Gareth Butterfield tests the distinctive but classy DS 5
YOU don’t drive the DS 5, you pilot it. At least, that’s how it is in my head.
I find myself sitting in a luxurious but quirky cabin, with an oddly-shaped steering wheel, lavish seats, a row of switches by the side of you and another row of switches above your head.
In my test model it has a sunroof for the driver and a sunroof for the passenger, separated by a central column which extends back to the rear, covered in lights and switches.
It’s not a futuristic look, but it’s very unusual and very Citroen. Except this isn’t a Citroen; not any more, anyway. DS is the new brand Citroen has split off from its mainstream models to mark out a premium product.
And, especially in the case of the DS5, this is certainly a premium product.
Aircraft-like cabin aside, it has some very clever gadgets thrown in, plenty of space and light, and some lovely materials which add to the classy, upmarket feel.
So its cabin is a lovely place in which to sit, but it’s also a nice car to drive. I first tested one back in 2013 and it impressed me then, but now it’s had a facelift and there’s some new technology available, so it should be an even more appealing prospect.
Across its Elegance and Prestige models you’ll find an array of gadgets, including cruise control, touchscreen sat-nav and dual-zone climate control, as well as Bluetooth, DAB and rear parking sensors.
Upgrading to the Prestige gets you xenon headlights, an electrically-operated driver’s seat and a reversing camera.
As for engines you could opt for the entry level BlueHDI 120, or pick the meatier BlueHDi 150 or, my favourite, the 180 version. There’s also a peppy THP 165 petrol and the flagship is a diesel Hybrid 4×4, which claims to return as much as 72.4mpg.
To be honest, you should never expect the DS 5, even with the powerful diesel engines, to put any fire in your belly. It’s better as a sedate cruiser than a finely-honed sports car. But it does have good road manners and, in the right trim, rides like a Citroen; sorry, DS, should.
Unfortunately its residual values are fairly weak as this car is, perhaps incorrectly, usually overlooked in favour of its German rivals but a design this bold was never going to win over those who pick the safe option.
That styling also makes for some questionable visibility; especially out of the split tailgate, but there is plenty of space in the cabin and it’s extremely comfortable, with plenty of light pouring in.
So the DS is something of a double-edged sword. If you can’t get around the odd design and don’t buy into the classy-but-quirky interior setup, it’s probably not for you.
However if you want something stylish, different, individual and a refreshing break from the norm, you will doubtless love it. I do.