New Citroen DS5 review Reviews & Ratings MotorTorque

10 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи New Citroen DS5 review Reviews & Ratings MotorTorque отключены
CITROEN DS5 Electric Cars

New Citroen DS5 review

First came the DS3, a pimped supermini with winning engines and a real breath of fresh air into the sector. We couldn’t get enough of it — it was a breath of fresh air in the Citroen range and one the most fun new cars you can buy to this day.

Then the DS4 — a jacked-up hatch that managed to be SUV, hatchback, estate and coupe all at once. We liked bits of it, but thought it a little compromised; the DS concept stretching a little in a slightly awkward car that seemed less than the sum of its parts.

Now Citroen has revealed the DS5, a sleek estate that brings to mind the Renault Vel Satis and Vauxhall Signum — generally unloved estate-like models that signalled ill-fated attempts by volume manufacturers to move upmarket and challenge the Germans.

The DS5 also arrives just as the fairly-brilliant, faintly-ludicrous C6 — Citroen’s last Big Expensive Car — departs into the sunset. While the C6 had a lot to commend it was something of a sales disaster; you’d need less than two hands to count how many UK sales it notched up in its last full year on sale.

This is risky, then. The portents are not good. Is the DS5 destined to become another glorious Gallic failure?

DS5 design and interior

First impressions of the DS5 are very strong. It looks rather different from any other car on the market without looking especially weird. It’s a kind of high-riding estate model that suggests some four-wheel drive capacity but mainly looks like it’s been designed to be admired on the road.

And admired it is. The DS5 actually turns heads. It has a number of notable design flourishes (it’s British-designed too, like many good-looking cars are these days), including a chrome hockey stick highlighting the bonnet edge, a number of pleasing but not overpowering lines and lovely proportions.

Step inside and you’re unlikely to change your mind. In fact you’ll be blown away. The DS5 boasts a huge wraparound dash that apes common thinking for cockpit-like dashboards that enclose the driver like he’s an organic part of the machinery; that vital element that, once slotted into place, completes the whole.

The dashboard is complicated and dazzling, we counted over 80 individual buttons on the high-spec DSport model we tested (excluding indicator stalks) but it gives a great impression of the car.

Everything immediately impresses. The seats, the many, many windows across the roof, a lovely analogue clock, the instrument clusters, the head-up display. It’s an awesome presence that shows off what Citroen is capable of — so much so that it almost feels like a design concept; the likes of which rarely make production with all the eye-catching bells and whistles still in place.

Look a little further — or actually try to make the car do things you want it to do — and things get a little tricky. I did not like the complicated, counter-intuitive satnav that will not allow you to search for a postcode and I failed to pair my phone, despite many minutes of frowning at the dash and twiddling knobs.

What’s more some of the materials on the centre column — and the sometimes flimsy-feeling buttons — let the side down a bit. They don’t feel good enough for a car nearing £30K (in 160 HDI DSport spec) and undo some excellent work on design and soft-touch materials elsewhere.

However, the overriding impression is still strong, thanks to the overall design. There are comfortable, bolstered seats that move in a variety of directions but I could never manage to get comfortable; I always think Citroen’s pedals are at a strange angle and, as a result, spend my time squirming around in the its cars.

Something else you also get a sense of when getting into the car is its height; it feels fairly high off the ground and there are various windows and sunroofs that improve visibility. However, while backward visibility is strong (and aided by a rear parking sensor on the DSport model) there are some thick pillars to peer around when cornering or turning into traffic.

Space upfront is good and I thought the legroom in the back was comfortable too. You could get four adults comfortable in the back, and possibly five. Boot space is a bit of a disappointment at 468 litres — not much bigger than some small family cars, the DS5 is based on the C4 after all — though there are the ever-present binnacles around the cabin.

You can fold down the rear seats in a 60:40 ratio but they don’t fold flat, so the DS5 is not a great load-lugger and comes off badly when compared to large family estates like the Ford Mondeo and exec saloons like the BMW 3 Series Touring in this regard.

I would says the latter is closer to where Citroen sees the DS5 taking sales, but it’s competing with the high-selling 3 Series, uber-comfortable Mercedes C-Class and ubiquitous Audi A4 in that sector. How the DS5 drives is telling here.

Driving the Citroen DS5

Fire up the DS5 and you might be in for a bit of a surprise. The ride on this model feels fairly stiff and that means it corners and holds the road well, with very little body roll. With the excellent THP petrol engine it will probably be quite peppy; with the 2.0-litre diesel it’s clearly quite powerful and the chassis can handle the power and torque the car’s putting down.

But it doesn’t feel right. Not at all. Everything else about the DS5 says refinement, comfort and style. You expect this car to have a floaty, languid, quiet ride.

But it feels more like an angry hot hatch, crashing over road imperfections and bouncing over potholes — feeling unsettled at all speeds by any kinks in the road.

There’s a torsion beam rear axle at the back on most models — a fairly basic set-up that really doesn’t do the car justice, but it’s clearly been sprung to be stiff, presumably in the belief that people won’t desert their BMWs unless they can chuck a new car about. My DS5 was on 18-inch wheels, which make cornering better but impact on the ride comfort, but while there are 18-inch alloys available I can’t believe that smaller wheels would make a huge difference.

The suspension is sprung differently with every powertrain, but I found the 160bhp HDI to be, frankly, uncomfortable and find it hard to believe the THP turbo petrol models would be any less firm.

Luckily the 2.0-litre HDI 160 is a smooth, quiet engine that can return 55mpg on the combined cycle (I managed closer to 40mpg). It pulls strongly in the mid rev range, can sprint to 62mph in 8.8 seconds with the manual box (or 10.1 seconds with the auto), can cruise at motorway speeds effortlessly and feels like it would handle Autobahn speeds with ease.

All powertrains come in below the 160g/km cut-off for write-down allowance and attract low road tax and company car tax.

However there’s a stiff penalty for automatic models with the 160bhp HDI engine — with CO2 emissions between 154-158g/km as opposed to the manual’s 129g/km to 133g/km (the different figures depend on how large the wheels are). That’s a pity because I think the automatic will suit the engine better

You can, of course, save more cash with a smaller e-HDI diesel engine at 110bhp, emitting 114g/km and returning 64.2mpg combined — or the diesel-electric hybrid, which emits under 100g/km and returns nearly 75mpg — which is incredible for a car of this size.

If you plump for the DS5 hybrid you get four-wheel drive, as the diesel engine drives the front wheels and electric motors power the rear so there will be some limited off-road ability and back-up in difficult weather. However boot space is reduced to under 400 litres and the car is around 100kg heavier so the DS5 hybrid will be a tad more heavy-footed.

CITROEN DS5 Electric Cars

For the record the 200bhp THP turbo petrol engine emits 155g/km and has the lowest fuel economy figure at 42.2mpg.

Citroen DS5 specifications

There are three trim levels available on the DS5, mirroring the other DS range models.

Entry-level DSign trim starts from £22,400 and features keyless access and start, cruise control, Hill start assist function, air con, Bluetooth and leather steering wheel.

The DStyle trim starts from £24,900 and adds a cockpit styled cabin with roof switches, leather and cloth upholstery, emergency Citroen eTouch panic button that contacts the police in an emergency and satnav.

In range-topping DSport trim you want for nothing. In addition to DStyle kit there’s roof switches, leather, heated sport seats, head-up display and dual xenon headlights.

It offers the high quality touches that executive car owners like — the leather, cruise control, heated seats — and adds hi-tech touches like the HUD, satnav and connectivity that will appeal to motorway veterans — and you can add dual DVD players for the rear, which will keep kids happy on the road.

All of which means that the DS5 makes for an offbeat alternative to BMW, Mercedes and Audi that could appeal to the sort of people who used to buy Saabs and other Euro barges.

Should I buy the DS5?

But will they? At £28,000 for this HDI 160 DSPort it’s lining up against cars like the Jaguar XF, Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q5 in similar price ranges. Granted, this car will offer more toys than an entry-level Jaguar or Range Rover, but it still begs the question as to whether people are prepared to sink serious cash into a Citroen.

That kind of sums up the whole DS paradigm. The DS3 delighted drivers with its road-holding, THP engines and funky styling and was affordable — but the DS4 seemed to get a rather lukewarm welcome and was expensive for what it was.

On the evidence of my time with the car Citroen have got the DS5 plain wrong — make it into a comfortable motorway eater and it will be a car that should make sense in its own right, but with a misguided focus on handling it’s a car that doesn’t do what most potential buyers will want it to.

With the novelty of a diesel-electric hybrid in range, perhaps the DS5 fits Citroen’s idea of where the DS line is, giving a rub to the brand and showing off the company’s design and engineering skill.

That could mean the DS5 is destined to be another French oddity — rarely spotted on UK roads. That would be a shame because the lovely design, strong interior and high specifications for relatively low cash are good reasons to buy.

But the driving manners, the cheaper, bigger competitors, tough competition in the executive sector and what’s like to be heavy depreciation should ring alarm bells.

Perhaps, in a world of anonymous execs, the DS5 is very much a heart-not-head kind of car. The lesser-spotted French barge is …. Love live the lesser-spotted French barge.

CITROEN DS5 Electric Cars
CITROEN DS5 Electric Cars
CITROEN DS5 Electric Cars
CITROEN DS5 Electric Cars

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