DS 5 review - French premium offering doesn't quite hit the mark
Style and character in spades, but DS still has work to do if it's to dethrone the traditional premium brands
The DS 5 is not a car you’d pick in order to have fun on B-roads or blast along autobahns, but to judge it solely by such criteria would be unfair. More of a problem is that judged as a premium product – a market DS Automobiles is determined to break into – it doesn’t quite hit the mark either.
Its combined ride and handling talents aren’t up to the standards we now expect of a premium vehicle and nor is its performance or cabin. As such we’d struggle to recommend it objectively next to more conventional rivals.
At the same time, it’s far from being a bad car, and we can absolutely understand its appeal for that small band of buyers for whom a 3-series or similar is enough to cause tears of boredom. Accept its limitations and the DS 5 is a pleasantly relaxing, characterful option in a sea of silver German saloons.
If you’re spending big money on a French premium product you might as well do it properly: ignore Elegance trim and head straight for Prestige models, which add desirable bits and pieces like LED/Xenon headlights, leather trim, mood lighting and front windows which cut down on wind and road noise.
Engine-wise we’d pick either the THP 210 or BlueHDi 180, each of which offers suitable performance, and of the two it’s the auto-equipped diesel that probably makes more sense. The hybrid isn’t worth the extra outlay unless you’re a company driver and it’s chipping money from your Benefit In Kind bills.
DS Automobiles still doesn’t quite have the product lineup to justify its premium billing, but the DS 5 is probably the most appealing vehicle it currently offers. While the DS 3 is merely a poshed-up supermini (albeit good to drive) and the DS 4 is an uncompetitive crossover sprinked with pseudo-luxury features, the DS 5 feels like something unique.
We’d be intrigued to see what replaces it – hopefully a car that pairs Peugeot and Citroen’s work with lightweight platforms with original design and a further step up in quality and materials.