The Ds5 2019 handles well and its standard AWD gives off-road ability as well, though only the turbo model offers spirited performance.
The DS 5 is the premium French brand’s flagship model and an executive rival to the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
It’s actually a facelift of the Citroën DS5 – which was launched when the two brands worked as one – but DS is now a standalone brand, pitching itself into the premium market. (READ: Citroen C5 Review Reviews)
The DS 5 has an eye-catching design but a very steep list price, which means it’s just as expensive as the established German rivals it’s up against. This means that in order for it to be competitive it’s going to have to match its premium executive rivals in every area, particularly in driving dynamics.
The line-up includes three diesel engines – these will be the most relevant to UK buyers – and two petrol units, plus a diesel-electric hybrid with all-wheel drive. It’s available in three trim levels.
The diesel engines will be the best sellers in the UK, and our pick of the range is the lesser-powered 2.0-litre BlueHDi 150 variant. It offers plenty of mid-range shove and delivers its power fairly smoothly. The entry-level BlueHDi 120 diesel doesn’t feel powerful enough for a car of this size, and the gains in fuel economy and CO2 emissions aren’t enough to make it a better pick. The most powerful diesel, the BlueHDi 180, is the most refined of the three but the BlueHDi 150 offers the most rounded package in terms of performance and economy, and has low CO2 emissions.
Our favourite engine is only available with a manual gearbox, which feels a little vague and notchy. The six-speed automatic gearbox isn’t any better; it’s lethargic with all of its shifts, and doesn’t judge downshifts well in particular. The most powerful diesel is only available with the automatic.
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The DS 5 is very far from matching the smooth ride and sharp handling on offer from the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. The steering is vague and lifeless, and rather heavy, which means low-speed manoeuvring is harder work than it should be. This weighty feel is welcome at motorway speeds, however. Body lean is kept in check through the corners, but the DS 5 does run out of front-end grip surprisingly quickly.
The DS 5 suffers from a fairly firm ride that means it’s not the most relaxing executive car to drive or be driven in. It’s an improvement over the previous model, but road imperfections aren’t easily absorbed, and there isn’t even a sporty drive to compensate for this.
Refinement is largely acceptable, although some of the engines are rather boomy at low speeds. They do tend to quieten down at faster motorway speeds, but refinement levels are then brought down again by an increase in wind and road noise.
Cost & verdict
The DS 5 comes quite well equipped, with Elegance very generously specced and Prestige lavishly so. Standard kit includes LED daytime running lights, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control and a 7.0in infotainment system with sat-nav. The jump up to Prestige isn’t cheap, but it adds a leather interior, 18in alloys and a reversing camera, while Performance Line sits in between them and mainly offers cosmetic tweaks, including the options of different colour packs.
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DS reliability is still largely unknown, but Citroën has a poor record in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey. Every DS model comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
For safety, the previous Citroën scored a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating but the latest model’s safety rating is yet to be disclosed. It comes with driver, front passenger, front lateral and curtain airbags.
Although the DS 5’s range of efficient diesel engines should help to keep running costs down, its starting price makes it as expensive as a BMW, Audi or Mercedes which, when you consider how far behind these rivals it is in some vital areas, makes it hard to recommend. It has poor resale values, too, so you’re likely to take quite a heavy hit in depreciation if you buy the car new.
The best value in Ds5 2019 is a base model with manual gearbox, but it’s still decently priced after adding fancy audio, leather, and a moonroof.