"The DS5 is one of the best Citroens in years, with impressive all-round ability and a top-notch interior, but it faces stiff competition."
The Citroen DS5 is the third ‘DS’ offering from Citroen and is aimed at the executive customer – putting it up against models like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia. But unlike its less exclusive rivals, the Citroen offers something different. Its appearance is a mix between an estate and a hatchback, and its raised ride height and distinctive styling are certain to turn heads. The interior is top-notch, too, with options like watch-strap leather seats and aircraft-style switches that sit above the driver's head. It's a real step up in quality and style compared to Citroens of the past and has the ability to challenge premium rivals like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
Most buyers – as many as 85 per cent – will opt for the diesel DS5 and there's good reason for that. There's an entry-level 113bhp e-HDi which returns impressive economy, but the the 157bhp HDi is the pick of the range – feeling quick, quiet and efficient, and remarkably smooth when connected to the six-speed automatic gearbox. As well as a turbocharged petrol engine, Citroen also offers a hybrid called the Hybrid4, which matches an electric motor to a diesel engine and four-wheel drive, returning decent mpg. From behind the wheel, however, the DS5 isn't as impressive. The steering is lifeless and struggles with mid-corner adjustments, although it does have plenty of grip in tight bends. The DS5 is at its best on a smooth straight road and so long as you avoid the larger 19-inch wheels, you’ll find it a capable long-distance cruiser.
The DS5 is fitted with quite firm suspension, which feels stiff yet comfortable on the move. Small ridges and potholes can disrupt the DS5, but the excellent seats do their bit to soak up lumps and bumps – making the DS5 a relaxed motorway companion. The location of some of the controls is a little odd, but the interior quality is top-notch – even alongside established premium brands like Audi. Engine and wind noise are nicely muted and as long as you avoid the huge 19-inch rims, you’ll find road and tyre noise hushed, too.
The DS5 gets a host of engines and technology that are used elsewhere in the Peugeot-Citroen group, while the interior feels extremely well put together with some very nice feeling materials. Safety should also be top notch, as the car boasts a full five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating and a host of airbags. An eTouch service is also included, which allows you to call – and be located by – the emergency services if you breakdown or have an accident.
The DS5 looks a little bit like an estate and it has the practicality of one, too. Boot space with the rear seats up is 465 litres – which is about the same as a BMW 3 Series Touring. Be aware, though, that if you opt for the Hybrid4 model boot space drops to 325 litres as hefty batteries need to be stored underneath the boot floor. Up front, there are lots of storage bins and deep side pockets, though the glovebox is small due to the intrusive fuse box. Space for passengers in the rear is pretty good but tall adults may struggle a little for headroom due to the stylish sloping roofline. That said, the seats are supportive and offer plenty of leg and shoulder room in both the front and rear.
Value for money
Citroen DS5 buyers can choose from three spec levels: DSign, DStyle and DSport. The top-spec models are very expensive but you get almost everything you can think of as standard, including sat-nav, keyless start, a rear-view camera, parking sensors and cruise control. The mid-spec Dstyle is probably the best compromise, however, featuring luxuries like part-leather upholstery for around £2,000 less than the DSport. The DS5's big problem is that it costs about the same price as similarly sized cars from big premium brands like BMW and Audi and resale values won’t be nearly as strong. Although you get more equipment in the Citroen, the badges on its German rivals count for a lot at this price. That said, the model's exclusivity should ensure there aren’t many for sale on the used market – at least in the near future.
The cheapest model to run is the diesel-electric Hybrid4. This comes with 18-inch wheels as standard, but it's best to opt for the no-cost switch to 17-inch alloy wheels, which drops the car into the tax-free bracket, thanks to CO2 emissions of just 91g/km. The DS5 hybrid also falls into the 10 per cent BiK bracket for company car buyers, and fuel economy on this model is well above 70mpg. All of the diesels are cheap to run, however – including the most powerful 163 HDi – and are much cheaper to buy than the expensive hybrid. If you do a lot of miles, it's best to avoid the petrol THP 200 which is inevitably thirsty. Fixed price servicing will help keep a lid on costs, too, while all cars come with a three-year warranty.