Citroen DS5 review
The Citroen DS5 follows the DS3 and DS4, and offers an stylish alternative traditional compact executive models
The Citroen DS5 is the third ‘DS’ offering and is aimed at the executive segment, putting it up against models such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series . But the boldly styled Citroen aims to offer something different from its traditional German rivals. Noy only does it look quirky on the outside, the DS5 features an imaginatively styled cabin that's packed with upmarket features. The innovation continues underneath the skin, where you'll find the novel diesel electric HYbrid4 powerplant, which combines a 2.0-litre 163bhp diesel engine with a 37bhp electric motor. The front wheels are driven by the engine and the rears by the motor. A 1.6-litre diesel with 113bhp and a non-hybrid version of the 2.0 HDi also feature. The single 1.6-litre petrol option puts out an impressive 200bhp. However, while the Citroen looks good, it's hobbled by lead-footed handling, an uncomfortable ride and surprisingly high running costs.
Our choice: DS5 2.0 HDi (160) DStyle
The Citroen DS5 looks like no other car on the road, thanks to its bold design and MPV-like profile. In fact, the big Citroen looks unlike anything else on the road thanks to its concept car lines and bold chrome trim that runs along the top of the front wings and into the A pillars. However, Citroen’s family face remains, complete with the large double chevron badge set into the grille. The cabin is the DS5's trump card. Not only is the fit, finish and material a match for mainstream rivals, but the design is also incredibly stylish. There’s a pilot-style centre console located above the driver’s head and a split sunroof which allows both driver and passenger their own separate glass panel. Some of the minor switchgear is a little hard to find, but this is a small price to pay for such a distinctive interior. There's seating for three in the back, but some tall adults may find headroom a little limited. There are three trim levels to choose from, DSign. DStyle and DSport, with all getting decent kit, including dual zone climate control, Bluetooth connection and keyless entry.
The DS5 engine line-up ranges from a 113bhp e-HDi diesel to a 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol and the flagship 197bhp diesel-electric Hybrid4. The latter set-up allows for CO2 emissions as low as 102g/km with punchy acceleration and four-wheel-drive. Unfortunately, the and on 19-inch wheels the ride is very firm. 17-inch alloys are available as a no cost option and lower the emissions to just 88g/km, although they do little to improve the ride. The DS5 crashes into potholes and over bumps, while on the motorway it fidgets constantly. And that's not all, because refinement isn't quite up to class standards, with wind and road noise becoming an issue on the motorway. Still, the 2.0-litre HDi diesel with 163bhp is a smooth and punchy performer and, in the real world, it's every bit as efficient as the more expensive hybrid version.
The DS5 has received a full five-star Euro NCAP rating, with an 89 per cent score for adult occupant protection and an impressive 97 per cent for all of the safety assist. An eTouch service features, which allows you to call – and be located by – emergency services if you break down or have an accident. Also, DStyle and DSport models are available with lande departure warning as an option. The cabin feels extremely well put together and the engines and chassis have proved themselves to be reliable elsewhere in the Citroen line-up. Yet Citroen still has work cut out to convince buyers that its a safe ownership bet, as it finished a lowly 24th out of 32 in our2013 Driver Power survey.
Due to the styling of the Citroen DS5 rear passengers may find their heads scraping the roof, but aside from that there's quite a bit of leg and shoulder room. How practical it is depends on whether you go for the Hybrid4 or not. This is because the electric motors add a large battery pack, which is mounted underneath the boot floor and reduces space to 325 litres – that’s compared to 465 litres for non-hybrid versions.
Cleanest Citroen DS5 is the Hybrid4 – but it is also the most expensive to buy. Fitted with 17-inch wheels, this model manages 88g/km of CO2 and impressive claimed economy of 80.7mpg. Be aware though, that if you go for larger alloys the emissions and fuel economy aren't quite as good, and the ride quality suffers too. The petrol model offers benefits in the refinement and performance stakes but will be costly to run and tax. All the diesels are great for running costs, but the 113bhp e-HDi is the cleanest after the hybrid. Unfortunately, no amount of fuel-saving will offset the weak residuals of the DS5, with no version retaining more than 40 percent of its value after three years.