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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For It's a quirky alternative to more mainstream rivals, with a super-smooth ride

Against It loses value steeply during its early years and any suspension faults are costly to fix

Verdict You'll find killer depreciation on early cars, but avoid that and you can bag a bargain

Go for… 1.6 HDi Design

Avoid… 3.0 V6

Citroën C5 Hatchback
  • 1. The suspension needs an overhaul every five years, so check if it's been done, if necessary
  • 2. Check the clutch on a 2.0 diesel model, as it may need rebuilding after 50,000 miles
  • 3. Watch out for problems on automatics - the control unit can go haywire
  • 4. Practicality is a major plus - the boot is huge and well shaped, and the wide tailgate opens easily
  • 5. You won't find a much bigger car in this class. Space is excellent front and back
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Citroën C5 Hatchback full review with expert trade views

It’s a big smooth cruiser that’s quirky in the way Citroens used to be. Gas-filled spheres 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 you won’t feel a thing. Wind and road noise is kept out, too, creating a wonderfully hushed cabin as you glide along.

The diesel engines are quiet and powerful, although the 1.8 petrol makes some noise. If you corner the car 'enthusiastically', the amount of body roll will alarm you at first. However, the car does grip well, although you may not feel comfortable as it does, and the steering’s lack of feel doesn’t help.

There’s ample room and a good view out for every passenger, they can all sit comfortably in its wide body. The boot is huge, too, a good, square shape, and the tailgate is wide and opens easily.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Oddly not that many around and values firm; 2.0 HDI preferred

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Go for a model from after 2004, when the C5 got a facelift that improved the styling, as well as boosting kit levels and addressing some of the car’s reliability problems.

Then pick a diesel. The 1.6 is the smallest available, but its 110bhp hauls the car well and economically. Otherwise, pick the 136bhp 2.0 diesel. If neither suits, the 1.8 or 2.0 petrols are reasonable choices, but steer well clear of the 3.0 V6 because it is thirsty and dear to insure.

Entry LX trim is loaded with kit but move up to the next level, called, Design, if you want alloy wheels and rear electric windows. The sporty VTR or top-spec 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 Lane Departure Warning System that rouses a sleepy driver should the car wander across lanes, but it’s a rare sight on used C5s.

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 it an expensive buy at only a few months old but 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 petrol and 1.6 diesel are cheapest in group 8, the 2.0 diesel and petrol are group 9 or 10 and the 3.0 is in group 14.

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

Trade view

James Ruppert

Oddly not that many around and values firm; 2.0 HDI preferred

James Ruppert
Used car guru

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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