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We would like to say a very big thank you to the team at Gazley Wellington (46 Cambridge Terrace) for allowing us use of their new Citroen DS5 for this road tested review. Drop in anytime to see them and to check out their complete range of new and used Citroen’s.

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INTRO.

Heritage of the Citroen DS line from 1955 styled by Flaminio Bertoni, an Italian sculptor and designer, and Andre Lefevre, a French aeronautical engineer. These aerodynamic futuristic influences and innovation are still evident in the current Citroen DS range released internationally in 2011, which was aided by Boeing in some of the design. Piloting the DS5 through town there is a clever convergence in durable robustness and luxury. Switches, knobs and dials felt like they were meant to last the ages. The operation was intuitive. It made getting into a comfortable driving rhythm smooth, accessible and is well set up to help keep the driver focussed on the road ahead. While the DS5 handled easily with smooth gear selection and an easy going acceleration, these features also made the DS5 not the most exciting car off the line. But it does ooze style that lies on the fringes.

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DRIVING.

Our modern DS5 is powered by the 121kW 2.0 litre HDi engine, with low fuel consumption and a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions, these new engines are top of the line. There were two driving modes available in the DS5, standard and sport. Standard was your day to day eco-friendly option: restrained acceleration and short gear changes. The car would just do enough to get things moving nicely and keep the momentum up for a cool, calm and easygoing ride. Sport mode had a very noticeable change. Not often at this level do you really feel a major change in a car’s handling and performance when switching between modes, but with the DS5 it was undeniable. Acceleration was energetic and aggressive, gear shifts were at much higher revs and solid when going through the motions. The engine ( I had forgotten we had one) in the DS5 really came alive. Possibly due to me becoming complacent in Standard mode and forgetting what exhilaration was. Where Standard mode would cruise in 5th gear, Sport would always sit a gear lower.

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Amongst all this excitement of sport mode, there was the steering wheel. My only gripe with this was the size. I couldn’t quite grasp whether my hands were smaller than the average Frenchman, or if it was the ratio of it to other things around the drivers seat. It just felt huge, and accessing the on-wheel controls required special attention to maneuver my hand to reach the buttons whilst maintaining control of the car at the same time- something I haven’t really encountered before. Turning felt stiff at times and coupled with a firm ride it really telegraphed where the weight was going to shift in corners and quicks turns.  Citroen managed to perfectly place the spoiler in the middle of the rear window, making rear visibility sometimes challenging for the taller driver. Citroen tried something new and made the interesting move in splitting the A-pillar into a sweeping triangle allowing a line of sight in all the right places.

Relaxed in the Mistral Claudia leather seats, it was a pleasure to hop into the Citroen DS5 with it’s pleasantly sweeping lines inviting us into the cockpit. The aviation inspired centre console on the ceiling was very unique and made use of the underutilised head space in between the driver and front passenger. The pop out cabinet is an ideal place to store his and her sunglasses. The roof top sun shades are located above both driver, passenger, and a large central shade above the rear passengers. The open skylights were romantic by night, and during the day you could see the shadows from the clouds above pass through the vehicle. You could experience the weather outside, inside. The dual climate control was another nice touch of comfort and luxury, and another good reason to get in the car on those cold southerly days. The Mistral Claudia seats looked amazing, the finish on them was perfect, but function didn’t follow form in this case for me. They felt stiff and knobbly in places, which if I were going on a long drive may prove tricky to find that nice laid-back cruising position. The boot was spacious without the rear passenger seats having to compromise.

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The DS5 embraces a fully digital dashboard display and large onboard trip computer screen. A little holographic displays the current speed in a hard-to-miss spot in front of the driver on the dashboard. Along with a large digital display of your speed on the dashboard, there really is no excuse for unknowingly speeding (or driving too slow!) with so many displays reminding you of what you are travelling at. Strangely, the DS5 still features a redundant analogue clock, as well as its digital clock. Navigation of the entertainment unit was easy to grasp and featured GPS standard. Some great little touches that Citroen have laid throughout the car include the unique contoured headrest design,  with other matching elements in the car that carry a edgy sculpted form about them.

WHAT IT’S UP AGAINST.

Brand / ModelEnginePowerLuggage CapacityFuel EconomyPrice
Citroen DS5 120kW HDi2.0L HDI Diesel120kW / 340Nm465L5.1/100km$62,990
Ford Mondeo Titanium Hatch2.0L Duratorq TDCi Diesel120kw / 340Nm816L5.6L/100km$53,340
Hyundai i30 Wagon1.6L DOHC VGT94kw / 260Nm528L5.6L/100km$41,990
BMW 1 Series Hatchback2.0-litre In-line 4, Petrol160kw / 310Nm360L6.6L/100km$62,600
Kia Sportage LTD2.0L CRDI Diesel Turbo135kw / 192Nm564L7.2L/100km$54,240

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PROS.CONS.
  • Latest in HDi diesel technology.
  • Loads of neat buttons and dials to mess around with.
  • Plenty of boot space.
  • Good sound and climate controls.
  • Buttons for sports & snow mode are located to the left of the gear stick, hidden from the drivers point of view.
  • Overly large steering wheel & drivers on-wheel controls.
  • Not enough options/info to display on the holographic HUD
  • Price is steep.

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WHAT WE THINK.

The Citroen DS5 is a great combination of space and comfort of a full sized wagon, but light enough and easy to drive as a hatchback. But, it really is a car of difference in styling. Citroen have a unique flare when approaching how common things such as pillar form and driver instruments should be structured. Driving around the city is comfortable with the 2L HDi diesel, making it extremely economical and affordable to run. I feel the DS5  won’t be for everyone. On looks alone you either love it or hate it. If you can appreciate things that are different from convention  then this might be for you.

RATING – AutoClique Chevron rating 3 out of 5

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SPECS.

Citroen DS5 120kW HDi

Vehicle TypeFront Engine, compact executive car
Starting Price$62,990
Engine2.0L HDI Direct injection Diesel 120kW / 340Nm
Transmission6 Speed auto
Curb Weight1650kg
Length x Width x Height4530 x 2128 x 1539
Cargo Capacity465L
Fuel Tank60L
Fuel7.9 urban, 6.1 Combined


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