Fleet News

Citroen C5 Exclusive 2.2 HDi - 11,500 miles

Citroen

Review

##C5est--right##NOT so long ago, the company car needed only to get its driver from A to B in reasonable comfort and provide sufficient room for work-related luggage to be judged a success.

But far wider requirements have to be met for today's workhorse model to secure a following in the competitive business transport sector. Rapid changes in lifestyles over the past few years call for the fleet car to be a jack-of-all-trades, designed to satisfy a huge variety of leisure-time needs.

With a reputation as one of the best medium-sized contenders for hauling boats, caravans and trailers, the Xantia helped Citroen make a successful foray into UK business motoring - and now its long overdue successor, the C5, looks likely to set the pace again among the rapidly-growing tow-car fraternity.

As part of its tour of duty, our long-term Exclusive model has just spent three weeks away from crowded British roads to haul a heavyweight twin-axle caravan over a 3,500-mile trip to Spain.

Like its predecessor, the C5 is low-slung and styled to have a long wheelbase and short overhangs. But because it is even wider, slightly heavier and rides on a vastly improved hydro-pneumatic suspension system it is an even better tow-car.

Despite carrying a heavy load, the self-levelling springing always maintains the correct ride height to promote comfortable and stable towing, and, as it is impossible to get the nose of the car pointing to the heavens, there's no need for headlamp adjustment.

Another convenience is a control button that raises or lowers the suspension to make hitching up an effortless operation.

Though it offers more sophisticated performance, the latest system uses electronics and computer control to be significantly less complex. According to Citroen, Hydractive 3 has played a large part in making the new car 40% cheaper to maintain than its predecessor.

Equally impressive is the combination of power and economy of the C5's direct injection turbodiesel engine. Any thoughts that the gearing might be too high for towing are soon dispelled - even though the motor is lazing along at only 2,000rpm at 60mph in fifth, that is the speed at which it is producing its maximum torque of 237 lb-ft.

As a result, this car allows remarkably quiet, relaxed and air-conditioned progress while towing with admirable economy at an average of 28.9mpg over our trip.

Strong credentials for success with drivers who like outdoor pursuits, surely.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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