Very high comfort levels for all passengers
Marking a return to the executive car sector for Citroen, the C6 follows the tradition of large, comfortable and distinctive cars from the French manufacturer. With the promise of high technology while maintaining the core values of value and space, the C6 is a promising alternative to more mainstream choices.
The striking exterior design is most likely to grab the attention, paying homage to big Citroens of the past while incorporating modern design touches common in the rest of the range. The elegant and uncluttered front end has a bold double chevron badge on the front, and the theme continues along the sides and at the rear. The concave rear window is also an unusual styling feature.
Inside the C6 has a strong luxury feel, and the simple design is in contrast to the crowded dashboards of many cars in this sector. The instruments are digital and located in a single area, with a head up display for easy monitoring of the vehicle speed. The major controls are housed in the centre console, with useful stalk controls for the operation of the stereo system.
Mechanically the C6 uses proven technology, with a choice of a petrol or diesel engine. It also uses the sophisticated Hydractive suspension system, which combines hydropneumatic and electronic control to deliver a smooth ride as well as maintaining a constant ride height regardless of passenger and luggage load. Another highlight is the pyrotechnic bonnet, which pops up in the event of a pedestrian impact to minimise the risk of injury.
The C6 also has a number of features designed to enhance its ability to provide a comfortable drive. Laminated glass is fitted to the side windows as standard, reducing the amount of noise entering the cabin. An option on Exclusive models is the fitment of electrically adjustable 'lounge' seats for maximum rear comfort, which tilt at the hip and also allow the occupant to move the front passenger seat forward for more room.
With a distinctive style and a high level of comfort, the C6 offers an attractive package for a buyer seeking a car outside of the normal choices. It is very well specified too, offsetting the high purchase price. Many buyers will prefer more established rivals, but as a niche choice it has a great deal of appeal.
Although the initial purchase price is relatively high for a Citroen, it is on a par with competitors, although with a comprehensive specification it is good value for money. Running costs will be higher with the petrol engine compared to the diesel, but proven technologies should mean servicing costs are respectable.
With a hatchback layout, a car of this size should deliver impressive space, and C6 does not disappoint. Those in the front and the rear will have no trouble with head or legroom, with those in the rear particularly well off should it be fitted with the TGV-style rear seats. The boot is also generous and well shaped, and there are a number of useful storage areas inside the cabin. The door bins are attractively styled, but the sliding mechanism does reduce the amount of space available.
In one respect the C6 is excellent in this area, as the head up display system reduces driver fatigue, with the low key digital display providing plenty of information without distraction. However, the centre console has many buttons and switches confined to a relatively small area, and this busy feel contrasts with the restrained approach employed elsewhere.
As well as the comfortable ride, features such as the laminated side windows and extra acoustic insulation help to reduce interior noise levels, adding a great deal to comfort levels. The only negative point is that the suspension can get caught out on rough roads, inducing a diagonal pitching motion that brings a little disturbance to the cabin. Otherwise it is superb in terms of comfort levels.
As well as an anti-theft alarm, central locking with deadlocks and automatic locking, the laminated side glass can withstand repeated blows, which should deter or even prevent the most determined thief from gaining entry.
The C6 has a wide range of safety systems, and on the Exclusive version it provides features not available on rival cars. The lane departure warning system and the active pop-up bonnet are two innovations that contribute greatly to safety levels, while the inclusion of tyre pressure monitoring, laminated windows and directional headlamps as standard are of great benefit.
Rather than delivering a thrilling drive, the C6 is at its most impressive when driven with restraint. Then the soothing ride, smooth engine and low noise levels provide a relaxing drive, covering long distances with ease. When pressed the C6 copes well with keen driving, but the light steering and soft suspension are less well suited to this approach.
The C6 has all the right ingredients to succeed as a family car, with generous interior room and a high level of safety. It would also deliver a high level of comfort even for five people, and with a large number of safety features, the C6 covers many of the requirements that families need.
Likely to be too expensive for most first car buyers, it is also a larger car than many would require. While it's comfortable, the C6's restrained cabin and executive feel is unlikely to appeal to younger buyers.
While the image of most modern Citroens tends towards value and practicality rather than style, the dramatic design of the C6 helps to raise it above its lesser siblings. It has a high-tech feel that makes it more desirable, while in terms of quality it is competitive, although the odd piece of average quality plastic prevents it from matching up to the class best.
Neither front or rear passengers will have any trouble getting aboard the C6, as large door openings and generous seats provide easy entry. The same goes for the luggage area, which is wide and deep and accessed through the large rear hatch.
Exclusive models come with a high specification JBL audio system as standard, which has ten speakers and a six-disc CD autochanger. It delivers impressive performance with a high power output, and the stalk-mounted controls make it easy to operate on the move.
With standard leather trim on the range topping Exclusive version, the interior of the C6 is well finished. Subtle dark colours give it a classy feel, with slivers of wood trim. The majority of the plastics are also of a good standard, with only the occasional section feeling a little flimsy. The option of lighter trim colours also allows a lighter choice for the cabin.
Although a car is towards the larger end of the scale, the C6 is not difficult to park. All round vision is good, the steering is very light at low speed while front and rear parking sensors with a visual and audible warning make squeezing into spaces a simple operation.
Full size spare wheel mounted beneath the boot floor
Two engine options: 3.0-litre V6 petrol (215bhp) and 2.7-litre diesel (208bhp). Both are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Trim levels are C6, Lignage and Exclusive.