From £21,670
Citroën’s new DS5, on sale next March, exudes design chic, but does it have the élan to carry it off on the move?

Our Verdict

DS5
The Citroën DS5 offers an intriguing blend of coupé, hatchback and estate car looks

The Citroën DS5 is a handsome hatchback designed with a premium feel

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16 October 2011

What is it?

Taking inspiration from the massive success of France’s luxury brands, DS is designed to “express French style and luxury with beautiful details and exceptional quality” and be seen as more upmarket than mass-market brands, if not a direct competitor to Mercedes and BMW. In turn, the success of the DS brand - which now relies on the new Citroën DS5 - will pull up the image of the Citroën parent brand.

The first DS was, however, more of an urban sporting car than an expression of French luxury. Nevertheless, the Mini-like DS3 has been a success, shifting more than 130,000 units since it went on sale. Next along was the DS4, which is just arriving in showrooms.

Completing the initial incarnation of the DS line is this car: the Citroën DS5. Due to arrive in UK showrooms from next March, the dramatically styled DS5 is an intriguing mix of high-roofed hatchback, coupé and sports estate.

What’s it like?

The first time you see a DS5 – and for quite a few subsequent viewings – you’ll need time to absorb the sheer complexity of the exterior styling.

The interior is just as dramatic. The driver is hemmed in by a genuine cockpit feel, thanks to the high centre console, deep dashboard and roof-mounted switchgear console. The interior also relies heavily on metal trim, which appears, among many places, on the rim of the flat-bottomed wheel, around the instrument bezels and on the unusual, but effective, ‘shark’s tooth’ switches on the centre console.

The 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, driving a conventional six-speed automatic gearbox (the manual version will cost about £26,000 in the UK), is smooth and willing, with an easy and pleasant gait.

The combination of the higher – and very relaxing – driving position and the car’s refined and long-striding powerplant give the DS5 a flavour of the classic French ‘Grand Routier’ cars that were optimised to waft unerringly across Europe. This is a notably refined car when cruising on part-throttle.

Downsides include the way the double A-pillars and the low-mounted rear-view mirror obscure the view through the shallow windscreen. But the real problem with this DS5 is the shockingly bad ride over very rough surfaces and potholes.

On good surfaces, the ride is more than acceptable, but the way it suddenly deteriorates over potholes and broken surfaces made more than one driver curse out loud in surprise during our time with the car. The amount of noise that is transmitted into the cabin is also unusual.

This problem goes beyond the 18in wheels and low-profile tyres on the test cars. But with a few months to go before the DS5 goes on sale in the UK, there may be time to rid this attractive car of such a significant flaw.

The Hybrid4 version of the DS5 gets a multi-link rear axle and this helps to improve the ride over rough surface a little.

The DS5 Hybrid4 has the technical prowess to back up the styling, offering a Co2 rating of 99g/km, a potential combined thrust of 197bhp and 369lb ft, part-time all-wheel drive and the option of part-time zero-emissions running, when just the rear wheels are driving the car via battery power.

Should I buy one?

The DS5 is a genuinely stand-out, original design: striking, practical and thoroughly likeable. But Citroën needs to smooth out the rough-road ride as a matter of urgency.

Citroen DS5 hybrid4

Price: £33,000 (est); 0-62mph: 8.6sec; Top speed: 131mph; Economy: 74.3mpg (combined); CO2 emissions: 99g/km; Kerb weight: 1660kg; Engine layout: 4 cyls, 1997cc, turbodiesel, plus electric motor; Power: 161bhp at 3850rpm, plus 36bhp electric motor; Torque: 221lb ft at 1750-3500rpm, plus 148lb ft electric motor; Gearbox: 6-spd automated manual

Join the debate

Comments
56

18 October 2011

What a great looking car! It could do rather well, especially the hybrid for company car drivers, but as long as they limit the numbers rather than flooding the market. Other issue I would have with it as well is that a large number of the dealerships leave a lot to be desired...

18 October 2011

Curious car.

The obvious problem is with the suspension but as already commented on, this may change. Assuming that it is, who is this car aimed at? It's nice enough but I don't know who it is going to appeal to?

The DS3 worked because it was an aspirational, tailorable, funky product. Get to this part of the market and that just doesn't cut the mustard. Aspirational here means badge and image, not funk.

It's nice enough but I can't see (for the money) too many people choosing it over a car from BMW or Audi.

I think they are going to struggle to sell this car to it's target customers, even if they have owned DS products before.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

18 October 2011

[quote TegTypeR]It's nice enough but I can't see (for the money) too many people choosing it over a car from BMW or Audi.[/quote]

I look forward to seeing how the hybrid version with its sister Peugeot version sells compared with the Volt/Leaf/plug in Prius/Volvo V60 plug in hybrid/etc over the coming couple of years.

For similar money you could buy a lower tech/higher tax German branded car, the real verdict will be delivered by a mixture of desirability and costs.

18 October 2011

It was sounding an interesting alternative to our company Prius. Until I saw the price.

18 October 2011

Generally I like the look of this, though I think they've gone too far with the chrome on this one: Those long strips up the top of the wings are just too fussy.

18 October 2011

[quote TegTypeR]I think they are going to struggle to sell this car to it's target customers, even if they have owned DS products before[/quote]

I think that is probably true. Also the DS4 has been received only lukewarmly in France, I believe. Curious to see one in the metal, though.

On the shocking ride - I just read a test in the Automobile, and they gave the same critique - got the impression from their test that this is very much the final product for the launch, and that no further changes were envisaged, but that may change of course.

Faustcar

18 October 2011

[quote Faustcar]On the shocking ride - I just read a test in the Automobile, and they gave the same critique - got the impression from their test that this is very much the final product for the launch, and that no further changes were envisaged, but that may change of course. [/quote] considering their good reputation for their big cars suspension this is indeed pretty surprising - overall i like the look of it externally - interior still too fussy but probably a reasonably pleasant place to be. If they dont fix the ride though I can see this becoming Citroen's very own Avantime.

18 October 2011

[quote philcUK]

[quote Faustcar]On the shocking ride - I just read a test in the Automobile, and they gave the same critique - got the impression from their test that this is very much the final product for the launch, and that no further changes were envisaged, but that may change of course. [/quote] considering their good reputation for their big cars suspension this is indeed pretty surprising - overall i like the look of it externally - interior still too fussy but probably a reasonably pleasant place to be. If they dont fix the ride though I can see this becoming Citroen's very own Avantime.

[/quote]

I know that Citroen are wanting to distinguish the DS range from its mainstream models, but I think they should make a feature of a more comfortable ride, as well as the distinctive styling. It would really suit the brand. I test drove a DS3 a while ago, and the thing that struck me about it was how firm the ride was: If it had been more comfortable I'd have been a lot more impressed.

18 October 2011

I am sorry but £33,000 for a citroen!!! are they kidding!!! i accept i am a badge snob and i always will be, sue me!

also lets be honest anyone that buys this car for that price will take it back a year later and find its worth about 18k!

this must be one of the most effective ways of loosing money, after a brand new SAAB obviously!

18 October 2011

[quote TegTypeR]

It's nice enough but I can't see (for the money) too many people choosing it over a car from BMW or Audi.

I think they are going to struggle to sell this car to it's target customers, even if they have owned DS products before

[/quote]

I think you underestimate the patriotism and loyalty of many French car-buyers. I'm sure this will sell well in its home nation. Us Brits are a cautious badge-obsessed lot so I doubt it'll do much over here. Specially at that price....

So much more bl**dy interesting than 95% of what the other manufacturers are churning out...Bravo Citroen!

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