Review

Citroen DS5 hatchback

£25,980 - £34,890

The DS 5 is a difficult car to categorise: it looks like a large hatchback or crossover, but it's intended to be a rival to executive saloons such as the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4. Neither is it called the Citroen DS5 any more – it's now part of the standalone DS range, itself pitched as a more upmarket brand than Citroen.

In reality, the DS 5 unlikely to tempt many buyers away from these established favourites – it's more likely to be seen as an interesting alternative to large family cars such as the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo, offering distinctive styling and a more upmarket interior.

That interior boasts some very high-quality materials, sumptuous leather seats and a unique layout that sees some controls relocated to the roof – like you might find in an aircraft cockpit. In addition to this top-notch fit and finish, the interior of the DS 5 offers lots of space for you and your passengers – although taller adults might find their heads brushing the rooflining in the back, as the car's swoopy styling results in somewhat less headroom than you might expect. 

There's quite a wide choice of engines with the DS 5 – a turbocharged petrol, as well as three diesels with a choice of manual or automatic transmission. Finally, there's a diesel-electric hybrid that tops the range. It boasts impressive technology, but unfortunately that doesn't translate into class-leading running costs and it's quite expensive to buy in the first place.

For years, large French cars have been renowned for one thing above all else: pillow-soft ride quality, especially in top-spec models with air suspension. The DS5 is still comfortable and relaxing but it is more composed than the previous model, if still not hugely sporty.

Three trim levels are offered: Elegance, Prestige and a 1955 Limited Edition, but unless you really want extras like brighter, Xenon headlights and a reversing camera, there's no need to look beyond the entry-level Elegance version, as it's very well equipped and the DS 5 quickly starts to look like poor value for money once you add to the price of the car.