DS 5 Hatchback review

DS 5 Hatchback review

Sleek, stylish and packed with kit; the DS 5 makes a strong case for those who don’t want to opt for a typical German-made executive car from the likes of BMW and Volkswagen.

The DS 5 represents the start of a new luxury brand – now completely separate to Citroen.

Introduction

The Citroen and DS alliance is no more, as the French luxury brand is carving a place for itself in the luxury car market, starting with its DS 5 executive model.

As well as being the ‘first DS model’, the new DS 5 also gets a facelift, which brings with it a new DS Wings front-end – inspired by the original DS model from the 50s – some interior tweaks, engine updates and, most significantly, new suspension technology.

Upon its launch in 2012 the DS 5’s premium interior was much loved, its suspension on the other hand left a lot to be desired. But have the new changes rectified this?

2015 DS 5 Hatchback Sideview

Performance 

There are as many as three turbocharged diesels to choose from, since this is expected to be the best-selling derivative of the DS 5. Included is a 1.6-litre BlueHDi producing 118bhp and a 2.0-litre BlueHDi, producing either 148bhp or 178bhp. Other engine options include a 163bhp petrol and a Hybrid four-wheel drive 200 model, which combines a 158bhp diesel with a 40bhp electric motor, and an even punchier THP 210 petrol.

We tested what is expected to be the most popular diesel - the 2.0-litre 148bhp – and found that even though peak pulling power is quoted at 1,500rpm, the turbo lag means you have to wait a while for the power to kick in. This can be frustrating when you need instant power on tap at junctions or when you need to cruise at a steady low speed. Its 0-62mph sprint time isn’t astonishing either, taking 10.9 seconds to complete this.

Although the power from the engine may be unevenly spread, the six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes are incredibly slick. We recommend going for the auto as it makes acceleration and gear changes feel more seamless. On the diesel front, however, the auto isn’t available with the bestselling 148bhp diesel derivative.

2015 DS 5 Hatchback Rear

Ride and Handling

In a straight line the DS 5 is decent, but take it along a challenging British B road and it begins to show its size. Those design cues look great when the car is stationary, but on the move the DS 5 feels rather heavy and uninspiring.

The steering is weighty but its feedback feels artificial and you are never at one with the car, much the opposite of the driving experience in a BMW 3 Series.

And then there’s its ride. Yes, it has been improved since the original launch, thanks to the new adaptive ‘Pre-loaded Linear Valve’ (PLV) suspension technology, but it can still be caught out by poor road surfaces. Refinement is decent overall though, with just some tyre noise at motorway speeds to note.

In short, the DS 5 is perfectly capable, but simply cannot hold a candle to the 3 Series in terms of driving dynamics.

The steering is weighty but its feedback feels artificial and you are never at one with the car, much the opposite of the driving experience in a BMW 3 Series.
Did you know?

The DS 5 is one of the more recent model launches by the DS brand for Britain, following on from the DS 3 and DS 4.
2015 DS 5 Hatchback Onroad

Interior And Equipment

The interior is a very cool place to spend time, a world apart from the methodical and uber-organised interiors of the Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series. Those cabins are Germanic in style with everything owning a place, but the DS 5 is quirkier and fun.

That’s not at the detriment of quality, which is brilliant, making for a plush interior, but the instruments have quirkier graphics than duller rivals, and the layout is driver-friendly and colourful. Kit is generous across both available Elegance and Premium trims, too.

Standard kit is plentiful, with all models receiving dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth hands-free, 16-inch alloys, and cruise control. The main addition – or reduction – when it comes to the infotainment system is that there are now 12 less buttons than before, making it feel less cluttered and easier to understand.

There’s 465 litres of boot space with the seats up, extending to 1,288 litres when the rear seats are folded down. A few things to note is that the glass roof in the back eats into headroom quite a bit, the rear doors don’t open very wide and the boot has a high loading lip.

2015 DS 5 Hatchback Boot 2015 DS 5 Hatchback Interior

Cost

The most efficient entry in the DS 5 range is the Hybrid 4x4 model, emitting just 103g/km of CO2. But very close behind is the 1.6-litre 118bhp diesel, emitting 104/km and returning a claimed average of around 70mpg – although realistically you will probably get around mid-50s.

Prices for the DS 5 start from around £26,000, which means it is more expensive than the BMW 3 Series – although a few thousand less than a 4 Series. Residuals for the likes of the 3 Series are stronger than the DS 5 though, due to the added prestige of the German badge.

Prices for the DS 5 start from around £26,000, which means it is more expensive than the BMW 3 Series – although a few thousand less than a 4 Series.
2015 DS 5 Hatchback White

Our Verdict

We like what those behind the DS range are trying to achieve, but just wish the DS 5 was more polished. It looks fantastic and the cabin is quirky yet classy, but this car falls below par when it comes to driving dynamics and comfort.

While we don’t expect a car this luxurious to handle like a hot hatch, a composed ride would make it more pleasurable to drive. Still, if you want a model that has an individual style and is packed with desirable tech as standard, the DS 5 could be a good choice for you.

2015 DS 5 Hatchback Side View
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