Citroën DS5 Hatchback full 9 point review
The models that make most sense in the UK use a 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, and this provides good urgency from low revs. By contrast, the 1.6-litre diesel versions feel slow at times. There’s also a 197bhp turbocharged petrol option that’s smooth and eager, but the most interesting DS5 is the punchy Hybrid4, which mixes a diesel engine driving the front wheels with an electric motor mounted on the back axle.
Ride & Handling
The DS5 has a rock-hard ride that disturbs you on any road that isn’t silky smooth, while things get even worse if you go for a model on larger wheels. Such a stiff set-up invariably keeps the body upright on twisty roads, but the DS5 doesn’t feel at all sporty because its steering is so vague and lifeless.
Suspension thumps aside, the cabin is well insulated from the outside world. The petrol and diesel engines settle down nicely once you’re up to cruising speeds, while the Hybrid4 offers virtually silent running around town thanks to its pure-electric mode. Road and wind noise are well contained, too. The most raucous model is the turbo petrol, although its rasping exhaust note is actually pretty appealing.
Buying & Owning
The Hybrid4 model emits less than 90g/km of CO2 – a fine achievement for a car of this size. The figures for the other variants depend on how you spec them. Take the 160 HDi for example; with a manual gearbox and 17-inch wheels, it sneaks under 130g/km, but with an automatic ’box and 18-inch rims, it emits nearly 160g/km. Resale values are weak compared with those of German rivals.
Quality & Reliability
The front of the cabin has plenty of soft plastics, and even the front door pockets get flock lining and mood lighting. Only the tiny buttons on the face of the stereo let the side down, feeling cheap and flimsy. DS5 reliability is still largely unknown, but Citroen has a poor record in the annual JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
Safety & Security
Stability control and front, side and curtain airbags are standard, which helped the car achieve a maximum five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP. Citroen’s eTouch system (a one-button emergency dial-up) is fitted to high-spec models and an optional extra on mid-spec ones. Security experts Thatcham gave the DS5 five out of five for resisting drive-away theft and four out of five for resisting forced entry.
Behind The Wheel
It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position, thanks to a good range of seat and steering wheel adjustment. Things aren't so positive when to start to interact with your surroundings, however; there are far too many small, fiddly buttons scattered around the place, and the infotainment system is pretty slow.
Space & Practicality
Mid-spec versions and above get glass roof panels that help the front feel spacious, but they eat into headroom for those sitting in the rear seats. Rear kneeroom is surprisingly tight, too. The boot is adequate for a car of this size, and the split rear seats help with accommodating larger loads. It’s worth noting that the Hybrid4 has a smaller boot than other DS5s, however.
Even the entry-level DSign model is well equipped, getting dual-zone climate control, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, Bluetooth and a USB socket as standard. We think it's worth spending the extra on DStyle trim, though, which adds sat-nav, part-leather upholstery, rear parking sensors and a digital radio. Range-topping DSport versions get full-leather trim, electrically adjustable seats, swivelling xenon headlights and front parking sensors, but they're expensive.