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

evo Verdict

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.

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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.

evo Tip

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.

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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.

evo Comment

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.

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