Rory Reid road tests and reviews the Citroen DS5 Hybrid4, a super-frugal, super stylish luxury car that should appeal to families and business-folk alike.
The Citroen DS5 Hybrid4 is a strange beast; part-hatchback, part-crossover, part-estate, part-4×4 and part-eco-friendly runabout, it is a jack of many trades. On paper, it ticks just about every box a modern-day motorist could wish for, but what’s it like to live with in the real world? We jumped behind the wheel of this luxurious French…. thing to find out for ourselves.
The car is gorgeous on the inside, the highlight being the exceptional watch strap leather seats fitted to our test model.The Citroen DS5 Hybrid4 is an attractive car, of that there is little debate. It has an aggressive, imposing front end, a sleek profile and is festooned with lots of cool detail front to rear. It looks like nothing else on the road and draws plenty of double takes everywhere it goes.
It’s an odd, but striking combination of hatchback, crossover and estate, which is interesting enough in itself. What’s even stranger, however, is the fact that, while the DS5 is rather enormous (it feels huge when you try to thread it through narrow suburban streets) it appears little larger than a traditional hatchback when viewed from from outside.
The car is also gorgeous on the inside, the highlight being the exceptional watch strap leather seats fitted to our test model.
The boot is by no means tiny, but families that regularly travel with push chairs, luggage and other family flotsam may struggle.Though the Citroen DS5 Hybrid4 is large, it’s far from the last word in practicality. Up front, its seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of legroom. There’s also sufficient room round the back for three passengers (though the middle passenger might find long journeys a bit of a chore). It’s not all good news in this department though. The car’s hybrid gubbins occupies quite a bit of space in the rear, stealing some luggage space. Whereas non-hybrid models manage an impressive 465 litres of room, the Hybrid4 car has to make do with just 325 litres. It’s by no means tiny, but families that regularly travel with push chairs, luggage and other family flotsam may struggle.
Some may struggle with the general day-to-day usability of the Citroen DS5. Many of the cabin’s major controls are lumped into arrays of buttons and switches mounted on the centre console and on the ceiling. They look fantastic and give the car the feel of an aircraft cockpit (the flip-up head-up display is particularly awesome) but take some getting used to. The car’s also lacking in cup holders – rear cup holders aren’t even available on entry-level models and those up front, located in the door pockets, are a bit too shallow for our liking.
Performance & Handling
It takes an age to shift from one gear to the next. The effect is so pronounced, it can feel a bit like driving a lorry.The Citroen DS5 Hybrid4 is a good performer, on paper. The part-diesel, part electric powertrain helps it achieve an 8.3-second 0-62mph time and a 131mph top speed. There’s good overtaking ability, too, thanks to a healthy 300Nm of torque. Exploiting this power isn’t much fun, though, because the Hybrid4 has the most lethargic gear change we’ve come across in some time. It takes an age to shift from one gear to the next. The effect is so pronounced, it can feel a bit like driving a lorry.
The DS5 Hybrid4 corners well enough, and stays surprisingly composed through bends for something so large. But the steering lacks feel, so you’ll gain little or no pleasure from pushing hard. The ride, while generally good, is easily unsettled by rough, pock-marked roads.
Economy & Environment
Economy is the DS5 Hybrid4’s trump card. It’ll return an impressive 72.4mpg on either 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels, with emissions of 102g/km. Better still, it’ll smash through the 83mpg barrier when rolling on 17s, with CO2 of 88g/km. Not even the smallest, most frugal diesel model, the e-HDi 115 Airdream EGS6 (65.7mpg and 112g/km) can match that.
Equipment & Value
A bog standard e-HDI 115 diesel DS5 can be bought from £22,960. The price jumps to £28,760 if you opt for the Hybrid4 model, and rises further still if you tick a few options.
Three trim levels are available – DSign, DStyle and DSport. DStyle models come with a six-speaker radio and CD player, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, a height- and reach-adjustable steering wheel, cruise control with a speed limiting function, front and rear electric windows, 16-inch alloys and dual-zone air conditioning with a pollen filter.
Whichever version you go for, you’d better be a fan of discreet colours. The DS5 is only available in shades of black, brown or whiteDStyle commands a £2,500 premium and adds 18-inch wheels, a DAB radio, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera plus the eMyWay sat-nav. DSport costs a further £2,100 but bags you all the above plus Xenon headlamps, Citroen eTouch Emergency & Assistance (which calls the emergency services if you’re involved in an accident), a massaging driver’s seat, carpet mats, a colour head-up display that shows your speed and navigation instructions, as well as front parking sensors.
Whichever version you go for, you’d better be a fan of discreet colours. The DS5 is only available in shades of black, brown or white, although the black paint on our test model is absolutely gorgeous. Call us geeky, but we’d go as far as to say it’s the blackest, shiniest we’ve ever seen.
EuroNCAP hasn’t tested the Hybrid4 version of the DS5, but it has given the standard car a good smashing. It scored an impressive five stars, excelling in adult occupant protection and in its active safety assist features. The most notable of these is the Citroen eTouch Emergency & Assistance feature, which lets you contact emergency services at the push of a button.
The Citroen DS5 is a stunning-looking car inside and out. It lives up to its hybrid billing, too, thanks to excellent fuel economy and low emissions. It’s far from perfect; those who drive for pleasure might find it a little uninspiring and it has several usability quirks that will annoy or infuriate users for the first few days of use. It’s also far from cheap. However those looking for a fairly large vehicle with head-turning looks and excellent economy should definitely check it out.
Model tested: Citroen DS5 Hybrid4 200 Airdream
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel + electric motor
Acceleration: 0-62 in 8.3 seconds
Top speed: 131mph (limited)
Emissions: 88g/km CO2