The French connection

Citroën C5 HDi

I was in Melbourne last week for a conference and I was shocked at how many people were smoking in all the public places I went to.

You see I live in Queensland where the Beattie government proudly proclaim that “Nobody smokes here anymore!”

Where I come from it’s illegal to smoke in restaurants and clubs and there’s no smoking at the pokies. It’s even illegal to smoke near a children’s playground or on a patrolled beach.

I can only assume that the Melbournians have Victorian attitudes towards smoking and still need to inhale hot gases to keep themselves warm in the winter.

With such a penchant for cigarettes I’m sure that the Citroën C5 should sell really well in Victoria because it’s one of the few cars I’ve driven lately which still has an ash tray.

This is no ordinary ash tray mind you, it’s probably one of the biggest dumper receptacles ever made and it occupies a premium position right in the middle of the dash board.

Just like a real ash tray it’s decked out with chrome so there’s no way that any coins will fit in there and it’s a wasted space as far as I’m concerned.

But the Citroën is unashamedly designed for French drivers and I’m sure there are still plenty of them who like a fag.

Leaving aside the ashtray, the C5 is a fantastic package of creature comforts and advanced engineering at a great price.

Whilst the C5 range includes 2 litre and 3 litre petrol models the 2 litre turbo-diesel is the pick of the bunch in my book. It has more torque than the 3 litre V6 and 30% better fuel economy.

Standard equipment in the diesel model includes rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, dual climate air-con, leather, electric seats and a 6 speed automatic.

Diesel C5’s are also fitted with Xenon directional headlights which in true Citroën fashion turn into corners. Just the thing for those winding French country lanes.

It’s also possible to turn the headlights on with the remote key which is a great feature when you’re lost in those dark hospital car parks.

And when you lock the C5 the rear vision mirrors develop ptosis and turn back towards the door to leave room to squeeze past in those tight French parking spots.

For safety’s sake stability control, traction control and emergency braking assist are all standard on the C5. And the C5 also scored 36 out of 37 points in the EuroNCAP crash tests.

Although the C5 I tested looks like a sedan the whole rear section opens up like a hatchback for a truck-load of space. And in the wagon variant there is a switch to raise and lower the rear to make loading and attaching a trailer easier.

Citroën’s legendary Hydractive suspension is standard on the C5 and it is possible to raise or lower the ride height and adjust the damping from inside the vehicle.

The Citroën C5 may just be the best-handling car in the medium luxury range. What it lacks in straight line performance it more than makes up for in road-holding around bends which is really the essence of European motoring.

And for colleagues who know how to drive a hard bargain Citroën dealers have been known to be very negotiable on what is already a bargain price.

Safe motoring,
Dr Clive Fraser

For: Well equipped, safe, great ride and handling.

Against: Re-sale value will be a problem for doctors that aren’t anally retentive.

This car would suit: Psychiatrists because they like to be different.

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    Medical Motoring is an online record of the articles written by Dr Clive Fraser and published in the Australian Medicine magazine by the Australian Medical Association.