Review

Citroen DS5 hatchback

Price  £23,260 - £33,660

Citroen DS5 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Sharp handling
  • Stylish and top-quality interior
  • Unique looks
Cons
  • Limited headroom in the back
  • Rough roads cause vibrations with bigger alloy wheels
  • Fairly expensive

At a glance

The greenest
DSign Hybrid4 200 Airdream 5dr £29,060
The cheapest
DSign e-HDi 115 Airdream ETG6 5dr £23,260
The fastest
DSport THP 200 6-speed manual 5dr £28,920
Top of the range
DSport Hybrid4 200 Airdream 5dr £33,660

"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

3.2 / 5

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

4.2 / 5

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

4.0 / 5

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

2.3 / 5

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

2.3 / 5

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

2.0 / 5

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

2.5 / 5
based on 3 reviews
  • 4.0 / 5

    "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."

  • 14.0 / 20

    "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."

Last updated 
27 Mar 2014

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Lovely car. I found handling spot-on, even mid-corner! Maybe the press tested pre-release models which hadn't had all the tuning to chassis of the production model?
Anyway for thise who dare to be different the car is just a lovely place to be - driver or passenger.

pick mine up next friday. when I test drove it i found it fine

So, has anyone actually driven the hybrid ? I love the look of the car and my XF is at the end of its 3 year tenure. Is it worth serious consideration ?

I had a DS5 hybrid on a week's test drive in January. Beautiful styling and cabin, and very well assembled. Ride is unsettled, but bearable on 18 inch wheels. Not the most sophisticated integration of a hybrid system, but overall I loved it enough to order one to replace my 5 series touring as a company car. It arrives in July. Doesn't get NEAR claimed gas mileage though. 55 mpg overall during my test drive.

I've just had one as a hire car, the handling (floaty) and steering (vague and disconnected) certainly aren't up to much. However, the biggest problem is visibility. You can see straight ahead but that's about it. The rear camera helps when reversing but in general it's a real challenge to see what's going on around you. Still, you could have hours of fun playing with all the toys and it must win some sort of award for the most buttons in a car ever.

I Bought a DS5 Sport Airstream Hybrid. I love the look of the car inside and out was so pleased when i picked it up. Had it since Jan 2013...BUT really not happy with the fuel consumption, i was told over 70 mpg if i drive in auto mode which i do. But i'm getting a little over 40 mpg, I sold a for Kuga to buy this, and i got better milage from that. I'm 62 so don't thrash it at all. It's better around town when brakes are charging the Kerrs system, its runs much more on electric, on a long run motorways etc it drinks fuel, so upset, thinking of changing it already. not cheap to run although road tax free. What a shame...

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