Citroen DS5 review: Hands-on

It's the car designed specifically for the 21st Century family. T3 took the DS5 for a spin…

What is a hands on review?
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The French are notoriously a proud bunch – but, it would seem, for good reason. Any country that can unload a car like the DS5 off the production line has every reason to feel smug: it’s one of the most innovative cars the brand has produced in a while and by far one the best we’ve tested this year.

It's the third in the brand's DS line up, after the DS3 and DS4, and is being billed as an environmentally-friendly four-wheeler that's both practical and ideal for long journeys, much like the Range Rover Evoque and Vauxhall Ampera.

The DS5 is stunning, packed with tech and looks like the lovechild of an MPV and an estate. It’s also extremely spacious, comfortable and luxurious, a feature that, alas, is made obvious by its premium price tag.

Citroen DS5: Tech

Ultimately, the DS5’s tech offering is its USP. It comes equipped with an in-built sat nav, media hub controls for radio, CD and external MP3 devices, keyless access and start, and, if you’re in the mood to splurge, a 10-speaker Denon Hi-Fi system, available in both the DStyle and DSport models.

Another optional but nifty feature is Citroen’s Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), which uses a digital camera to detect and monitor lines on the road to pick up involuntary lane departure.

Also in the mix is a reverse camera, which displays your rear view to the on-board display - a feature that's increasingly becoming popular on new motor spec sheets.

In terms of entertainment, there's plenty to keep everyone entertained, including USB and Aux connection to sync your MP3 device to the infotainment system, and Bluetooth connectivity for wireless smartphone hook up.

And if you're a lover of the great outdoors, you'll love this motor. With the push of a button, you can retract the ceiling to unveil a large glass roof that floods the inside with natural light during those rare moments of British sunshine. Overall, it's a very good effort.

Our only criticism is the display which, although stunning, isn’t touch-responsive. This can get fiddly while scrolling through the alphabet using a dial to input an address in the sat nav system and toggling between radio channels.

Citroen DS5: Specs

- Heated leather seats with massage function
- In-built sat nav
- Parking sensors
- Reverse cameras
- Automatic weather responsive lights

Citroen DS5: Performance

Step inside the DS5 and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that you’ve mysteriously been teleported into a luxury limousine.

Every small detail, from the leather trim to the high-tech dashboard, combine to create a premium car that’s spacious, user-friendly and darn-right comfortable to drive.

It’s packed with a treasure trove of useful features and compartments, designed to make the most out of the inside space.

One feature we fell in love with was the arm rest, which has two compartments: one for little essentials, such as your smartphone and iPod (coincidentally, this is also where the USB and Aux ports are located) and another for larger items, such as bottled water or toys.

On the driving front, the DS5 is good but not great. Although steering is light and the ride is smooth, we felt the car could have handled speed bumps better and it also felt unbalanced at times, particularly while on the motorway.

There four driving modes: auto, ZEV, 4 wheel drive and sport. Auto toggles between the diesel and electric engines which Citroen claims optimises fuel consumption, ZEV uses the electric motor only when the car is travelling less than 37.5mph, 4 wheel drive is self-explanatory, while sport combines the power of both the electric and combustion engines to boost the car’s response and speed.

Citroen DS5: Verdict

It's high-tech, spacious and the attention to detail is nothing short of superb - the DS5 is every inch the high-tech family car.

But there is one major problem, though: the price. British car buyers are brand-worshippers at heart, and most (us included) would raise an eyebrown when hearing the words ‘Citroen’ and ‘thirty grand’ in the same sentence.

Citroen DS5 Availability: Out now
Citroen DS5 Price: From £23,000

Words: Bertan Budak

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.