This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Citroën C5 Hatchback (04-08) review.

Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

C5’s range of modern, punchy and economical diesel engines almost make the petrol line up redundant. But they are pricier, commanding a premium of 15-25 per cent. The base 2.0 HDi is available with 90 and 110 bhp – it’s more popular with the higher output unit. For buyers looking for more power there’s the 136 bhp 2.2 HDi. It’s not as economical as the 2.0 (44.1 mpg, compared to 50.4), but it offers a 0-60 mph time that just over 10 seconds.

The 1.8 is the base petrol, and gives adequate performance; 0-60 mph in 11.1 seconds and a top speed of 122 mph. The range-topping 3.0 V6 is off the pace, thirsty (returning 27.7 mpg) and too expensive new. Buyers agree: just 96, out of 10,374 C5s sold during 2003 had the V6 engine.

The handling isn’t up to Mondeo or Passat standards, but it’s safe, secure and bodyroll is kept in check. Suspension on 2.0 petrol, 2.2 HDi and 2.0 V6 can be adjusted to a ‘sport’ mode, which gives a stiffer ride, but better cornering. A menagerie of 19 integrated computers control the revolutionary Unique Hydractive 3 air suspension system and a multitude of driving aids.

Gearchange is notchy.