Citroen DS5 DSport Hybrid4 200 Airdream  15 | 01 | 2013Scotcars rating

    Citroen goes down the hybrid route with its DS5 ... but it could be a cul de sac


    The DS range has launched Citroen back into the forefront of fashion, for which the French company is renowned since the heady days of the original DS Pallas and even the quirky 2CV. The stylish entry level DS3 and its bigger brother, the DS4, with their innovative colour schemes and great looks, have been winners from the sort of buyers who might otherwise have gone for the revitalised Mini, Beetle and Fiat 500.

    The DS5 is aimed at the executive end of the market, business user-choosers who want something that will stand out from the crowd but will reward them with driving pleasure when they use it every day. Its styling puts the likes of the VW Passat, Vauxhall Insignia and Audi A4 very much in the shade.

    It’s a great looker, with sweeping curves and eye-catching highlights, and breathtaking interior with an aviation-inspired cockpit with overhead controls and switches on a central panel. The test car was the more specialist diesel hybrid — the first from Citroen to combine a 200bhp engine with a 37hp electric motor delivering power to the rear axle for low CO2 emissions, improved economy and performance when you want it.


    In standard setting, the power transfer is controlled automatically for best efficiency, but you can over-ride that by calling up one of several operating modes:

    ZEV which uses the electric motor only for speeds up to 37mph, but drains the battery power quite quickly. The battery charge is restored in normal running.

    SPORT combines both power units for quicker acceleration, but no more than you’d get from a standard turbo diesel.

    4WD sends power to all four wheels — diesel to the front and electric to the rear — on rough ground or when there’s poor grip, but it’s very low 4x4 traction.

    That sounds clever: in practice it’s overly complex and for the vast majority of users a waste of engineering, effort and money. Citroen, and partners Peugeot, have created one car to do everything but which fails to do anything particularly well. Rather than the conventional PNDR settings on the auto box, the miniscule lever is labelled RNAM but at night without a lit indication, it can be confusing to establish which setting you’re in.


    It’s a comfortable car and the seats are particularly good. The ride quality is first class, if a bit soft, and the interior is very well finished. The aircraft style cockpit is just a touch over the top and you’d be well advised to spend a day studying the handbook and working your way through all the controls and switches before you hit the road. I had to look up the handbook just to find the fuel gauge.


    Unless you’re committed to saving the planet, and ticking the environmental boxes, you’d be better getting the standard diesel version which is almost as economical and up to £10,000 cheaper.

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    Alan Douglas


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £32,200 / £32,200
    Engine / Power: 1997cc / 163bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 8.3secs / Max 131mph
    How big/heavy?: L4530mm W1871mm H1539mm / Weight 1856kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 68.9mpg combined / 107g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: 28E / Band B £20
    Alternatives: Vauxhall Ampera; Toyota Prius; Peugeot 3008 Hybrid

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