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Citroen DS5 Hatchback (2011 - ) review

The upmarket Citroen DS model line-up has been a real success story, with the DS3 supermini accounting for one in four Citroens sold at the start of 2012.

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


The upmarket Citroen DS range has been a big success in the UK, and the DS5 is the most luxurious model yet. It has style in abundance.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickAttractive and individual design
  • tickImpressive interior quality
  • tickEconomical engines

At a glance:

How good does it look?

The upmarket Citroen DS model line-up has been a real success story, with the DS3 supermini accounting for one in four Citroens sold at the start of 2012. It has been joined by the DS4, and now this DS5, so how will a much larger model be received? It’s certainly great looking, with a real appearance of strength thanks to its blistered wheel arches, wide rear track and taut body work. Unlike the BMW 3 Series and C-Class saloon, it has an elongated roofline and hatchback boot, setting it apart in the class. Its visual impact also relies on more overt styling, like the chrome ‘sabres’, which run from the headlights to the windscreen.
Expert rating: 4/5

What's the interior like?

Hats off to Citroen for trying something really different inside the DS5, but the radical cabin, does have its pros and cons. We loved the side-by-side sunroofs and the quality of the materials, as well as the funky speedometer. But, the huge centre console makes the DS5 feel claustrophobic for a car of its size, while headroom and rear knee room is poor. Overall it’s an interesting alternative to the German models in the class, which stick to a more traditional style, and the DS5 will find fans as a result.
Expert rating: 3/5

How practical is it?

The DS5 is a mixed bag as far as practicality is concerned. The 465-litre boot (extending to 1,288 litres) is not far off the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 (both measuring 480-litres), but it has poor legroom for rear passengers. The DS5 also suffers from poor visibility, making it hard to manoeuvre at low speeds. The split front A-pillar is designed to improve this, but we actually found it harder to place the nose of the car accurately.
Expert rating: 2/5

What's it like to drive?

In the past, Citroen has been praised for giving its cars a ‘magic carpet’ ride quality, but the DS5 actually has a harder ride than the BMW 3 Series – a car more often associated with sporty handling. That’s a real shame, because the firm, jarring motion of the DS5 on an average British road is completely at odds with its plush cabin and executive demeanour. The firm suspension doesn’t translate into great handling either – sure there’s little body roll in corners, but vague steering means this isn’t a car you drive for the fun of it.
Expert rating: 1/5

How powerful is it?

We tested a DS5 fitted with a 200bhp, 1.6-litre turbo petrol and the Hybrid4 200bhp diesel. The former proved to be a great engine – both smooth and sporting – with a pleasing engine note. It gets the DS5 to 62mph in 8.5 seconds and to a top speed of 146mph. There’s also a conventional 2.0-litre HDI with 160bhp, which hits 62mph in 8.5 seconds. The Hybrid4 is the only model with four-wheel drive (the electric motor powering the rear wheels), and the quickest, hitting 62mph in 8.2 seconds. When the battery pack has charge the DS5 Hybrid4 can run in ‘EV’ electric-only mode at speeds up to 37mph.
Expert rating: 3/5

How much will it cost me?

All versions of the DS5 have respectable economy, with emissions as low as 99g/km in the Hybrid4 – making it tax free. The petrol 1.6-litre emits 155g/km of CO2, which is also impressively low considering its sporting character. The sweet spot in the range for most will be the 2.0-litre HDi 160 six-speed manual, which emits 129g/km and has an on-the-road price thousands lower than the range-topping Hybrid4.
Expert rating: 4/5

How reliable is it?

Citroen’s reputation for reliability is on the up and its latest models are performing well with owners.
Expert rating: 3/5

How safe is it?

The DS5 has proven its safety credentials, with a five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests. It was awarded an excellent 97 per cent in the Safety Assist category, thanks to its comprehensive standard kit, which includes Anti-lock brakes, electronic stability programme, air bags, cornering lights and eTouch Emergency and Assistance. The last feature allows users to press an SOS or assistance button in the car to call for immediate help using a built-in SIM card.
Expert rating: 5/5

How much equipment do I get?

Three trim levels are offered, called DSign, DStyle and DSport, with folding door mirrors, front fog lights with cornering function, daytime running LEDs, keyless entry and starting, cruise control, dual-zone air-con, auto wipers and headlamps, Bluetooth and USB connection coming as standard. DStyle adds a part leather upholstery, cockpit roof with three sunblinds, analogue clock, sat-nav, rear parking sensors, reversing camera and eTouch Emergency and Assistance. DSport includes full leather, front electric and heated seats, massaging driver’s seat, Xenon directional headlamps, front parking sensors and a colour head-up display.
Expert rating: 4/5

Why buy?

The Citroen DS5 offers customers a very cool alternative to the mainstream German executive saloon cars, with low running costs. We just wish it had the smooth ride comfort to match its cosseting personality.
Expert rating: 3/5

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