Shed of the Week | Citroen C5

A Shed without an MOT advisory is great news – a Shed without an MOT advisory ever must be unheard of

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, 8 December 2023 / Loading comments

Every now and then Mrs Shed will play a joke on her husband. Last year she coated the toilet seat in bleach and ‘forgot’ to warn Shed about it. This caused a fair bit of shrieking and localised third-degree shrivelling of the flesh on his buttocks. It was an ill wind that blew nobody any good, though, as the scorching of his undercarriage meant that Shed was able to attend the annual village fancy dress as Rumpledbumskin and his Y-fronts didn’t need washing for weeks. 

Talking of unnaturally sparkling, Shed has been poring over MOT histories for more years than he cares to remember, but in all that time he has never seen one quite as squeaky-clean as the one that goes with today’s offering. 

What are you on about, comes the cry, it’s only a crappy old 2007 Citroen C5 diesel? OK, the make and model might not set your pantaloons on fire, but it’s the life that this car has lived – or, to be more accurate, not lived – that makes it special. 

Citroen started building C5s in 2000 as the next step on from the Xantia. The Mk1 C5 looked saloon-y but it was actually a liftback. The estate version had a massive boot in the best big Cit tradition, but even liftbacks like our Shed would swallow just about anything you threw at it. Hydropneumatic suspension took care of everything, when it was working anyway. In the Mk2 C5 which came out in 2008, a year after our Shed was registered, hydro suspension was offered as an alternative to more conventional (and less problematic) steel springs that harassed dealers understandably preferred you to have. After that Citroen’s liquid ride disappeared forever. 

This is one of the 2005MY-on C5 facelifts, which wasn’t the usual front and rear refresh. The entire car was lengthened and they put swivelling directional headlights on it, too. Even the facelift was no looker, so you can imagine how ugly the pre-‘04 one was. The DW10 2.0 HDi diesel under the bonnet was PSA’s first common rail diesel engine; the 134hp version that we have here came with either a six-speed manual gearbox or (from 2006) a six-speed auto. Torque was strong – 236lb ft at just 2,000rpm – but the C5 wasn’t light at not far short of 1,500kg, so the 0-62mph time was an unspectacular 11.0sec. Still, the combined fuel consumption figure was a wallet-preserving 39.2mpg, and high 40s were easily achievable on a motorway. That’s where the C5 was at its happiest. 

Our Shed is a VTR. That means extra kit rather than extra performance, principally the handsome alloys plus automatic lights and wipers, but the real VTR-ness of this car is in its MOT history. Every test from the first one back in 2010 has been passed with not a single advisory blemishing the paperwork. Not one. The current mileage of 23,588 totally checks out from the MOTs, indicating an average daily mileage of four.

Generally the car looks as new as a 16-year old car has any right to look. The dealer apologises for small bits of damage on the mirrors but Shed’s Amstrad screen doesn’t have the resolution required to pick these up. He can see a minuscule scrape on one of the rims, but that’s it as far as he’s concerned. The more gimlet-eyed among you might spot some more imperfections, but overall it’s a beaudy mate. 

The switchgear and armrest on the Cit’s door panel do look like they’ve done more than 23,000 miles, but as we all know French cars from this era (and maybe later ones, only time will tell) are famed for the meltiness of some of their cabin materials, so let’s not get too concerned about that. The seats aren’t as clean as the MOT history, either. Hopefully these stains aren’t a result of the colonic ooze that PHer Chirurgus blamed for the manky perches in last week’s Suzuki Swift Sport.  

If he was being picky, Shed would have liked to see a pic of the engine and some detail on the service history. The pics do include a couple of paperwork fans, but the one that matters is hidden. In 2022, 15 years after it was fitted and therefore slightly later than recommended, the original cambelt was replaced. The official schedule was between 50,000 and 100,000 miles depending on how frightened you were of it snapping like a length of ancient knicker elastic. Injectors could clog up but that was hardly unique to this engine. Electrics were potentially troublesome and of course so was the suspension. 

If you’re prepared to take the risk(s), however, this could be a very characterful choice. You’d best be quick though, because Shed is toying with the idea of snaffling this one for himself. As the postmistress will confirm, he’s always been partial to a dominating boot and a touch of the old split-folds.  

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