DS 5 first drive

DS 5

DS 5





DS Automobiles is the new premium brand from PSA – the Peugeot Citroen family.

It was officially launched on 1 June 2014 with a stated ambition to re-establish the tradition of premium vehicles in the French automotive industry. 

We have in fact had Citroen DS models for a few years now, the DS 3 supermini sized hatchbacks and cabriolets, the DS 4 midsized hatchbacks and now from 1 July the new DS 5 joins the exclusive line-up. A total of six DS ranges will be available by 2021 including a mid-sized SUV to compete against the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. 

The previous generation DS 5 carried Citroen badging as did the DS 3 and DS 4 models. Now all just carry DS branding, all have the latest Euro 6 engines, revised transmissions and other updates to specification and body colours. 

Although the DS 5 makers its UK showroom debut on 1 July, in fact it will make its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 25 to 28 June along with the latest DS 3 and DS 4 versions. The DS display will be the focal point of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the original and iconic DS, the quirky, space ship style saloon with its air cushion ride thanks to the hydro pneumatic suspension. 

Sales of the DS branded models will initially be through the majority of the UK’s 188 Citroen dealerships. But in the longer term they will be displayed and sold through DS Stores which can either be linked to an existing dealership or be a new standalone sales and service operation. A flagship DS Store is planned for London. 

Explaining how the DS brand will fit in with the existing Peugeot and Citroen model ranges, John Handcock head of DS press and public relations said, DS will be the premium brand competing for sales against the likes of Audi and BMW, Peugeot will compete against mainstream premium brands such as Volkswagen and Citroen will compete against mass-market brands such as Renault and the Korean manufacturers. 

To date DS versions have accounted for around 30% of Citroen’s total UK sales, so approximately 25,000 units in 2014. Alastair Faigrieve, product manager for DS Automobiles in the UK said at the media launch for DS 5 in a full year he expected the DS 3 range of models to achieve 20,000 plus UK sales, the DS 4 will be at least 2,500 sales and the new top-of-the-range DS 5 executive five door hatchback should achieve 1,100 sales in a full year. 

He added that UK sales of the new DS 5 are expected to be taken up by business and fleet customers. There are two core levels of specification, Elegance and Prestige with Elegance accounting for 60% of sales. There is also initially a 1955 Edition version to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the original Citroen DS model. There is the Euro 6 engine choice, depending on the specification chosen, of 1.6-litre 120hp manual, 2.0-litre 150hp manual and 2.0-litre 180hp auto with BlueHDI turbodiesel engines, a 1.6-litre 165hp THP turbocharged petrol engine with a new six-speed auto transmission and a Hybrid 4×4 model with a 2.0-litre 200hp HDI diesel engine, electric motor and auto transmission. The 150hp diesel unit will account for 50% of UK sales the 120/180hp units will take 40% of sales between them, the Hybrid 7% and the 165hp petrol just 3%. 

Prices range from £25,980 to £34,890. The expected most popular model, the 2.0-litre 150hp Blue HDI manual with Elegance specification, costs £27,140. This unit develops 370Nm of torque from 2,000rpm. Officially it will return 68.9mpg in the Combined Cycle with CO2 emissions of just 105g/km so VED road tax is £0 First Year rate and then £20 for Year Two onwards. Company car drivers will pay 19% Benefit-in-Kind tax. Insurance groups have yet to be confirmed as have residual values. 

With the latest DS 5 being the first model to officially launch the standalone DS brand it is just a shame that it isn’t entirely new, it is a refreshed version of the previous generation Citroen DS 5 but at least it shows some improvements. This flagship model has a new strong and muscular design front end with a new grille and centrally positioned DS badge, LED signature daytime running lights, new design headlights and scrolling indicator lights. 

DS 5 DS 5 DS 5 DS 5 DS 5

The five door body has a coupe style side profile neatly wrapping around the body to the tailgated rear. At 4.5-metres in length and 1.5 metres in height it retains its long but sleek eye-catching image and visually it is appealing. Inside it is much the same as before, twin cockpit front design with a high level dashboard with numerous controls and switches although a new 7.0-inch touchscreen has done away with some of the minor controls. There are 12 fewer buttons we are told than before so the interior looks cleaner and posher although the aircraft style overhead bank of switches centrally positioned between the two pod style glass sunroofs reduces the headroom. In the rear the headroom is not plentiful, neither is the legroom considering this is now seen as a premium brand car for business executive. This is a fact not lost on DS as in China they produce a long wheelbase version for that market and there are no plans to offer such a model in Europe. 

One of the major complaints of the previous Citroen DS 5 was the ride quality; it was far too firm and compromised the handling as well as ride comfort. The suspension has been revised for the DS 5 generation with longer travel, softer dampers. There is an improvement but at times the ride was unsettled by poorer road surfaces and impacts from potholes are too easily transferred into the luxurious cabin. Unusually for a car of this class there are no functions to personalise driving settings such as the softness or firmness of the suspension, the desired weight of the steering response or the engine mapping to provide Sport or ECO performance. These are details that should not have been overlooked by DS if they want to be seriously considered as an alternative to Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus or Mercedes-Benz competitor models. 

For our DS 5 test drive we selected the most popular engine, the latest Euro 6 compliant 2.0-litre BlueHDI turbodiesel unit which pushes out 150hp (148bhp) and 370Nm ((273lb ft) of torque from 2,000rpm. This is matched with a slick six-speed manual gearbox. The unit proved to be responsive, relatively quiet with a good turn of speed when traffic conditions allowed. Top speed is 127mph and zero to 62mph takes 10.6-seconds, good enough but not enough to worry some other brands in the premium brand pond where DS will have to fish for sales. Officially fuel consumption in the Combined Cycle is 68.9mpg and our test driving around the busy London commuter roads between the M4 and M3 motorways returned just 46.2mpg. With CO2 emissions at a low 105g/km this means low tax costs will be appealing to potential customers. 

Overall the DS 5 looks a classy vehicle inside and out with comprehensive levels of equipment but in years to come it will not be considered an icon of its motoring age unlike the original Citroen DS was back in 1955. It is a however start for DS on the right road to becoming a premium brand. 

MILESTONES: DS 5 BlueHDI 150 Elegance (Expected best selling model). Price: £27,140.
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder direct injection turbodiesel, Euro 6, 150hp, 370Nm of torque from 2,000rpm, 6-speed manual. Performance: 127mph, 0-62mph 10.6-seconds, 68.9mpg Combined Cycle (46.2mpg on test), CO2 105g/km, VED £0/20, BIK company car tax 19%. Insurance group: TBC. For: Imposing and distinctive styling with great road presence, classy interior, high specification, low tax costs. Against: Firm-ish and unsettled ride at times, no adjustable modes for suspension/engine settings, limited head and rear seat legroom, unproven residual values.   Miles Better News Agency

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