What's the used DS DS 5 hatchback like?
Citroën first introduced its upmarket DS brand to the world in 2009, originally with the cars still badged primarily as Citroën.
The firm’s aim was to imbue these new models with some of the style and the technical innovation of the legendary 1955 Citroën DS. However, in a bid to distance the new brand from Citroën’s present-day discount-store image, DS cars were split off into their own brand.
This dramatically styled DS 5 is an executive rival to the likes of the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series, but it offers something a little different to those saloons by being more of a high-roofed hatchback, with hints of coupé and sporting SUV. To succeed, it needed to offer something very special in this premium class, and if that criteria were based solely on looks, it would certainly be getting off to a good start.
The 5's engine line-up includes three diesel and two petrol units, plus a diesel-electric hybrid with all-wheel drive, although poor sales put an end to this model in 2016.
There are three trim levels on offer, with entry-level Elegance very well equipped with sat-nav, climate control and a three-part glass roof with electric sunblinds. The ante is upped further in Performance Line and the top-of-the-range and handsomely equipped Prestige trim.
On the road, the 5 is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s the diesel engines that are the biggest sellers here, and if the entry-level 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120 doesn't feel powerful enough for a car of this size, the 2.0-litre HDi 150 and 180 versions are both smooth and punchy.
Alas, the 5 is very far from matching the smooth ride and sharp handling of its top rivals, and its steering, vague, lifeless and rather heavy. It also suffers from a fairly firm ride that's easily caught out by imperfect surfaces, and that means it’s not the most relaxing executive car to drive or be driven in. On top of that, refinement is reasonable around town, but wind and road noise intrude at higher speeds.
The 5 has a striking interior with an eye-catching centre console and some very flamboyant design touches, but in terms of perceived quality, the materials used still trail those of German rivals by quite some margin.
The driving position is good and the seats are comfortable, and there’s plenty of room up front, but space in the rear is rather cramped, due to the car’s stylish sloping roofline, and the boot is a little smaller than most rivals’. The 5’s fashionable shape also means that visibility is a little limited, especially to the sides and the rear.
So, the 5 is clearly a stand-out and individualistic design in a staid class, with many likeable qualities. It's not the last word in driving sophistication, and its prices when new were disturbingly high, but discounts were on offer and its used prices could yet persuade you to take a look and maybe take the plunge.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used DS DS 5 hatchback?
The 5 is a large executive car with many electrical goodies, so check that they all work as they should, especially the electric seats and rear tailgate (where fitted). It’s also a car that’s quite difficult to judge the extremities of, despite its high driving position and reversing camera on some models, so check the bodywork for scuffs and dents and the alloy wheels for kerb damage.
There was a recall for a starter motor wire that was badly positioned and could in some circumstances cause a short circuit, so check that this work has been carried out. Otherwise, there have been reports of electrical problems based around the sat-nav and the dashboard, but no recurring serious issues.
The 5 didn’t figure in our last reliability survey, but previous reports on it when it was still badged as the Citroën DS5 have shown some poor results. Citroën as a brand on its own has a poor record in that most recent reliability survey, finishing 28th out of 32 manufacturers.
Every DS model comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty from new.
What are the most common problems with a used DS DS 5 hatchback?
Is a used DS DS 5 hatchback reliable?
What used DS DS 5 hatchback will I get for my budget?
Prices start at around £11,500 for a 2016 car with an average mileage for the year and a full service history, bought from an independent or franchised dealer. Up the dosh to between £12,000 and £15,000 and you’ll find plenty of good 2016 and 2017 cars that also satisfy that criteria. This a healthy amount off the 5's rather hefty price when new.
How much does it cost to run a DS DS 5 hatchback?
Unsurprisingly, the diesel-engined cars are the more economical, with the discontinued diesel-electric hybrid version claiming a fuel consumption figure of 85.6mpg in official tests. The 1.6 e-HDi Airdream version is the best performing of the rest, with a claimed average fuel consumption of 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 114g/km.
Annual road tax (VED) for cars registered before the tax changes in April 2017 will be low for most of the diesel-engined models, while all cars registered after that date will cost you the flat rate of £140 per annum.
Servicing costs are high, especially at main dealerships, but DS does have a number of servicing plans for older cars, with differing methods of payment.
Which used DS DS 5 hatchback should I buy?
Bearing in mind the sluggishness of the otherwise blissfully economical 1.6 e-HDi version, we’d pick the 2.0 HDi 150 as the engine to go for. It’s economical and relatively refined and gives the car a good turn of speed.
We’d stick with the base level Elegance trim – because it offers most of what you need, never mind what you might actually want – unless you happen upon a higher-trim model sitting on a used forecourt for the same sort of price.
Our favourite DS 5: 2.0 HDi 150 Elegance
What alternatives should I consider to a used DS DS 5 hatchback?
The Audi A4 is beautifully built and impressively refined, provides plenty of pulling power and good economy throughout its range of engine options and has a supremely classy interior that isolates you better from wind and road noise than nearly every other rival.
The BMW 3 Series has long been the benchmark among compact executive cars, and it remains the one to beat. It’s great to drive, with a strong range of engines, and has an excellent infotainment system. It’s refined and rides well, while steering and handling brilliantly. To top that all off, it has a premium feel that others struggle to match.