Citroen DS5 hatchback
Price £23,260 - £33,660
- Sharp handling
- Stylish and top-quality interior
- Unique looks
- Limited headroom in the back
- Rough roads cause vibrations with bigger alloy wheels
- Fairly expensive
At a glance
"The DS5 has decent all-round ability and a high-quality interior, but it's not much fun to drive and its rivals are better."
The Citroen DS5 is Citroen's attempt to build a car that competes with executive models such as the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4. In reality, it is more of a rival for cars such as the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo, but offers more distinctive looks than both and a quirky body style that sits somewhere between an MPV and a conventional estate car.
The distinctive styling continues inside, and the Citroen offers high-grade plastics, leather seats and buttons on the roof lining – like you would expect to find in an airplane's cockpit. The interior is pretty spacious, with decent levels of passenger room and a generous boot.
The DS5 comes with a range of frugal diesel engines, although customers can also opt for a super-economical diesel-electric hybrid, or a quick petrol engine.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Hybrid4 is cheapest to run but most expensive to buy
The DS5's range of diesel engines offers excellent economy and even the slowest version has enough pace for everyday driving. The basic model can return economy of 64.2mpg, while CO2 emissions of 114g/km mean road tax will be cheap at £30 annually. The diesel-electric hybrid 4 is the most economical of all with 74.3mpg possible, while its low emissions mean road tax is free. It is, however, the most expensive model to buy.
Opt for the petrol version and the DS5 is pretty quick, but economy takes a nose dive with a figure of 42.4mpg, while emissions of 155g/km mean you’ll be paying £180 annually for road tax.
Interior & comfort
Ride is quite hard but supportive seats impress
The DS5 has quite firm suspension, which means it tends to crash over the potholes you regularly find on the UK's roads – especially when fitted with 19-inch alloy wheels. The suspension also means the DS5 doesn’t feel settled on motorways.
The car's interior is, at least, stylish to look at and features soft-touch plastics but the car's sloping roofline does mean that taller passengers will find that rear headroom is cramped.
Practicality & boot space
Impressively large boot – but Hybrid4 gets limited space
The lack of headroom in the back is the only weak spot in terms of the DS5's practicality. Otherwise, the DS5 is pretty spacious – with plenty of legroom front and back – and has a mix of cubbyholes and cupholders, although the glovebox is a bit small.
With 465 litres of capacity, the boot is quite large, but be aware of the hybrid model in this respect as Its batteries eat into to the load capacity, meaning luggage space drops to 325 litres.
Reliability & safety
Plenty of safety systems, but reliability isn't the best
Citroen doesn’t have a great reputation for reliability and, while the DS5 was too new to feature in our 2013 Driver Power survey, we have no reason to believe it will change things. The firm finished a lowly 24th (out of 32) in our manufacturer rankings, although it did come ahead of rivals such as Peugeot, SEAT, and Vauxhall.
Safety is strong, however, and all models get a full range of airbags. Some trim levels also get Citroen's eTouch, which can call the emergency services and help them locate you if your car breaks down or is involved in an accident. The DS5 got a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP.
Engines, drive & performance
Diesel engines are good but handling is disappointing
Citroen expects up to 85 per cent of buyers to opt for one of the DS5's range of diesel engines because they offer a good mix of performance and cheap running costs. The basic 113bhp, 1.6-litre e-HDI model can get from 0-60mph in 12.2 seconds, but the 2.0-litre diesel is still frugal and gets from 0-60mph in a more respectable time of 8.5 seconds. Paired with the six-speed automatic gearbox, it makes for smooth and quiet progress over long distances. The Hybrid4 is the most economical DS5 of all but also the quickest, with 0-60mph taking 8.3 seconds. It also has four-wheel drive. The petrol is actually slower than the hybrid model, which also uses a lot more fuel.
While the car offers plenty of grip round corners, the DS5 isn’t particularly fun to drive thanks to steering that is too light,. The car is best seen as a long-distance cruiser on the motorway, although it would be even better for this purpose if it had the same soft suspension that features on other Citroen models.
Price, value for money & options
Well equipped but top-specs models are pricey
The Citroen DS5 comes with decent levels of spec in three levels trims – Design, Dstyle, and Dsport. The latter represents the top-of-the-range model and gets kitted out with things like a leather interior, sat-nav, a rear-view parking camera and a head up display (HUD), which projects vital information (such as speed) onto the car's windscreen. Mid-range Dstyle models have to settle for a part-leather interior, but still get a three-part glass roof and a DAB radio. Even the entry-level model gets equipment such as cruise control, keyless entry and go, climate control, and all-round electric windows. If you add lots of extras to your DS5 though, its price will climb up to the level of more accomplished models from BMW and Audi.
What the others say
"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."
"There's a softer set-up on the plain diesel versions and that must surely be the way to go. There's a lot to like: a good gearbox, progressive steering, good stability, well-engineered controls. The DS5's design and morphology is a deliberately different approach from a German saloon or estate. So let it drive differently too please - the soft chassis is the right idea."
"The front end features LED running lights, like those first seen on DS3, and there is an oversized grille. Chrome highlights stretch from the headlights up to the windscreen. The rest of the design is bold and aggressive, with large wheels and wide wheel arches, leading to a striking rear end with two large tailpipes set into the bumper."