Citroen DS5

11 Oct, 2011 1:01am Joaquim Oliveira

Uniquely styled diesel hybrid is a quirky but compelling choice


Nobody does radical cars like Citroen – and the DS5 is sure to rank alongside the DS, XM and C6 as another dramatic piece of design. But there’s more to this family car than eye-catching styling. It really feels luxurious, drives well and boasts impressive technology in the HYbrid4 system. If you like the stand- out styling and don’t baulk at the price, it’s a refreshing and well executed package.
It's not often that a new model arrives without any direct rivals, but the curious Citroen DS5 is just that. The flagship crossover sits above the firm’s DS3 and DS4 models and offers an alternative to premium cars such as the Audi A4 Avant, with a starting price of around £23,000. But is it too quirky for its own good?

See the DS5 in the flesh, and it takes several minutes to take in all the details, but once you do, the overall look works well. Chrome strips run from the headlights into the A-pillars, while the foglamps sit in cut-out ‘c’-sections framing the grille. At the rear, the black C-pillars make the roof appear to float over the rest of the body.

Video: Watch CarBuyer's video review of the DS5

It’s just as innovative inside. The leather seats are designed to look like the links in a metal watch strap and feel very comfortable indeed, while the various switches and toggles are arranged on the centre console and above the driver’s head where a pilot would expect to find them. The driving position is slightly raised, and you get a good view out.

Up close, the DS5 appears quite compact, but in reality it’s only 30cm shorter than a Ford Mondeo Estate. There’s quite a lot of room in the cabin, and space for three adults in the rear, but tall passengers will find their heads touching the roof lining. The 465-litre boot is on a par with the BMW 3 Series Touring.

Engines include 1.6-litre and 2.0 diesel units with 109bhp and 163bhp respectively, and a pair of 1.6-litre turbo petrols with 153bhp and 197bhp. But the big news is the HYbrid4 version which we drove.

It’s Citroen’s first production hybrid, and features a 163bhp 2.0-litre HDi engine driving the front wheels, while an electric motor powers the rears. It makes up to 37bhp in Sport mode, for a total output of 200bhp and 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds, 107g/km of CO2 and nearly 70mpg. The only penalties are 
a smaller boot – because of space taken up by the batteries – and the steep £30,000 price.

On the move, the HYbrid4 is impressive. You can run the car solely on electricity in ZEV mode for three miles at speeds of around 40mph, but even in Auto mode – when the vehicle swaps between the two power sources – the engine barely fires up in town.

Head for open roads, and the combination of the two means there is always plenty of punch for easy overtaking. A 4WD mode is handy for slippery conditions, too.

The DS5 handles pretty well. The electro-hydraulic steering is accurate and provides decent feedback, while there isn’t much in the way of body roll, either.

Our test car had 235/40 section tyres on huge 19-inch wheels, which meant there was lots of grip, but the ride was on the firm side. Go for 17-inch wheels and you’ll get sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, as well as 74mpg.

The DS5 certainly isn’t cheap, but it all adds up to a genuinely different and desirable family car.

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This may well become such a huge success that Citroen will ask itself why the hell it delayed introduction after its Sportlounge concept was shown to the public 5 years ago. I predict that, very much like the Renault Espace in 1980's, the DS5 will see rivals in the future, brands anxious to fill in any gap in the market place.

This will disappear without trace in the uk. We're fast too obsessed by the badge on the front of the car to risk paying over 20k for acitrien, however good it may be... Pop an audi our bmw sticker over the citroen badge and it will sell well...

I fear steedie might be right, even though he can't spell. We're too conservative with our brand-loyalty in the UK for this to be a success. It'll sell well to a niche group of early-adopters, then disappear. Lovely car though, and that interior reminds me of the glorious CX.

That word is the one most car buyers ignore totally! No matter how good this car is, at £23,000 it is going to lose the first owner over half of its value in 3 to 4 years. Take a look at where the sensible money goes! See where the major companies spend their money. They spend where they are assured of losing the least.

No matter how you advertise this or cars like it from France, Korea, China and America, it will lose too much money to make it viable enough for my money to go on it!

Not on Audis, BMWs or Mercs, that's for sure. I have lost on average £7k a year on them, even buying nearly new. I take the point that Citroen residuals have been even worse (noteable exception being DS3) but this will surely be a great buy when a couple of years old, so I'll be patient.

Its a bit ugly for a citroen - but well done for moving things on..... just think!..... in 5 years time the germans will make a bland, well built version of this and you will all want one..... sad really.


As with all hybrid cars, the real stumbling block is the battery. In three years time they will have almost used their total lifecycle and be looking for replacement. If the battery is leased, no problem at replacement time. If not? Well lets just say I don't want that bill!

Also, for the exhorbitant price, £30,000, To be able to run for a whole 3 miles!! I have a 320D and the extra miles in reality between the DS and the 320, it is not worth even considering the Citroen! In fact, the new 320D ED is as economical as the Citroen without the electric help! I can even buy the 320D Msport Plus for the same money!

So, BMW where I will lose about 7-10k in the first three years (including the normal off the forcourt costs). Better made and really does drive so much better and is safer! Or the Citroen with the electric drive and a build quality, reowned throughout the French motor industry (!) that will lose at least £15k and still have very bad green credentials!

Just for information: I have just sold a 320D Msport with Sat-Nav, Bluetooth, Internet connection and a few other bits and pieces for £18,500. It was purchased in March 2008 for £26,500. Cheap motoring when you look at what other cars lose!


The batteries will last a lot longer than 3yrs - this isn't a plug-in full time EV battery. Like the Prius this is a Hybrid, and the Prius batteries certainly don't require replacement in such a short time. I know this because I run a leasing company and see the bills.

I'm sorry, but I just don't understand how a company with the design history that Citroen has can produce such ugly hulks as their current range. Where are the DS, GS, CX genes? They were pure forms, not lumpy, fussy designs covered in gimmicks and chrome! It is enough to make you weep!

I am assured by Citroen Execs, who are vry mindful of the plummeting values of posh French Cars, that numbers of the DS5, like other DSs, will be controlled and dealers are not permitted to offer discounts at all. I am sure this will help.

Sat in one of these a couple of months ago - really cool interior and a real increase in quality from what you'd expect from France. At last, a proper Citroen, apart from the lack of Citroen suspension.

Do not ignore this car

Citroen have been trying too hard to be different with all their models in the past five years.Too many swoops and curves.
This will date and devalue very quickly, like all Citroens.
Hybrids are a stop gap measure.The customer is paying highly for technology that will be thrown in the waste bin very soon.

Let us not forget that whilst most/some people will feel that the citroen is an expensive white elephant, what car ultimately isn't. The way to look at this is choice someone somewhere will think it is the car for them and they will buy it, whilst the rest of us will just put it the "not for me" box. As for depreciation it affects us all and means that in three years time you can give this car a try for about a third of the cost new so you win out by quite a margin.

Yes, good looking posh Citroens like the C6 don't sell here so I can't see this ugly thing doing so.

Perhaps the next car of the year (2012)? I had never seen before such a beautiful stilling in a family car. You mast see the driving behavior in: 2012 Citroën DS5 - ESC TEST (you tube). Congratulations to the designers of CITROEN, because the DS5 is more interesting than the Sportlounge concept 2005.

I like it. It looks so fresh and interesting, full of character and Citroen style. Those seats look mega comfy too. Not sure about the suspension type but I hope it's not the 'rock hard' German type of set up!

ricbelcher2 should be a little cautious about accepting Citroen's reassurance on residuals. The same scheme was touted for the C6 when that was launched five years ago.

I lost 73% of the discounted purchase price on a new C6 in 3.5 years and had I both bought and traded it in to a dealer one year later than I did (i.e a more recent 3.5 year old vehicle to the same spec), the trade in price would have been only 21% of the original discounted purchase price. Any reduction on that degree of depreciation would be the dealer's premium over the real discounted price of another new Citroen vehicle.

The same about no discounts was also said about a C6 and within three months of that going on sale, I did get a 8% discount as dealers were already offering discounts despite protestations from the manufacturer.

If Citroen wish to get volume sales of this model (as I presume they will to avoid the small number of genuine new private sales for the C6, however beautiful and otherwise enjoyable that was to own), discounts will have to be available to customers, just as they are if you wish to buy a Merc, BMW, Audi or Jaguar these days.

Nonetheless another great original Citroen; just as some others have said a shame that hydropneumatic suspension is becoming a thing of Citroen's heritage - it is now only available on the current C5 to special order. A great pity for those who feel the DS5 will look better with bigger wheels as Citoren intends, and however much that also impacts upon ride quality.

To all who complain about prices,residuals,style,what would you buy then so it isn't criticised ??? Anyone

This thing may be ugly but it is very unique. Citroen is supposed to make cars that stand out, and this certainly does that better than some of the cars Citroen used to make, like the old C3, C5, C2 etc


I love it, my only concern is the boot space, plus can you fold down the rear seats? I've had 3 Citroens in the past 20years all from new - 2 Xantias & a Mk1 C5. All 3 bought with big discounts. Every one was reliable and cheap to run. As for residuals my Nissan X-Trail Artix 2.0D auto purchased in March 2008 for £21500 I sold for £18000 last March. Thats cheap motoring.

never seen a car with such a pointless amount of chrome detailling

I've already sat in this car, played with the knobs and enjoyed the cockpit experience. This car is absolutely amazing. No, I mean AMAZING.
Put it alongside any of the usual suspects of the same category, ie Mondeo, Insignia, Passat etc, same price range and even some of the "cough cough" Audi's, BMW's etc and I dare you to be unimpressed.
OK, I declare an interest in Citroen having had the XM, 2 old C5's and a new style C5 but I'm not blind to the alternatives. In fact I have looked at several alternatives in the wait for the launch of the DS5 and been sadly disappointed with what I saw.
Let's put the proper perspective on this car, at least from my own view on the Hybrid version that I am waiting to actually drive at launch date.
I do around 30,000 miles a year. My instrument panel tells me I've averaged 33.4 mpg over the last 6700 miles from when I reset it. So, fuel costs for this amount to something in the order of £5600 a year.
That's a lot of money but is alas only the tip of the iceberg as fuel costs are rising quicker than at any time in the past.
Now, looking at the mid range hybrid that comes in at around £27K, the consumption figures are 74 mpg. Supposedly. Al-right, knock off 10% for enthusiastic over optimism and this takes you to 67 mpg. Around twice as much miles per gallon as the C5. Savings of £2800 a year in fuel costs alone is one hell of a good reason to look seriously at the motor.
At the 4 year point when you might be tempted to trade in you've already saved £11200 but most probably more with exponential fuel cost rises.
Now, doesn't that bear a serious thought when it comes down to residuals? I should think it would with anyone. So you might get a little less for trade in but hey, you've already got a leg back from the oil companies.
£27000 initial purchase price less £11200 savings in fuel gives you the price of an Astra. Not top range mind you.
I know which I'd prefer.
I just hope Citroen run their usual interest free 3 year deal on the car at launch. If so you're onto a real winner.
To think of financing a car a fair bit more expensive than some inferior alternatives makes you baulk at the prospect.
If I consider my current C5 I bought this interest free at a cost of £420 a month for 3 years.
That was pushing me quite a bit in monthly cost but I think that with the savings on fuel of this new car on a similar deal will be within my scope. Even if it comes out at £600 a month, SHUDDER, remember I'm saving around £233 a month to offset the cost.
Until you've seen one in the flesh, until you've seen the superb quality of the interior and lounged in the sumptuous cockpit you aren't even able to comprehend the quality.
This car sets standards at a time when no-one else seems keen to move away from the "norm".
If the snobs who own a BMW, Audi, Merc etc so that they can park it on their driveway to impress the nieghbours don't want to swap then so be it. I'll enjoy being an oddball on the roads and laugh when i pass a petrol station where they're all in a long queue.

Key specs

* Price: £30,000 (est.)
* Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel (163bhp)/single electric motor (37bhp): 200bhp in total
* Transmission: Six-speed gearbox, front-wheel drive
* 0-62mph: 8.6 seconds
* Top speed: 131mph
* Economy: 68.9mpg
* CO2: 107g/km
* Equipment: Leather trim, 19-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, climate control, head-up display 
* On sale: February