What is it?
The flagship of Citroën’s DS range: a family car aimed at the stylish end of the market and billed as a more dynamic, interesting choice than the French firm’s 'standard' family car, the C5.
The DS5 first arrived in 2011, its dramatic looks wowing the crowds when it premiered at the Shaghai motor show. When we first road tested it, however, the DS5 was far from the engineering masterpiece that Citroën became famous for with its original DS back in 1955.
Our initial verdict on the stylish hatch was that the ride was disappointing. In short, it jumped and fidgeted its way along the UK’s rotten roads. To its credit, Citroën listened to the criticism and, in conjunction with a new diesel engine, the French firm is introducing an improved suspension system which is said to give the stylish hatch the comfortable ride that was previously lacking.
Also on board is the French firm’s latest six-speed automatic gearbox, which the car maker hopes will enable the DS5 to cruise along as effortlessly as its German rivals.
What's it like?
Before we get to that new suspension set-up, let’s hear more about the new engine. Citroën has employed some clever technology to make this diesel engine perform better on its CO2 and economy score cards, but at the same time has extracted another 20bhp from the 2.0-litre unit to improve overall performance.
Now, the DS5 will manage a claimed 0-62mph sprint in 9.5sec and motor on to a top speed of 137mph, while the combined economy figure is up to 62.8mpg and the CO2 is down to a lowly 118g/km (or 114g/km if you go for the 17in wheels). Citroën has achieved this is by devising a unique exhaust architecture as well as using Adblue (urea) injection to cut NOx emissions by up to 90 per cent and CO2 output by up to four per cent. The bottom line is that this will be good news for company car buyers.
On the roads outside Paris, where we drove the new car, the DS5 felt swifter. There’s a generous amount of torque low down the rev range, while each gear of the new six-speed ’box benefits from a wider spread of power so there’s more performance available through each ratio. It’s no outright performance machine, but it’s a more flexible and efficient unit and the DS5 is all the better for it.
Good news with the latest engine, then. But have PSA’s engineers come up with an improved ride? Well, new shock absorbers have been fitted to help dampen the oscillations that mired the ride quality before. But it seems that the engineers haven’t quite worked miracles on the suspension system. On the city streets of Paris, the cabin couldn’t quite flatten out the lumps and bumps of the cobbled streets, and out on the back roads of the Parisian suburbs the car still transmitted too much vibration into the cabin from the surface’s imperfections. It certainly doesn't waft along like a premium German model can.
Should I buy one?
Clearly a quick fix to the suspension isn’t going to transform the ride significantly on the DS5.
However, there is a degree of improvement and the reason we liked this car initially still stands: here is a niche model that's interesting and a joy to look at and in nearly every other area would be an extremely pleasing car to own. Plus the new engine is a better performer all round, which is good news for Citroën as a car maker.