DS5 Prestige Blue HDi 180 6-speed auto
I once owned a Citroen, an AX model bought second hand from Citroen Manchester over 20 years ago for £1250. It was basic but did the job & although there was no room for your left leg in the footwell of the car, a particular annoyance on longer journeys, I really quite liked it, even managing to sell it on after about 6 months when I persuaded my then boss to get me a company car.
Back then, Citroen still held a Gallic charm for most of it’s UK customers, my house mate at the time having a red Citroen BX with that air suspension, but it wasn’t until they launched the C5 in the mid 1990’s, that fleets started to really take Citroen seriously as a company car supplier.
If you ever drove the old C4, you’ll know that Citroen still excelled at quirkiness well into the mid 2000’s & for those of you who still like a car with a difference, Citroen then launched the iconic DS model driven by French Presidents & Popeye Doyle in French Connection 2, first with the sporty DS3 & then with the larger DS4 & more recently with the daddy of the range, the DS5.
Then in 2014, Citroen announced that like BMW with MINI, the DS brand was going to stand alone & the Citroen logo & name was removed from the DS range. In Q3 of 2015, the DS range was relaunched & the range was simultaneously updated & improved, although the brands quirkiness was still much in evidence.
Perhaps the model in the DS range that exemplifies the original, is the DS5, which even in 2015 has a look that divides opinion. Both inside & out the DS5 is more like a design project on a drawing board than a mainstream fleet car. The very fact that Citroen have manufactured it, just goes to show that they are still doing quirky better than most.
From the outside the DS5 looks, well almost normal, with an attractive front, sweeping windscreen, DS logos & clever lights. Only when you step inside does it go all Doctor Who. The interior is best described as aviation inspired. Not though, with ‘Saabs’ old claim to fame, but with a genuine above the head array of toggle buttons, just like a Jumbo. The roof is daring, with a split above the front seats containing the said toggles. These control the lights & the Targa like split sunroof over the front passengers & the rear sliding sunroof above the rear passengers. The soft touch aluminum dash board & fascia is lovely & has a wonderful horizon line on the rev counter just like on an aircraft. The layout of controls takes a bit of getting used to, 3 days in my case, but all are easy to use & to work including the DS infotainment system entertainment/phone/Sat Nav.
My test car came with fabulously designed ribbed black leather seats, which were both comfortable & supportive both in the front & rear. I sat in the back & found both head & legroom adequate, although I am only 1.725 cm tall. ( 5 ft 8″in old money). If I list the equipment on my test car, the Prestige Blue HDi 180 6 speed auto, we will be here for ever. Suffice to say it’s got a lot, way more than the equivalently priced Deutsche mobile, so for gadget geeks it’s spot on. You can tick off front & rear parking sensors, cruise control with speed limiter, SatNav, Bluetooth, DAB radio, hill start assist, blind spot monitoring, electrically adjustable drivers seat, 3 part sun roof with electric sun blinds, LED mode interior lighting, scrolling LED indicators, & DS led Vision-Xenon directional headlights. There isn’t though a decent cup holder but there is a decent sized glove box, two well proportioned door pockets & a central binnacle large enough for a bottle or two, but not that easy to access.
If you need space in the boot, it’s there with there with the DS5 offering 465 litres, although the boot has a huge lip making access difficult compared to other similar sized cars. Like the dash though, the carpet & associated trimmings on the DS5 are excellent & way better than Citroens of olde.
The major niggle that I had with the previous DS5, was it’s handling the road. It was a bit of a Jekyll & Hyde, mirroring the poor ride of the hard suspension Audis out there, something a Citroen should never do. However, the Mk2 is vastly improved with a much smoother more-Citioen-like feel. The six- speed auto box is a joy offering plenty of power from the get go. A top speed is claimed at 137 mph & 0-62 mph can be reached in 9.9 seconds. Combined fuel economy is a claimed 64.2 mpg, I achieved, 49.7 mpg. CO2 emissions are a mightily impressive 114g/km & the DS5 comes with an excellent 20, 000 mile service interval, which will save you some more as well.
Setting the cruise control motorways are eaten up brilliantly, whilst around town, the engine is quiet & inside the DS5 is a nice place to be. As the week progressed, I liked the DS5 more & more, but couldn’t help feeling that the DS5 may well have passed under the radar of the average company driver, which is a real shame.
If you covet something slightly different from the norm. If you like to be wrapped within a futuristic cabin within a car that’s as unusual as the original DS model, then the DS5 is most definitely for you. But, for those of you who have only ever considered a Mondeo, a Passat or an Avensis, then the DS5 could well be for you as well, offering as it does great looks, great spec, great practicality & fun driving.
A French Connection 2 4/5.