In the coming month, the PSA plant in Rennes-la-Janais will see the last model of the C5 released, leaving Citroën out of the D segment. In Europe at least, since China is entitled this year to a version that has been profoundly restyled… and rid of the latest purely Citroën specificities.
Renewed, but more consensual
BX, XM, Xantia, C6 and C5 I and II: PSA Rennes-La-Janais’s plant will have produced a whole dynasty of D and E segment sedans all with one thing in common: hydraulic suspension. By stopping production of the C5, without immediate replacement, it is this old Citroën tradition that disappears at the same time.
However, the Dongfeng-Citroën plant in Wuhan, China, which has been producing the C5 II for some time, has been producing it.
years for local needs, is determined to maintain the family on its assembly lines. For this, a serious facelift was presented last month at the Shanghai show. This move was financed on the condition that costs would be reduced, in order to position the C5 at an affordable price. To do this, it was necessary to renounce, among other things, the Tourer station wagon, the fixed hub steering wheel or the famous Hydractive suspension.
The Chinese C5 “new formula” is therefore presented with a completely reworked front end. With two-level lighting, typical of the latest productions (C4 Cactus, C1, C3, C5 Aircross). And with a new shield, including in the lower part an air intake over the entire width of the vehicle, and giving a slightly empty impression, since no longer sheltering the fog lamps. However, the whole gives a new identity to C5, which is more opulent, more statutory and, to all intents and purposes, more consensual.
While there is nothing to report for the car’s profile, the rear section is changing significantly: new rear lights with a luminous signature that will be extended to the entire range. The rear bumper also changes to a more classic design. But as much as the bow, sufficiently altered, manages to renew the C5, so much the stern gives a clear impression of “new with old”.
Dongfeng-Citroën will bring everyone in agreement with the new dashboard. We are even surprised by the extent of the restyling, since absolutely nothing of the old one has been taken over. 12.3″ TFT screen for instrumentation that replaces the classic dials, 8″ touch screen to manage multimedia, navigation and certain vehicle functions, a sleek lower part of the centre console with fewer buttons, full width aerators and a new multifunction steering wheel. You wanted a new beginning, that’s what you wanted.
It’s a pity that Citroën didn’t see fit to offer this dashboard three or four years ago on our European C5, its end of career would certainly have been less painful (only 4,069 units in France in 2016).
Under the hood, only two 4-cylinder petrol engines and 6-speed car transmission have been selected for the Chinese market, traditionally refractory to diesel: the 1.6L THP 164hp and the 1.8L THP 204hp.
Retouched, well in tune with the times, without any originality and with a simplified and not too expensive range: the C5 is back in China for a few more years. Will this new formula find its audience? Not so sure: the design of the C5 is 10 years old, it is still heavy (PF3 platform required) and not very habitable at the rear compared to some competitors. Too bad! Too bad! This last criterion is one of the main reasons for buying a sedan in China.
And for Europe, what to replace it?
With the end of the production and marketing of the C5 in Europe, more than 80 years of presence in the high-end segment are coming to an end. PSA strategists seem convinced that a shift in customers will naturally occur towards the new C5 Aircross, which will not arrive here until the end of 2018. This may be partially the case, but what about customers looking for more statutory vehicles?
No, the C5 Aircross is more likely to attract new customers to herringbone dealerships. The real replacement should, if definitively validated, arrive around 2019-2020 and take the form of the CXperience concept car, seen last year at the Paris Motor Show