From £21,6707
Saloon version of Citroën's DS5 has been created to battle premium German rivals in China, but falls short

What is it?

Ostensibly, a saloon version of the Citroën DS5. Like its hatchback sibling, it’s manufactured at the CAPSA joint-venture factory in Shenzen, China, with the aim of giving Citroën a more premium car with which to battle German rivals.

While it has smart lines accentuated by plenty of chrome, including a strip following the roofline, it remains very conventional looking – although interestingly only DS logos are shown on the LS (which stands for Luxury Saloon) with no Citroën badge.

Interior changes include the infotainment system, which is upgraded to a touchscreen system, with the redundant space below replaced by a storage bin incorporating a drinks holder.

The centre console lacks the swooping drama of the original car, and while the steering wheel and dashboard are carried over from the standard DS5, the head-up display is not.

What's it like?

Premium cars in China usually get stretched. There are long wheelbase versions of the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, and even the humble Skoda Yeti gets a bigger foot.

Citroën, however, totally misses a trick here. One of the main criticisms of the original DS5 is the lack of rear space. Although the DS5 LS is longer than the regular car, it in fact has a 12mm shorter wheelbase. Rear knee space is barely adequate and despite the deletion of the DS5's panoramic sunroof the same goes for rear headroom.

Diesel engines aren't received well in China, and hybrids struggle to gain sales. Power therefore comes from a choice of either a naturally aspirated 1.8-litre petrol or the PSA/BMW Prince series 1.6-litre turbos. For driving around Shanghai the 161bhp turbo unit is more than adequate, providing urgent acceleration when needed. 

The six-speed automatic transmission has a sport mode but it adds little. A manual mode is selectable, but there’s no paddle shift option. 

The steering feel is on the light side but provides positive feedback, while the ride appears to have been softened for China and soaks up rough road surfaces well. Cornering has also been improved, and this stretched DS5 seems more composed than the original.

Although the upgraded technology inside the DS5 LS usually functions well, at one point on our test route the satnav stopped working and we needed to restart the car a few times to get it responding again.

Should I buy one?

Ultimately the LS sucks out the quirkiness that gives the DS5 its je ne sais quoiWhile it is not bad, it shouldn’t really be called a DS5 – it is not simply a saloon version of the hatchback but a different car.

In China it is in fact positioned lower than the hatchback and is suitably conventional (read boring) to appeal to the target customer. No doubt this will be a trend for manufacturers as they make world cars to appeal to Chinese consumers.

Mark Andrews

Citroën DS5 LS THP160 Luxury  

Price £24,500 (estimate China only); 0-62mph 8.8 seconds; Top speed 127mph; Economy 36.6mpg; CO2 183g/km; Kerb weight 1475kg; Engine 1598cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 161bhp; Torque 177lb ft at 1400-4000rpm; Gearbox six-speed automatic

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erly5 21 August 2014

DS5 Saloon?

Doesn't look much like a saloon version of the DS5, but I suppose if this is for the Chinese market only, it doesn't really matter. I fear the grille and headlight treatment is the future design direction for the DS brand.
Gerhard 21 August 2014

For China, not Britain..

You should bear in mind that this is is a car designed for the Chinese market, with its particular requirements and preferences, and is unlikely to ever appear on sale in the U.K. without being heavily revised and re-branded.
The pricing displayed here is also incorrect, as it starts at under £15,000 and only tops out at £24,000 for the 200bhp Premium version. The one displayed here can probably be had for £18,000 or so. It is designed to compete in the compact saloon segment, in which several million cars are sold per year in China, which was a market of over 20 million last year. The wheelbase, at 2715 is several cms longer than the VW Sagitar, (Jetta in Europe) it's chief competitor, both cars covering a very similar price range. The suspension has to be fairly soft to cope with the very varied surfaces found in China -few roads in China are as smooth as Shanghai's. The steering also has to be light enough for delicate Chinese tastes, heavy steering not being seen as 'luxurious'. There is a clear logic for the buttons to be in English: The more exclusive 'foreign' image would be ruined by having buttons in Chinese. Only vey local domestic brands have such symbols. Even local China-specific VWs have their switches in English. Few Chinese speak French, so English is best... That the navigation is in Chinese is merely a setting in the electronics, English being available as well, but spoken navigational directions are preferred in Chinese. The journalist really needs to view this car through the eyes of the Chinese, not apply the old British stereotypes of 'je ne sais quois' -that means nothing in China!
(acknowledging help from the excellent and
superstevie 20 August 2014

Mini2, interesting what you

Mini2, interesting what you say about the ds4. Totally agree with you! I have a c4, and it's a perfectly acceptable car. I look at the ds4 and don't see it as different enough to justify its existence. The ds5 is a fabulous looking car, and a lovely interior to boot, the ds4, just doesn't change the c4 enough