You have to admire any manufacturer launching a new car into today’s market, even with the heritage of the DS.
DS was a premium model from Citroen in the 1950s but it faded until the French car maker decided to utilise its status on derivatives of its mass models over the last few years. Now it has gone further and aims to give DS a distinct identity and look along with separate dealership centres.
For now we have the large DS hatchback in 11 versions based on two main trim levels and with a choice of 150 to 210PS diesel and petrol engines, and including a diesel-electric hybrid 4×4 between £26,000 and £34,900 approximately.
Our upper level Prestige BlueHDi is the least expensive of the top three in its sector and has a manual six-speed gearbox and stop&start ignition to save fuel and help it down to 105gkm, which means its cheap to run and tax.
The DS is a big car, make no mistake, but the 150PS engine is perfectly capable of pulling it along at a good pace, from standstill and through the gears to a composed motorway speed.
There is a long travel clutch and not altogether precise gearchange to master but it slows, stops and turns very well. I would have been happier with a tighter turning circle when parking or turning in town streets, but it was well weighted and communicative nevertheless.
Performance is good, not startling, but its economy deserves singling out with a regular return over 50mpg.
The handling is safe, sure, predictable and never gave a cause for concern and while it coped with most road bumps there were a few which got past the system and jarred the car. You could also hear how hard the suspension was working with a road noise ever present and disappointing in what is perceived as a premium model.
Secondary controls were generally well placed and worked without issues, the instrumentation was clear and the temperature controls kept the interior at a selected mark without noise or much variance.
Oddments space was good throughout while the boot took 465 litres and was easy to load.
For driver and passengers access was good once you learned to duck your head behind the sweeping A-pillar and in the seats the room was generous and front seat adjustment was plentiful while all seats were well shaped and comfortable.
The visibility was a little restricted by those steeply raked pillars, high waistline and thick c-pillars ahead of a high tail, so you really need to be careful placing the DS5 and when reversing the sensors really come into their own.
On the move the DS5 felt more responsive than you might think from the acceleration figure and it seemed to go a long way on little fuel if you were cruising along main roads or motorway.
The road rumbles were the only intrusive noise, the powertrain was subdued and wind noise was very low.
There is a rarity quality about the DS5 which some will appreciate and if you like this and prefer to have a lot of room as well it is a good proposition, but to my mind it still needs further refinement to really merit that badge.
|DS 5 Prestige 150HDi||Price: £29,560|
|Insurance Group: 30E||Mechanical: 150ps 4cyl 1997cc turbo-diesel engine, 6sp manual|
|Max Speed: 127mph||0-62mph: 10.6sec|
|Combined MPG: 68.9mpg (50.1mpg on test)||C02 emissions: 105gkm|
|Bik rating: 19%||Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles|
For: Roomy, economical, distinctive
Against: Ride quality, some road noise