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Used DS 5 review

The DS 5 is a bold French attempt to offer an alternative to the German compact executive saloons – here, they’ve served up an up-market 5-door of their own. It’s a different type of car - a classy aerodynamic hatchback with an impressive cabin and lots of on-board toys and luxuries. It might not have the posh badge – but it has cool rarity value.

Looks?

The DS 5 is a compact executive 5-door hatchback with sleek, almost coupe-like lines. It’s taller and more distinctive than rival German executive cars.  

The French designers added plenty of chrome to the front end to give it presence and the long, sloping rear end adds streamlined practicality. It’s unique and appeals to those liking something different and distinctive. 

Confusingly for buyers, the DS 5 was launched as a Citroen in 2011 although it was built in a Peugeot factory. In 2015 it became badged, not as a Citroen, but as a DS, the company’s new up-market wing. It was discontinued in 2018 meaning used buyers can now find bargain versions. 

The DS 5 is a compact executive 5-door hatchback with sleek, almost coupe-like lines.

What’s it like to drive?

The DS 5 is not a handling superstar like some of its rivals. The suspension was initially designed to be sporty, which meant passengers registered every bump.  

After 2015, the ride was softened and became more geared towards comfort. The French car doesn’t match rivals when tackling challenging curves but feels at its best as a composed motorway cruiser. 

Drivers get to choose from a selection of punchy turbo engines, both petrol and diesel, plus a diesel-electric hybrid with 4-wheel drive. The driver’s seat and steering wheel are multi-adjustable so it’s easy to find an ideal driving position. 

The suspension was initially designed to be sporty.

Inside?

The French designers knew they had to impress owners if they wanted to prise them away from the German prestige brands, so the DS 5 was given the most up-market cabin they could create. That’s why the materials are top quality and everything is really well fitted together. It feels very durable.   

In true French style, the design is a little quirky though, with a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a swooping curved dashboard. Some of the switches are rather eccentric. Owners soon get used to them. 

The seats look big, plush and supportive. Get in and you’ll find that they feel great to sit in too. In fact, those in the front have lots of head- and leg-room. As usual with a coupe-like roofline, it gets a bit squashed for tall passengers in the back. Three can fit on the back seat. The middle section is a little raised and cramped for anything other than a quick journey. 

The car was given a long list of equipment to raise it into the executive category. Even base models come with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, DAB and sat-nav, plus sophisticated dual-zone climate control and a futuristic head-up display so you can see important instruments without looking away from the road. Handy. 

Practicality

The long list of up-market features add to the car’s practicality and safety. Standard keyless doors and starting, electric adjusted and folding door mirrors, and automatic headlights and wipers all add to the up-market experience. 

The DS 5’s boot is smaller than some rivals and has a high lip to lift things over but it’s much easier to get at things in there thanks to that big tailgate. There’s a removable parcel shelf to hide items from prying eyes and even a flap to enable you to carry skis. The back seats fold down, but not completely flat.  

The distinctive rear spoiler sits in the middle of the glass tailgate, making it a little harder for drivers to see what’s behind. Standard rear parking sensors more than make up for that. High-spec versions get a reversing camera too.  

Running costs and reliability

The DS 5 originally cost as much as a Mercedes or BMW - but depreciated fast, so used buyers can find bargains. The diesel engines are economical with impressive official fuel figures that sit around 70mpg. The hybrid version, with its heavy 4-wheel drive, can only improve on that slightly at 74mpg. Note that some other running costs may be in the executive category that Citroen was trying so hard to attain.

What cinch loves

The DS 5 has a stylish and distinctive design offering something different to familiar German brands. It’s practical for loading via the hatchback and spacious in the front too. Equipment levels are very generous and the front seats feel glorious. A four-wheel-drive hybrid version makes an attractive and unique niche model for some buyers.

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Verdict

Good

You won’t look the same as everyone in the company car park if you drive a DS 5. Its unusual coupe-meets-hatchback shape is unique. The cabin is impressive and the hatchback gives it practicality. On-board tech and toys are as generous as any rival.

This review was

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