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

Our Verdict

DS 5

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

  • First Drive

    2015 DS 5 BlueHDi 150 S&S review

    The DS 5 is hard to pigeonhole but it works as a package. Impressive French-style long-range cruiser, albeit at strong money for an unproven brand
  • First Drive

    Citroen DS5 LS first drive review

    Saloon version of Citroën's DS5 has been created to battle premium German rivals in China, but falls short
21 August 2014

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

Join the debate

Comments
13

20 August 2014
While this model looks to be a non-starter for Europe, it's interesting to note that they have improved both the ride and handling over the original. Perhaps they could apply these modifications to improve the apparently rather indifferent qualities of the DS5? I'm intrigued by the deletion of the Citroen branding from this model: is the inference that it is too "vin ordinaire" for the model's premium aspirations in China? Might they be thinking about doing the same in Europe? If so, I'm not sure history is on their side. It worked for MINI, only because the F50 was a good (not great) car and very heavily and expensively marketed as "cool British" by BMW. On the other hand, I'm old enough to remember the era of the orphaned Maestro and Montego after the Austin branding was dropped. More generally, I remain confused by the proposition offered by Citroen's sub-brand: the DS3 is heavily advertised as sporty and youthful, but the DS4 and DS5 seem to be completely invisible in the UK. I've seen one DS5 and liked its unusual looks, but wouldn't regard it as remotely sporting. Anyone care to try and describe the three PSA brands (Citroen, DS and Peugeot) in a couple of adjectives each?

20 August 2014
Daniel Joseph wrote:

While this model looks to be a non-starter for Europe, it's interesting to note that they have improved both the ride and handling over the original. Perhaps they could apply these modifications to improve the apparently rather indifferent qualities of the DS5? I'm intrigued by the deletion of the Citroen branding from this model: is the inference that it is too "vin ordinaire" for the model's premium aspirations in China? Might they be thinking about doing the same in Europe? If so, I'm not sure history is on their side. It worked for MINI, only because the F50 was a good (not great) car and very heavily and expensively marketed as "cool British" by BMW. On the other hand, I'm old enough to remember the era of the orphaned Maestro and Montego after the Austin branding was dropped. More generally, I remain confused by the proposition offered by Citroen's sub-brand: the DS3 is heavily advertised as sporty and youthful, but the DS4 and DS5 seem to be completely invisible in the UK. I've seen one DS5 and liked its unusual looks, but wouldn't regard it as remotely sporting. Anyone care to try and describe the three PSA brands (Citroen, DS and Peugeot) in a couple of adjectives each?

I see quite a few DS5s about, the rarest to my eyes is most definitely the DS4. As a DS3 owner I'm not remotely biased (!!!) but I think the 4 is the least desirable of the lot. The DS5 is properly luxurious inside and feels very 'oldy worldy Citroen', which makes it all the more unfortunate that the ride apparently doesn't match its name. I think this 5-LS thing is truly awful to look at; not befitting of the DS brand whatsoever. I think the deletion of Citroen is also a step too far; might work well for China but in Europe, I think that will be a mistake. The only marque I can think of where that has worked is Lexus. Infiniti are still a relatively unknown brand in the UK and do very much look like Nissans. I suspect once we begin to see more Cactus-inspired Citroens, the DS range will find it easier to differentiate itself. Peugeot, meanwhile, are focusing on being the classy/elegant arm of PSA, with Citroen offering the design-led, simple C range and luxurious/boutique-y DS range. Everything in between is in a bit of a muddle at the moment, from what I can see.


"Work hard and be nice to people"

21 August 2014
Mini2 wrote:

I suspect once we begin to see more Cactus-inspired Citroens, the DS range will find it easier to differentiate itself. Peugeot, meanwhile, are focusing on being the classy/elegant arm of PSA, with Citroen offering the design-led, simple C range and luxurious/boutique-y DS range. Everything in between is in a bit of a muddle at the moment, from what I can see.

I guess that will make sense, as long as future models align with these "brand values". The not-for-Europe DS5 LS can, I suppose, be ignored in this context. Of course, historically, nobody seemed to have a problem with Citroen producing in its own name a range that stretched from the 2CV to the DS (and SM): each model was valued on its own merits in a time before we became so badge obsessed. How Ford and GM Europe must wish for a return to those days, when high margin top of the range models such as the Granada and Rekord / Senator were big sellers...

22 August 2014
Mini2 wrote:
Daniel Joseph wrote:

While this model looks to be a non-starter for Europe, it's interesting to note that they have improved both the ride and handling over the original. Perhaps they could apply these modifications to improve the apparently rather indifferent qualities of the DS5? I'm intrigued by the deletion of the Citroen branding from this model: is the inference that it is too "vin ordinaire" for the model's premium aspirations in China? Might they be thinking about doing the same in Europe? If so, I'm not sure history is on their side. It worked for MINI, only because the F50 was a good (not great) car and very heavily and expensively marketed as "cool British" by BMW. On the other hand, I'm old enough to remember the era of the orphaned Maestro and Montego after the Austin branding was dropped. More generally, I remain confused by the proposition offered by Citroen's sub-brand: the DS3 is heavily advertised as sporty and youthful, but the DS4 and DS5 seem to be completely invisible in the UK. I've seen one DS5 and liked its unusual looks, but wouldn't regard it as remotely sporting. Anyone care to try and describe the three PSA brands (Citroen, DS and Peugeot) in a couple of adjectives each?

I see quite a few DS5s about, the rarest to my eyes is most definitely the DS4. As a DS3 owner I'm not remotely biased (!!!) but I think the 4 is the least desirable of the lot. The DS5 is properly luxurious inside and feels very 'oldy worldy Citroen', which makes it all the more unfortunate that the ride apparently doesn't match its name. I think this 5-LS thing is truly awful to look at; not befitting of the DS brand whatsoever. I think the deletion of Citroen is also a step too far; might work well for China but in Europe, I think that will be a mistake. The only marque I can think of where that has worked is Lexus. Infiniti are still a relatively unknown brand in the UK and do very much look like Nissans. I suspect once we begin to see more Cactus-inspired Citroens, the DS range will find it easier to differentiate itself. Peugeot, meanwhile, are focusing on being the classy/elegant arm of PSA, with Citroen offering the design-led, simple C range and luxurious/boutique-y DS range. Everything in between is in a bit of a muddle at the moment, from what I can see.

I think its because they were lazy with the DS4. Exactly the same front end and interior as the C4, different back end, jacked up suspension and jacked up price. The O.P probs has seen loads going by but just thought they were standard C4's.

Not many people wanting a mid sized hatch wants anything but a hatch if they do they look at something like a Nissan Cashcow instead.

Its a half-arsed attempt at something different and it didnt pay off. I genuinely like the DS5 though (though some of the interior, though nice is well below class par for quality, Ive just got a new C4 Picasso for the wife and the quality is leaps ahead of the DS5).

I'm still tempted to look back at a DS5 come this time next year when i'm looking at a replacement for my current. Hopefully the MY changes will nail it by next year.

I must say i'm not blown away by this new saloon. Though there seems to be maybe a start with a resurgence of small saloons back in the UK. I think the A3 Saloon is the best looking and from the same stable, the Rapid etc are starting to get around now. Wouldn't be surprised to see a 1/2 series saloon at some point. Have to say that this has hints of Kia Optima about it aswell.

20 August 2014
I like how the Sat Nav is in Chinese but all the instrumentation is in English.

20 August 2014
Indeed. A French brand in a Chinese market and all the main instrumentation is in English. In the UK, the Daily Mail types would start a petition of they saw even one council sign in Polish etc..

25 August 2014
Dumb Comment..Why would you have a sign in Polish in the UK.......

3

20 August 2014
There are no Citroen badge because in China DS and Citroen are completely different brands.

20 August 2014
**"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."**

Based on that, they should make the same suspension changes on models for sale in the EU. Poor ride quality in a big Citroen is unforgivable.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

21 August 2014
This whole DS range makes a mockery of Citroen's history and the original DS. Lack of hydropneumatic suspension by a Citroen in this class of car is unforgiveable.

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