Test Drive by Graham Breeze
The first thing you learn when driving a DS5 is that you’re going to stand out in any crowd because this is a car designed from top to bottom for those looking for style.
“What are you driving” is the main question I was asked during a week behind the wheel of the Prestige Blue HDi because the DS5 no longer comes with Citroen branding – this is very much a stand-alone product now.
DS is the premium brand of the PSA Group, owners of Peugeot and Citroen, and was first announced by Citroen back in 2009. But it wasn’t until 2015 that DS was given its own styling with distinctive rear badging and a separate identity from it Citroen sisters.
This really is a car to attract the style-conscious motorist. With flowing designs and a range of stand-out colours to pick from there’s something for every driver who wants to be seen.
But it’s not just looks that make this car stand out – it’s performance too. Because the 1997cc, 180hp turbocharged model on test raced from 0-62mph in 9.9second and had a top speed of 137mph. CO2 emissions are very competitive at 114g/km
The power is fed by a six-speed automatic gearbox which DS has called “Eat6”. It’s the same unit used in some models by Peugeot but for some strange reason doesn’t seem as clunky. In fact the test model was a sheer joy to drive.
Handling is about what you would expect from a model where the suspension has been softened but surprisingly heavy steering was noticeable when trying to park in those tight spaces. A bit embarrassingly for the driver at times in fact.
It’s stacked from top-to-bottom with the type of kit you would expect to find in a much more expensive car too with cruise control, tyre pressure monitor and a seven-inch touchscreen interface controlling all the functions.
Other standard items include Sat Nav, steering wheel mounted controls, a reversing camera, a cockpit roof with toggle switches, electric powered steering, electric roof sunblinds and a noise reducing laminated front window.
Safety has not been forgotten and you get ABS, ESB and EBA braking, hill start assist, all-round airbags, height adjustable front seats, an automatic hand brake, blind spot monitoring and seatbelt warning alerts on all seats.
There’s also keyless entry deadlocks, immobiliser, an alarm system, automatic door and boot locking while on the move and automatic activation of the hazard lights if you should get into trouble.
18-inch alloys are standard as are body coloured mirrors, bumpers and door handles and you get chrome exhaust styling.
Inside the DS5 gets the leather treatment on the binnacle, steering wheel, the front and rear door sill protectors and gear knob. It’s a comfortable place to be too thanks to the adjustable seats, folding rear bench seat, front arm rest and five head restraints.
The Presige Blue HDi hits the road at £33,580 but the metallic paint, brilliant heads-up display, electric comfort pack, sand beige leather, 19-inch alloys and Denon HiFi system fitted to the test car took the figure up to £35,999 – which is a big bill to pay.
But while the initial cost may put a few off, running costs certainly won’t. DS claim the 5 will return 62.4mp on the combined cycle – the test car got no-where near that figure though - but if you move quickly it will slot into the low tax banding.
If you but the DS5 you simply have to be prepare to be seen – otherwise start looking elsewhere.