The new Citroën C5 Tourer could be so good but never really quite hits the mark, says motoring writer Tim Barnes Clay, who put the executive car to the test.
On paper the new Citroën C5 Tourer seems to have everything an executive motor might need - but it doesn't.
On a trip from the Midlands to Gatwick Airport, all I wanted to do was find a cup-holder for my bottle of water.
Could I find one? No.
I ended up trying to make it stand up in the driver's door pocket instead, but to no avail.
The narrow compartment somehow forced the lid off the container, resulting in a puddle of fizzy aqua in the footwell.
The devil is in the detail
After much fumbling with the C5's extensive interior kit I eventually found a flimsy plastic foldaway cup-holder inside the centre armrest.
Too late. By then, most of the water had escaped.
In the grand scheme of things I know this doesn't matter, but a quick swig of water isn't much to ask for when on a 120-mile journey.
The other problem with the C5 is the complex array of tiny buttons to control the sat-nav and radio.
The on-off switch for the audio unit is miniature and the sat-nav is infuriating.
It's slow on the uptake and I couldn't work out how to input a postcode, and yes, before you ask, my eyesight is fine.
But enough of the gripes, the Citroën C5 Tourer does have a lot of good points.
Citroën C5 Tourer HDi 200 Exclusive: Spec
The part leather upholstery and electrically-adjustable front seats are swish, and the car's automatically controlled springing and damping delivers a cushioned ride.
Also, the efficient new HDi 200 engine on the range-topping Exclusive, under review here, comes with a six-speed auto transmission.
The cogs whirr up and down gracefully, and the fuel range on the built-for-commuting oil-burner seems never ending.
Add tyre pressure monitoring, parking sensors, as well as chrome trim and the C5 is a pleasant place to be.
Performance is more exciting than the car's rather understated looks suggest.
Speedy if you need it to be
Top speed is 140mph and 0-62mph comes in 8.6 seconds.
Most of the time the Tourer is quite happy to sit at 65mph on the UK's motorway system – it never demands anything racy.
But the power is there if you need it.
And when you do, it comes as a surprise when you see vehicles rapidly becoming dots in your rear view mirror.
The estate car offers a five star safety rating for adult occupants.
And all Citroën C5 Tourer models have an anti-theft alarm, an immobiliser and deadlocks.
Anti-intruder resistance is further improved on Exclusive models with standard-fit laminated side windows.
That's quite a lot of security – maybe car crime is worse in France.
So, the C5 Tourer package is good in some ways, but disappointing in others.
Basic things - yes, like the cup-holder and tiny buttons for the radio - let the car down.
It's for those reasons that I find it hard to justify the £29,895 price-tag.
Citroën C5 Tourer HDi 200 Exclusive: Pros & cons
- Comfortable √
- Quiet √
- Economical √
- Tiny buttons X
- Illogical interior kit X
Citroën C5 Tourer HDi 200 Exclusive: Fast facts
- Max speed: 140 mph
- 0-62 mph: 8.6 secs
- Combined mpg: 46.3
- Engine: 2179 cc 16 valve 4 cylinder turbo diesel
- Max. power (bhp): 200 at 3500 rpm
- Max. torque (lb/ft): 332 at 2000 rpm
- CO2: 159 g/km
- Price: £29,895 on the road
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