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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The C5 has a super-smooth ride, lots of space, and adjustable ride height

Against The unconventional suspension can prove costly, and the steering lacks much feel

Verdict The vast space and smooth, adjustable suspension are real attractions, but the heavy depreciation could be a worry

Go for… 2.0 Hdi VTR

Avoid… 3.0 V8 Exclusive

Citroën C5 Estate
  • 1. The adjustable suspension is a real help, letting you lower the car when loading
  • 2. If you want an automatic, test drive it very carefully - the control unit can go haywire
  • 3. Always check the suspension on a test drive, as it has a habit of playing up
  • 4. Poor handling and rapid, uneven tyre wear are a sign of suspension wear, which may be dear to fix
  • 5. Clutches on 2.0-litre diesels can need rebuilding after 50,000 miles - a very expensive job
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Citroën C5 Estate full review with expert trade views

It's a big, smooth cruiser with more load space than you'll find in most rivals. And, the adjustable suspension, which lets you lower the car when loading, is a real help.

There's loads of room and a good view out for every passenger, and they'll be comfortable, to, thanks to the gas-filled spheres that do the work of the springs and dampers you'll find in other cars to produce a floaty ride. You'll hear the wheels as they thump into potholes but won't feel a thing.

Wind and road noise, too, is kept out, creating a wonderfully hushed cabin as you glide along. The diesel engines are quiet and powerful, although the 1.8 petrol makes some noise.

Corner the car enthusiastically, though, and the amount it rolls will be alarming at first. To be fair, it grips well, although you may not feel comfortable as it does, and the steering's lack of feel doesn't help.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Not many estates this big for such little money. HDi is best

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Go for a model from after 2004, when the C5 had a facelift that improved the looks of the original car, as well as boosting kit levels and addressing some of the car's reliability problems (see 'What to look out for'). Then pick a diesel.

The 1.6 is the smallest available, and its 110bhp is strong, but the 136bhp 2.0 diesel is the better all rounder.

If neither suits, the 2.0 petrol is reasonable, but the 1.8 struggles when the car is laden. Also avoid the 3.0 V6 - it's thirsty and dear to insure.

Entry-level LX trim is loaded with kit, but move up to Design if you want alloy wheels and rear electric windows. The sporty VTR or top-trim Exclusive are worth considering, providing you pay only a couple of hundred pounds extra.

When it was new, the car could be fitted with cutting-edge extras including a device to rouse a sleepy driver should the car wander across lanes, but we have rarely seen it on a used C5.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Reasonable reliability, low bills and low failure rate, but watch for electrical problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

The C5 loses value rapidly from new, making the C5 potentially a bargain by its second or third birthday. However, it has the potential to put a big dent in your bank balance as it gets older.

Reliability is poor and the C5 also needs a suspension overhaul after five years. Main-dealer prices for servicing are competitive, but it's doubtful whether switching to a back-street garage to save money would be as wise as if you owned a Ford or Vauxhall - spares aren't dear, but the complex electrics and suspension could jack up repair costs.

Insurance costs are average: the 1.8 and 1.6 diesel are cheapest and in group 8, the 2.0 diesel and petrol are group 9 or 10 and the 3.0, group 14.

Fuel economy is good - up to 52mpg for the 1.6 diesel and 47mpg for the 2.0. The 1.8 petrol manages up to 35mpg, the 2.0 up to 32mpg and the 3.0 29mpg.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Not many estates this big for such little money. HDi is best

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Generally, the C5 doesn't have a good reputation for reliability.

Up to 50% of its problems centre on the electrics, and things have a habit of failing suddenly. The dashboard, stereo and air-con are regular concerns, but make sure all controls and switches work.

Automatic gearboxes can also prove problematic, with owners complaining of cars slipping into 'failure mode', and dealers struggling to find the exact cause.

The hydropneumatic suspension system is sealed at the factory and doesn't need servicing. However, it can fail and the hydraulic pump may need replacing. Others complaints talk about the system developing a mind of its own, and adjusting its ride height at will.

Clutches on 2.0 diesels can need rebuilding after 50,000 miles, and the cost can stretch into four figures.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Reasonable reliability, low bills and low failure rate, but watch for electrical problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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