CitroŽn C5 Exclusive 1.6 THP 155, Ford Mondeo 2.0 Turbo Ecoboost Titanium 4dr, Volkswagen Passat 1.8 TSI (DSG) Review
Middle of the pack

Story and photos by Raymond L
15 May 2011
 

The new Passat faces up to rejuvenated versions of the Citroen C5 and the Ford Mondeo. Raymond L plays judge to decide which is the best mid-range executive.

Introduction, styling

The large saloon sector has been dominated by the perennial Toyota Camry in recent years. With the recent high COE prices though, large saloon buyers are more willing to fork out that little bit more for a large saloon model from Europe with a slightly more prestigious badge.

The large saloon choices from the European marques are wide ranging to say the least - there is the under rated Opel Insignia as well as the recently updated Citroen C5, Ford Mondeo and the Volkswagen Passat, and coming really soon is the classy Peugeot 508. With the 508 going on sale only in a couple of months time, the three most recent European large saloons are the rejuvenated C5 and Mondeo as well as the new Passat. Both the C5 and Mondeo have new gearboxes as well as more powerful but yet more efficient turbocharged engines to bring it up on par to the TSI powered Passat so the big question is, how does the updated Mondeo and C5 fare against the slightly more established Passat in the increasingly competitive mid-range European large executive saloon sector?

At first glance, the new Passat looks like nothing more than a facelifted version of the previous model with Volkswagen's latest corporate face and styling themes. According to Volkswagen though, the only common exterior body panel between the two is the roof, which is a bit hard to believe when the new car looks so strikingly similar to its predecessor. Look closer though and you'll notice the new details on each of the exterior sheet metal - these might be minor detail changes like the new crease that runs the entire sides of the car.

The logic behind the design of the new Passat is rather similar to what Volkswagen's designers did with the Golf in its transition from Mk 5 to Mk 6 two years ago which is to graft on the brand's latest ‘slim radiator grille' corporate face, give the sides of the car a more three-dimensional feel with the creases while retaining the familiar basic silhouette and side profile of the previous model, making the new car look unmistakably Passat in the process.

The Passat's new face certainly has a thrusting look that gives it a more distinctive face than the updated Mondeo and C5 here. The third generation Mondeo's styling was a breath of fresh air when it first made its debut in 2006. Based on the striking Iosis concept car, the Mondeo was one of the first Fords to embody the brand's current Kinetic Design styling philosophy.

At 4844mm in length, the Mondeo is longer than the 4769mm Passat and the 4779mm C5 but Ford's designers have done well to make it appear athletic rather than bulky. The updated model can easily be recognized from the old car by its new radiator grille while the front bumper features a bolder and lower trapezoidal opening and LED daytime running lights for an even classier look. The contours on the bonnet have been further enhanced while the new boot lid and tail lamps with LED technology complete the exterior tweaks on the updated car.

The changes to the Mondeo might be subtle but they are certainly more obvious than the tweaks on the updated C5's while the new details certainly bring the Mondeo's overall looks more up to date with newer Ford models like the Fiesta and the upcoming new Focus.

Despite looking very much similar to the three-year old pre-facelift model, the Citroen C5 is undoubtedly the prettiest saloon of the bunch here. From the Double Chevron grille to the curvature on the base of the rear windscreen, there's a certain unique Gallic charm and character the C5 possesses that makes it stand out from its two rivals here.

In terms of external cosmetic changes, the updated C5 features changes that are limited to just new headlamps with LED daytime running lights and a new tail lamp design with a new ‘dark crystal' treatment and clear glass in the middle section. The C5 though is the only one here available in only a four-door saloon body style, while the Passat can be had in either a four-door saloon body or Variant estate and the Mondeo goes further by offering a five-door hatchback body in addition to the four-door saloon tested here and the estate.

 


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Engine

Engine Capacity 1598cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Bore x Stroke (77 x 85.8)mm
Power 156bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 240Nm @ 1400rpm
Power to Weight 97 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 9.8s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 210 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.7 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4779 x 1860 x 1451) mm
Wheelbase 2815 mm
Kerb Weight 1609 kg

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs

Engine

Engine Capacity 1999cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 203bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 300Nm @ 1750rpm
Power to Weight 148.8 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 7.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 232 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 9.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Powershift 6-speed Dual-clutch Auto with manual override
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4844 x 1937 x 1500) mm
Wheelbase 2850 mm
Kerb Weight 1364 kg
Boot Capacity 535 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 70 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs

Engine

Engine Capacity 1798cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Bore x Stroke (82.5 x 84.2)mm
Power 160bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 1500rpm
Power to Weight 111.2 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 8.5s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 220 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 12.2 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4765 x 1820 x 1472) mm
Wheelbase 2410 mm
Turning Circle 11.4 metres
Kerb Weight 1439 kg
Boot Capacity 565 L
Boot Capacity (folded) 1067 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 70 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs