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Citroën DS5 DSport HDi 160 Automatic driven by Richard Dredge
Previously, I’ve commented on the fact that Citroën is quoted as saying it’s likely to water down its designs, to become more mainstream.
Coincidentally, a self-employed friend has just taken out a three-year lease on a DS5 DStyle HDi 160 – purely for its looks.
Before signing up, he’d never even sat in a DS5, never mind driven one. But enamoured by those fabulous lines, he’s now paying £313 each month for the privilege of running his own big Citroën – and he’s loving it.
Lucky him; just as he’s taken delivery of his new DS5, ours has gone back to its maker as it celebrates its first birthday. Although our DS5 was with us for just three months, they were eventful as we managed two lengthy trips into France with it, and it notched up just over 5,000 miles, mainly at speed on the motorway. Despite all the high-speed driving, we just about managed to match the official fuel consumption figure – a rare feat indeed.
Having run a DS4 for six months and nearly 15,000 miles last year, running the DS5 was almost like an extension of that original test. However, the bigger car is more fully equipped, more adept dynamically and also better looking.
Even though the DS5 is built on the C4 Picasso floorplan, it doesn’t offer as much extra practicality as you might think (the boot stows just an extra 100 or so litres compared to the DS4), but as it sits closer to the ground it offers better body control.
In a previous report I’d mentioned that the car sits on 19-inch wheels, but in fact our DS5 had the regular 18-inch items; the bigger rims are one of the few extras that can be specified. Bearing that in mind, moving to even lower profile tyres wouldn’t do the ride any favours – and it needs to be made more cosseting, not stiffened through the fitment of bigger rims.
Other than that, our DS5 was a great machine to drive. The 2.0-litre HDi engine is muscular enough for pretty much any occasion, and the slick six-speed automatic gearbox swaps cogs smoothly, although sometimes we found it hanging onto ratios a bit too long when accelerating gently on A and B roads – even without resorting to Sport mode. Predictably, it’s possible to change gears manually too, but there’s no paddle shift option.
While the cabin is intriguing, thanks to the busy dash and the seats that look as luxurious as they feel, the DS5 isn’t as well packaged as it should be. Those seats take up a lot of space and the quirky roof treatment sees an array of glass panels interspersed with a roof-mounted console that runs between the two front seats. Throw in a black headlining and it can feel claustrophobic – especially with a low roof line in the back.
The DS5 remains a rare sight on UK roads; French buyers seem more eager to embrace the car than British consumers (we saw loads on Gallic roads). As a result, there aren’t many used examples for sale, so homing in on an exact value for our car isn’t easy. The trade valuation bible Glass’s Guide doesn’t list DS5 values yet, but Auto Trader threw up a few similar cars.
Only one had covered more than 10,000 miles; we found a 15,000-mile DSport HDi 160 automatic priced at £20,995, which suggests our car is worth around £20,000 on the forecourt, and £17-£18k as a trade-in. As such, the DS5 is directly comparable with an equivalent Audi A4 Avant, for example.
A year ago, a 2.0 TDI would set you back £30k new, but now it’s £19,500 on the forecourt. While it could be argued that the Audi is the better all-rounder, it’s also much less distinctive, so if you’ve been considering a DS5 but are worried about horrific depreciation, it’s not as clear cut as you might think.
So maybe you should put a DS5 on your new-car shortlist; after all, this could be your last chance to persuade Citroën to keep the creativity flowing.
|Date arrived:||11th January 2013|
|Mileage to date:||18,421 miles|
|Price when new:||£29,500|
You’ll notice from the panel below that our DS5 hasn’t done many miles over the past month.
In fact it hasn’t done any under its own steam.
After its coming together with a French traffic cone, Citroën nabbed the car back on the day I filed my previous report, and the repairs are still not quite complete as I write this.
It didn’t take long for the DS5 to be assessed; it was obvious from the outset that a new bumper would be needed; that’s been sourced, fitted and painted already.
It was also predictable that the fog light would need to be renewed, along with the washer bottle which had cracked and emptied itself upon impact (it sits immediately behind the bumper).
At first we thought the headlight might also need to be replaced, but thankfully not – just its retaining brackets, which are designed to give way in a pedestrian impact.
Most bizarre was the need for a new track rod end; somehow it had got bent.
Had all the parts been in stock we’d have had the car back by now, but Citroën is waiting for a couple of bits to be delivered.
However, as this issue went to press, the DS5 is expected to be returned, just in time for another trip to France.
When I mentioned to Citroën that it would be great to have it back for this trip, we could hear their nervousness – but surely we can’t get caught out twice by errant traffic cones.
|Date arrived:||11th January 2013|
|Mileage to date:||16,397 miles|
|Fuel consumption:|| 46.3mpg (official combined)
48.3mpg (on test)
Last year I ran a Citroën DS4, and as good as it was, I didn’t shed many tears when it was time for it to depart.
It wasn’t that it was a bad car – far from it – just that it wasn’t one of those machines that tugs at your heartstrings. It was an interesting car in many ways, and it looks like the DS5 that’s fresh on our fleet will be even more absorbing.
My only experience of a DS5 until now was with a hybrid edition that took me to Holland and back last summer. That car was fascinating but flawed, but the DS5 2.0 HDi that we’ve got for the next few months is already proving to be significantly better than its diesel/electric counterpart.
Improved luggage capacity and a far better transmission – albeit still an automatic – should make the DS5 an ideal long-distance cruiser, thanks to the same torquey powerplant that was the highlight of our previous DS4. The Citroën will certainly get plenty of opportunity to show what it can do, as over the next couple of months it’ll be pressed into action on two long continental trips.
A skiing trip to the French Alps will see four people and luggage transported around 1,500 miles in a week, while a few weeks later it’ll be taking us down to the south of France on a 2,500-mile odyssey.
If we haven’t managed to bond with the car after all that, I think there’s a good chance we never will.
|Date arrived:||11th January 2013|
|Mileage to date:||13,746 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||46.3mpg (official combined)
38.2mpg (on test)