List Price: £25,759
Target Price: £23,435
Run by: Mel Nichols
Tested For: 12 months/12,000 miles
Why it's on test: To see if Citroen's 'Built-like-a-German-car' C5 estate really does deliver the quality to match its impressive looks.
My abiding memory of the Citroen C5 Tourer is going to be one of great comfort. If you place a premium on ride and seating comfort, as I do, the C5 is likely to win you over very quickly.
It took me just the few miles on my drive home from the supplying dealer, Citroen London West in Brentford (020 8987 4000), to get used to the distinctive ride of the Hydractive 3+ hydraulic suspension that's available on the VTR+ and standard on this Exclusive model.
At first, I noticed a slight tremor as the wheels reacted to bumps, but it soon felt normal and I started to admire the C5's smooth motion.
The Hydractive system's in-built self-levelling brings another benefit: it keeps the ride height constant regardless of what's in the boot.
The first of my many trips with the car loaded to the gunwales showed what a boon that is as the ride and handling were unaffected by the extra weight on board. Hydractive is well worth the price if you often lug heavy loads.
The system has other benefits, too. At 70mph, it automatically lowers the car to increase stability, reduce drag and improve fuel economy. It can also be raised or lowered manually.
Twice, when I needed to get into and out of fields with rough entrances, I just pushed the button to raise the suspension and eased, untroubled, over the ruts. I often used the supplementary switch thoughtfully placed in the boot to lower the suspension when lifting heavy things in and out.
As the number of people who came up and admired the C5 Tourer over the months made clear, it's a particularly handsome estate car. Its good looks disguise the fact that it is a serious load-lugger.