The time has finally come for DS and Citroen
to part ways, favourably of course – with DS now becoming a completely separate luxury
brand, so watch out Audi and BMW. This means the DS 5 is the first model to
be officially stripped of its Citroen badging, and with that comes a facelift, with a new
front-end featuring a DS wings design, flowing right around from the grille, past the headlights,
which are also new, and up to the A pillars. There are also changes to the interior, suspension
and engines – so let’s take a closer look. The aviation-inspired cabin has been a big
selling point for the DS 5 since its launch in 2012 and this remains the case, with buttons
plastered all over the place, giving the impression that you are the pilot of your own private
plane – and in my opinion I think this is great. The soft-touch materials scattered
around help the luxury feel as well. New features of the cabin include this seven-inch
touchscreen which DS has used to hoover up 12 of the function buttons on the dash and
act as a central hub, ultimately making it look less cluttered.
There are now just two trims to choose from, Elegance and Prestige. Standard kit on all
models is very generous as it includes the touchscreen I just mentioned, which has DAB
digital radio, Bluetooth and MirrorLink – there is also rear parking sensors, cruise control,
a leather-wrapped steering wheel and dual-zone Climate control. And on top of all that are
these miniature glass sunroofs – very nice. Go for the slightly plusher Prestige model
we have and highlights include a reversing camera as well as front parking sensors, leather
upholstery and a DS Connect box enabling online services.
When you sit in the back there is loads of light coming in thanks to all the glass, but
leg room is limited and when I sit up straight, you can see the glass roof eats into headroom,
and I am hardly what you would call tall. The boot however is a bit better – even
with its slightly high loading lip – as there is over 450 litres of storage space
and the seats fold nice and flat. Unlike the DS 3 which offers a fair share
of engines, each one with its own merits, you are pretty much limited to a diesel with
the DS 5 as the other petrol and hybrid options don’t really make sense from a cost point
of view – plus choosing the hybrid means you lose around 150 litres of boot space.
So, diesel wise you can choose from either a 1.6-litre or a 2.0-litre, and sales figures
don’t lie, the bestselling 2.0-litre diesel with 148bhp is the best one to go for as it
offers a great balance of power and efficiency – emitting 105g/km and realistically you
should get around 50mpg. We have the 2.0-litre mated to a six-speed
manual gearbox which is smooth through the range, but you do have to work it a lot as
power isn’t spread evenly, so you find yourself constantly changing up and down at lower speeds.
If it was up to us, we would much rather have the EAT6 automatic gearbox which does that
leg work for you – although strangely, the 148bhp diesel doesn’t come available with
this – only the lower-powered 118bhp and higher-powered 178bhp diesels do.
The DS 5 has a reputation for having a firm ride and thankfully this has been sorted – sort
of anyway. There is now ‘Pre-loaded Linear Valve’ technology – in a nutshell, this
means the ride can adapt accordingly to the road – and this really does show at lower
speeds, especially when it comes to things like pot holes. But unfortunately the DS 5
still feels unsettled at higher speeds. And the negatives don’t stop there.
While the steering is okay when pottering about town, it lacks feel on country roads
and has an elastic feel, there is also turbo lag from the engine and you can get torque
steer if you floor it. When it comes to price, its luxurious interior
really starts to show itself, as you will pay upwards of £26,000 – that’s not too
far off an Audi A5 or BMW 4 Series – both of which offer a more rounded package.
We wonder why the engineers didn’t just make the DS 5 uber comfortable to drive and
focus purely on that, because it certainly doesn’t encourage sporty driving. But it
is in line with the DS ethos, which is to be different and luxurious, so it is a case
of ‘don’t knock it till you try it’ – especially if you are a little bored of
the usual German suspects. But what do you think of the DS 5? Let us
know in the comments section belo9w and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
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