windshield piece that extends half-way up the car’s roof.)
It makes normal driving seem hallucinogenic – far more blue sky and vision information for the brain the process makes travel in these cars interesting.
2013 Citroen C5 – Interior Dimensions:
|Front Seating Capacity||2|
|Rear Seating Capacity||3|
|EPA Cargo Volume - Saloon Trunk (cubic-feet)||15.5|
|EPA Cargo Volume - Tourer Seats Up (cubic-feet)||18.8|
|EPA Cargo Volume - Tourer Seats Down (cubic-feet)||52.6|
2013 Citroen C5 – Interior Features:
- Automatic Climate Control
- Electric Windows
- Manual Sunroof
- Electric Mirrors
- Cruise Control
2013 Citroen C5 – Optional Interior Features:
- Leather Seats
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The C5 is almost purely powered by diesel engine options in most markets, with three choices of oil-burner engine versus only a single gasoline four-cylinder offered.
This varies by market and the C5 can still technically fit the firm’s large V-6 plus an autobox, but that combination is out of favor versus the low-tax option from the green pump. (Black handles in Europe mean diesel, but America has adopted green).
The gasoline model is called THP and is the primary motivator in exports outside of Europe, which include almost all of Central and South America, Africa, Russia and Australia. A similar, joint-venture model is offered in China, where it is also locally built. The THP gasoline engine is the most lively, with a 177 horsepower peak and a 62 mph sprint of 8.6 seconds before topping out at 130 mph. It spins higher than the diesels but is quieter at idle.
There is a huge variety of performance in the C5 range, with its 10-plus models running between 115 and 237 horsepower in lineup that includes HDI diesels in 1.6 and 2.0-liter sizes, plus a V-6 diesel with a 3.0-liter displacement. Paired to its standard six-speed automatic, the top diesel is also the quickest C5 with a 7.9-second 0-to-62 mph sprint. This top model can also reach a top speed 20 mph faster than the other engines: up to 151 mph should help Charles de Gaulle escape his attackers.
Citroen’s legendary hydraulic suspension is still going strong more than 50 years after its diagonally-linked fluid shocks helped save then-president de Gaulle’s life when assailants shot out the back tires of his DS limousine as he drove away. Matching Citroen’s press claims that the DS could even run on three wheels, de Gaulle escaped without injury.
2013 Citroen C5 – Mechanical Details:
|Engine Size||Engine Fuel Type||Peak power (Horsepower)||Peak torque (Pound-feet)||Transmission||0-62 mph||Top speed||CO2||Fuel mpg (Combined)|
|1.6 HDI 16V VTR 4dr Saloon||Diesel||115 @ 3600||161 @ 2100, Est||5-Speed Manual||11.6 seconds||118 mph||129g/km||56.5 mpg|
|1.6 HDi 16V VTR 5dr Tourer||Diesel||115 @ 3600||161 @ 2100, Est||5-Speed Manual||11.9 seconds||116 mph||129g/km||56.5 mpg|
|1.6i 16V THP VTR+ Nav 4dr Saloon||Gasoline||155 @ 6000||177 @ 2000||6-Speed Auto||8.6 seconds||130 mph||153g/km||42.2 mpg|
|1.6 HDI 16V VTR+ Nav 4dr Saloon||Diesel||115 @ 3600||161 @ 2100, Est||5-Speed Manual||11.6 seconds||118 mph||129g/km||56.5 mpg|
|1.6 e-HDI 16V  Airdream VTR+ Nav 4dr EGS6 Saloon||Diesel||115 @ 3600||161 @ 2100, Est||5-Speed Manual||12.6 seconds||118 mph||117g/km||62.8 mpg|
|1.6 HDi 16V VTR+ Nav 5dr Tourer||Diesel||115 @ 3600||161 @ 2100, Est||5-Speed Manual||11.9 seconds||116 mph||129g/km||56.5 mpg|
|2.0 HDI 16V VTR+ Nav  4dr Saloon||Diesel||161 @ 3750||251 @ 2000||6-Speed Auto||9.1 seconds||130 mph||129g/km||57.6 mpg|
|1.6 e-HDi 16V  Airdream VTR+ Nav 5dr EGS6 Tourer||Diesel||115 @ 3600||161 @ 2100, Est||5-Speed Manual||12.8 seconds||118 mph||117g/km||62.8 mpg|
|2.0HDi 16V VTR+ Nav  5dr Tourer||Diesel||161 @ 3750||251 @ 2000||6-Speed Auto||10.3 seconds||130 mph||133g/km||55.4 mpg|
|2.0 HDI 16V Exclusive  4dr Saloon||Diesel||161 @ 3750||251 @ 2000||6-Speed Auto||9.1 seconds||130 mph||129g/km||57.6 mpg|
|2.0 HDI 16V VTR+ Nav  4dr Auto Saloon||Diesel||161 @ 3750||251 @ 2000||6-Speed Auto||10 seconds||130 mph||163g/km||45.6 mpg|
|2.0 HDi 16V Exclusive  5dr Tourer||Diesel||161 @ 3750||251 @ 2000||6-Speed Auto||10.3 seconds||130 mph||133g/km||55.4 mpg|
|2.0 HDi 16V VTR+ Nav  5dr Auto Tourer||Diesel||161 @ 3750||251 @ 2000||6-Speed Auto||10.2 seconds||129 mph||163g/km||45.6 mpg|
|2.0 HDI 16V Exclusive  4dr Auto Saloon||Diesel||161 @ 3750||251 @ 2000||6-Speed Auto||10 seconds||130 mph||163g/km||45.6 mpg|
|2.0 HDi 16V Exclusive  5dr Auto Tourer||Diesel||161 @ 3750||251 @ 2000||6-Speed Auto||10.2 seconds||129 mph||163g/km||45.6 mpg|
|3.0 HDI V6 Exclusive 4dr Auto Saloon||Diesel||237 @ 3800||332 @ 1600||6-Speed Auto||7.9 seconds||151 mph||189g/km||39.2 mpg|
|3.0 HDi V6 Exclusive 5dr Auto Tourer||Diesel||237 @ 3800||332 @ 1600||6-Speed Auto||7.9 seconds||150 mph||189g/km||39.2 mpg|
The C5 is a five-star car from the EuroNCAP, with the innovative steering wheel allowing a shaped airbag for the driver. Instead of blowing up a round ball, like most airbags do because the wheel could be at any angle, the C5’s airbag is always in the right position.
It fires a pillow-like rectangular airbag shape with soft side edges to keep a driver’s head in the safest position during a crash.
2013 Citroen C5 – Standard Safety Features:
- ABS - Anti Lock Brakes
- ESP - Electronic Stability Control
- Front Seat Belt Pre-Tensioners
- Driver Airbag, Passenger Airbag
- Alarm, Immobiliser, Central Locking
2013 Citroen C5 – Prices:
|2013 Citroen C5||Price - British Pounds|
|1.6 HDI 16V VTR 4dr Saloon||£19,165|
|1.6 HDi 16V VTR 5dr Tourer||£20,265|
|1.6i 16V THP VTR+ Nav 4dr Saloon||£20,605|
|1.6 HDI 16V VTR+ Nav 4dr Saloon||£20,765|
|1.6 e-HDI 16V  Airdream VTR+ Nav 4dr EGS6 Saloon||£21,465|
|1.6 HDi 16V VTR+ Nav 5dr Tourer||£21,865||$33,891|
|2.0 HDI 16V VTR+ Nav  4dr Saloon||£22,165||$34,356|
|1.6 e-HDi 16V  Airdream VTR+ Nav 5dr EGS6 Tourer||£22,565|
|2.0HDi 16V VTR+ Nav  5dr Tourer||£23,150|
|2.0 HDI 16V Exclusive  4dr Saloon||£23,365|
|2.0 HDI 16V VTR+ Nav  4dr Auto Saloon||£23,510|
|2.0 HDi 16V Exclusive  5dr Tourer||£24,350|
|2.0 HDi 16V VTR+ Nav  5dr Auto Tourer||£24,610|
|2.0 HDI 16V Exclusive  4dr Auto Saloon||£24,710|
|2.0 HDi 16V Exclusive  5dr Auto Tourer||£25,810|
|3.0 HDI V6 Exclusive 4dr Auto Saloon||£28,125|
|3.0 HDi V6 Exclusive 5dr Auto Tourer||£29,225|
The 508 is looking great these days as well, with a slinky new nose and cat-scratch LED taillights. It faces the same market-wide problems as the C5, with shared powertrains and prices for the Pug that are about £970.00 more than the Citroen.
The Renault Laguna just keeps getting uglier and uglier. What is going on at Renault? The company boss recently said in Autocar that he thinks the tail of the Laguna is hurting sales. He is half right - but it is the front that is scaring people away in droves.
The Laguna is so hideous that it looks scared to even be alive, scared to be out in the big bad world. Rather than refine the details to make it tasteful (like Citroen with its equally-ugly original C5), Renault has climbed down into the depths of the strange styling underworld. Revolting is a word that comes to mind when thinking of the Laguna’s nose.
The C5 enters a depressed French new-car market but is buoyed by its heavy overseas export percentage as well loyal company car buyers who have the luxury of a new car every few years. Among these buyers, the vast style improvements over the original C5 will close the deal.
The patriotism of French corporate buyers can only go so far, however, and a mass exodus of private buyers to Audi and BMW has long been visible on Parisian streets.
Without full interior measurements, comparisons are challenging. Even so, the C5’s 111-inch wheelbase is right at the sweet spot for roomy American sedans. The trunk is also very good, especially on the Tourer’s 50-plus cubic-feet with the seats down. This is about on par with the smallest new crossovers on the market, but none of them regularly deliver 55 mpg and a 700-mile total range from one tank of diesel.
Performance figures are all pretty dismal compared with the competition the C5 would face in America, but are also quite behind the sub-6-second sprint times that are easily possible in most of BMW’s luxury diesel sedans.
Broadening the C5’s horizons is urgently needed, both to keep its low-volume factory viable and to share the magic of the Citroen brand with new consumers. Without a major ownership change, the C5 is not likely to reach American shores. The team at PSA headquarters knows how hard re-entering this market can be, and most board meetings are far more serious these days anyway.
With record low auto sales, there is a strong rumble that Citroen’s parent company, PSA, will relinquish family control in the very near future.
This step is mandatory if the government of France takes an equity stake in the company, as it did when Renault faced major issues in the 1980s. The more likely scenario sees new management come in from out of town – wearing Opel shirts.
|Driving||B||Ultra Smooth Ride With Hydractive3 Suspension|
|Performance||B-||Good Economy But Pretty Slow Compared With V-6 Toyota Camry’s 6-second Sprint|
|Look||B+||Flowing Design Is Looks Great With New Nose|
|Value||C-||Hopefully The Exchange Rate Is Distorting The Prices - If Not The C5 Is Way Too Expensive|
|Overall||B||A Futuristic Citroen Luxury Car... Available Now (But Not For Long?)|