Citroen DS5 2015 facelift
Since DS emerged as a new brand from Citroën back in 2014, motor heads have been waiting with bated breath to see what this transition might mean for the major contenders to the German executive car monopoly. Following a facelift more focused on features than aesthetic, what can we expect from the new DS5?
The DS5 has a unique, quintessentially French appearance when compared to other executive cars. The bodywork appears to bulge from the frame, with stylish chrome struts framing the bonnet and signature enlarged grille. The theme continues along the side panelling; however, the rear looks somewhat sparse by comparison.
Although there have been no great changes in appearance since DS separated from Citroën (unlike the new DS4, which came out alongside the ‘Crossback’ SUV version), they have softened the DS5’s features and provided a small indication of what’s to come by 2020, when the rest of the range are re-imagined under the new banner.
Buyers have three options in terms of wheel size; 17”, 18” or 19”. The 17” is available on the DS5 120 S&S 6-Speed manual, while the 18” version can be found on the DS5 THP 165 S&S EAT6 auto, DS5 150 S&S 6-Speed manual, DS5 180 S&S EAT6 auto and DS5 Hybrid 4 200 ETG. 19” alloys are also available on the 150, 180 and 200.
Executive extravagance is emphasised in the design through enlarged features, and this is also carried through to the interior. The front seats are a grandiose interpretation of a sportier ‘bucket seat’ model, with elegant leather trim and plenty of supportive padding. Similarly, the over-sized adjustable steering wheel has been flattened at the bottom for a more dynamic feel.
There’s generous glass throughout the cabin, affording plenty of light and making a feature of the outside view. The roof spoiler cuts out some visibility from the rear window, but this doesn’t feel too restrictive thanks to the large wing mirrors.
Controlled from a new 7.0in touchscreen within the central console, the revised infotainment system features a built-in sat nav, and enables you to synchronise with your smartphone via Bluetooth to control music and make calls remotely. Surrounding it is an easy-to-use array of switches and dials that form the core operational centre of the cabin.
The DS5 features an industry standard 465-litre boot, which is amply sized for an executive trip or family weekend away. It opens more like a hatchback than a traditional saloon, affording extra space to put in bulky or cumbersome items.
On the road
A major advantage of the DS range is that you don’t need to climb up the spec levels to get hold of all the best kit. Keyless entry, parking sensors and the Mirror Link touchscreen come as standard from the entry-level Elegance spec upwards.
Ride quality has improved beyond recognition from the previous incarnation, with a new suspension system making it feel as if you’re levitating above the road surface – a far cry from the last version of the car under the Citroën banner. Despite the over-sized steering wheel, the car feels light and nimble when cornering, with just enough feedback to ensure you take the right line. While it wouldn’t look as at home pootling through French villages on B roads as a classic like the 2CV, the DS5 can handle tight spaces as well as eating up the miles on longer journeys.
DS seem to be sure that the diesel engine versions will make up the bulk of models sold on the UK market, packing the range with three as opposed to just two petrol engines. The 120 is the first rung on the ladder, and with a low emissions rate of just 104g/km, this is likely to be the model used as a fleet car across the nation. The 150 packs more of a punch with just a slight increase in emissions (jumping to 105g/km), however both can generate over 70mpg. All of the engines come into their own in the mid-range, generating plenty of power between 1,500rpm and 4,000rpm.
The 180 is a premium engine and, although it will cost you in terms of emissions (rising to 114g/km), you will notice a difference in terms of engine noise and responsiveness at speed. All of these engines come complete with a six-speed manual gearbox.
DS have clearly taken note of some of the criticisms levelled at the car under Citroën, taking steps to improve the performance and suspension of the DS5. The latest model competes harder with the uber-functional German executive saloons than they ever have been before, whilst also offering something wholly original and new – elegant French style. Don’t be surprised if the DS5 starts to become a much more regular sight on our streets come 2016 – it could become the proverbial ‘top dog’ of family estate cars.