Review: DS 5 (2012 – 2018)

Rating:

More stylish alternative to the C5. Impressive interior. Much better from 2015.

No Hydractive suspension on the DS model that really should have had it. Very poor ride quality especially on 19-inch wheels, improved from 2015.

Recently Added To This Review

15 August 2019

Report of infotainment screen of DS5 hybrid overheating in hot weather. Very hot to touch. Possible fire hazard. Taken to DS dealer because reversing sensor volume too low. Was told all Citroen had... Read more

11 June 2019

Reader reported that his DS4 diesel HYbrid4 actually had a light to warn the driver when the DPF was actively regenerating. Read more

30 August 2017

Report of failure of torque converter automatic transmission of DS5 at 40,000 miles. Cost of repair was £3,500. Read more

DS 5 (2012 – 2018): At A Glance

Topping the DS line, the ‘5’ combines hatchback and saloon styling cues to offer a genuine alternative to your usual run-of-the-mill executive car. Indeed, the DS5 is tall and imposing, with stylish chrome strips that run up to its profoundly shaped bonnet.

The interior is equally as dramatic. Seats on top models are trimmed in watchstrap style leather and there are loads of genuine metal trim details. There are also overhead, aircraft inspired switches, which pair up with a head-up display and a wide steering wheel that feels a little like a flight yoke. It’s really impressive to behold and it’s really easy to settle into comfortably.

Practicality is reasonably good too. There’s just about enough room in the rear seats for adults, though they might struggle to comfortably get their feet under the front seats, and the boot is sizeable, though it does have a fairly high load lip. We also take issue with the fact that the boot cannot be opened without pressing a button – on the keyfob or in the cabin - as there’s no external handle.

Unfortunately the DS5 has a number of problems. For a start, Citroen’s once famed for ride quality has been replaced with a car that feels fidgety, over firm and poorly dampened. The DS5 also clatters over speed bumps and potholes and follows the camber of the road instead of tracking in a straight line, which means the car gently veers toward the kerb unless you firmly grip the wheel.

Unless you only ever drive on the motorway, you’ll probably find it irritating at best and downright unbearable at worst. Admittedly there’s some redemption when it comes to powertrains, which are good on the whole. The pick of the bunch is the 163PS diesel, paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox, which is very refined and effortlessly smooth and rapid. Company car drivers will likely pick the flexible 115PS diesel, though, thanks to lower running costs.

There’s also a 200PS diesel hybrid variant, which has an electric motor to power the rear wheels and a diesel engine powering the front . The result is 200PS, with emissions of 88g/km and official economy of 80.7mpg. Buyers who want a petrol model get one choice, a 200PS THP.

With interesting exterior styling, a great interior and a good selection of engine options, the DS5 gives a very strong first impression and looks like it should be an alternative to the usual German executive car. However, due to some poor execution, the big Citroen ultimately falls short of the mark. 

Citroen DS5 Hybrid 4 2011 Road Test

Citroen DS5 BlueHDi 150 2015 Road Test

What does a DS 5 (2012 – 2018) cost?

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DS 5 (2012 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4275–4530 mm
Width 1871–2128 mm
Height 1523–1539 mm
Wheelbase 2727 mm

Full specifications

The cabin of the DS5 is just as interesting and stylish as the exterior. The driver’s seat is neatly cocooned by a high transmission tunnel, which features an electronic parking brake and controls for the infotainment system. The steering wheel is wide and feels like a flight yoke to grip – one of several aircraft inspired touches.

There’s plenty of real metal adorning the cabin and material quality is excellent throughout, as is attention to detail. It’s a truly outstanding cabin that gets even better on higher spec cars, which gain things like a head-up display and a panoramic glass roof split into three sections. There are also niceties like a massage function on the driver’s seat.

Interior space is good – the boot has a decent capacity and features a ski-slot, but it does have a fairly high load lip. That’ll prove awkward when loading and unloading bulkier items. There’s room in the back for adults if they can get their feet comfortably under the front seats – a problem that won’t affect children, who will fit perfectly fine.

Practical and stylish though it may be, the DS5’s cabin has a few shortcomings. Most notable is the navigation system, which refuses to take seven-digit post codes. The infotainment system overall is a bit tricky to understand and can be a real pain to get to grips with - it’s certainly not as intuitive as the systems on German rivals.

Furthermore, the glove box is uselessly small and the stylish centre stack and transmission tunnel leave no room at all for cup holders, which instead are in the door bins and are too small for most cups. 

Equipment levels are reasonable, with most creature comforts fitted as standard, including keyless entry and start, cruise control, automatic wipers and automatic lights. To get leather upholstery you’ll need to go for a top, DSPORT model, which also adds electric seat adjustment with massage function.

Standard Equipment:

DSIGN:

  • Driver's, front passenger's, front lateral, front and rear curtain airbags
  • Electrically adjustable/heated/foldable door mirrors with integrated kerb side LED
  • Front fog lights with cornering function and daytime running LEDs
  • Keyless access and start/Perimetric/volumetric anti-theft alarm
  • Cruise control with speed limiter and memory settings
  • Front and rear electric windows with 'one-touch' operation and anti-pinch
  • Auto digital air conditioning with dual-zone temperature setting
  • Auto rain-sensitive windscreen wipers/auto illumination of headlamps/electrochrome rear view mirror
  • Automatic electric parking brake
  • Connecting Box - Bluetooth system® with USB socket

DSTYLE adds:

  • Part Mistral ‘Claudia’ leather, part ‘Dinamica’ cloth upholstery
  • Three part sunroof with electric sunblinds and aviation style toggle switches
  • Analogue clock on dashboard
  • eMyWay - colour satellite navigation with live traffic information and European mapping
  • Reversing camera and rear parking sensors
  • Two sunglasses holders in cockpit roof/cup holder in rear centre armrest

DSPORT adds:

  • Mistral 'Claudia' leather upholstery
  • Front electric/heated sport seats
  • Driver’s seat with electric lumbar adjustment, massage function and memory settings
  • Citroën eTouch Emergency & Assistance system
  • Xenon Dual-Function Directional headlamps with washer jets
  • Front parking sensors
  • Colour head-up display
  • Carpet mats

Child seats that fit a DS 5 (2012 – 2018)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the DS 5 (2012 – 2018) like to drive?

Most of the engines offered by Citroen run on diesel – there’s a capable 115PS 1.6-litre that offers a good blend of performance and economy, a 163PS 2.0-litre, a 180PS 2.0-litre and a 200PS diesel hybrid variant, which is the most frugal in the range. There’s only one petrol option – a 200PS 1.6-litre THP.

For those who spend most of their time on A-roads and motorways, the best choice is the 163PS diesel, particularly with the six-speed automatic. It is effortlessly swift and has loads of in-gear torque. It’s also refined and fairly efficient, with Citroen claiming a frugal 47.9mpg.

Those who really value frugality will want the hybrid model, with its official economy of 80.7mpg and emissions of 88g/km. It uses a battery pack to electrically drive the rear wheels, while the front wheels are powered by a 163PS diesel engine. Combined output is 200PS and it’s possible to drive short distances on electric power alone.

Another advantage of the hybrid system is its all-wheel drive capable; it won’t traverse mountains, but for a slippery drive it should be useful. The downside to this set up is the electronically controlled manual gearbox, which is a little bit slow to change gears and dulls what otherwise should be impressive performance.

You might think that the 115PS engine will be underpowered but it is fine – there’s enough torque for good progress and emissions are low enough for cheap annual VED. It’s economical, too, with official fuel economy of 64.2mpg. While the meat of the range is diesel there is one petrol option with 200PS – but the DS5 really is better suited to a diesel.

Unfortunately, regardless of engine choice the DS5 has some disappointing dynamic shortcomings, most notably the suspension set up. There’s none of the usual smoothness Citroen is famed for – instead the ride is fidgety and over firm on all but the most marble-smooth surfaces and it clatters loudly and uncomfortably over potholes.

The problems don’t end there either – the steering is poorly weighted and is very prone to following the camber of the road, dragging the car subtly towards the kerb unless you keep the wheel firmly gripped. That’d be fine if this was a sports car, but for a big executive car it’s frustrating and disappointing.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.6 BlueHDi 120 71 mpg 11.7 s 104 g/km
1.6 BlueHDi 120 EAT6 69 mpg 11.9 s 108 g/km
1.6 e-HDi 110 Airdream EGS 64 mpg 12.0 s 114 g/km
1.6 e-HDi 115 Airdream EGS 66 mpg 12.0 s 112 g/km
1.6 THP 165 EAT6 42–48 mpg 10.4 s 136 g/km
1.6 THP 200 42 mpg 8.5 s 155 g/km
1.6 THP 210 46 mpg - 144 g/km
2.0 BlueHDi 71–72 mpg 11.7 s 102–105 g/km
2.0 BlueHDi 150 58–66 mpg 9.3–9.9 s 105–113 g/km
2.0 BlueHDi 180 EAT6 63 mpg 9.2 s 114–117 g/km
2.0 BlueHDi Automatic 63–64 mpg 9.2 s 116–118 g/km
2.0 HDi 160 58–59 mpg 8.5 s 125–128 g/km
2.0 HDi 160 Automatic 46–48 mpg 9.8 s 154–158 g/km
Hybrid4 72–86 mpg 8.3–8.6 s 85–103 g/km

Real MPG average for a DS 5 (2012 – 2018)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

72%

Real MPG

32–63 mpg

MPGs submitted

157

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the DS 5 (2012 – 2018)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Why is the Citroen DS5 badly rated by journalists?

I have been driving a Citroen DS4 HDI 160 for about a year. I really enjoy this car, it is comfortable, nippy, fun to drive and economical. It was a great tower of my Eldiss caravan, that I have recently changed to a Coachman. I felt the DS4 was just a bit light for towing this new caravan, so I decided to purchase a new DS5 160 Sport of which I take delivery in about two weeks. It is heavier and should do the towing job. However, I noticed in a well-known car magazine that they have assessed the DS5 as below par overall. Have I missed something, because they also assess the DS4 as below par?
In my view they are both bad designs. The DS3 worked very well but the DS4 doesn't. There is absolutely no excuse for non-opening back windows and a point on the back door that stabs people in the cheek (it did to me on the launch). It has completely ridiculous 19-inch wheels with 40 profile tyres, and the ride quality of the DS5 (based on a stretched C4, not a C5) is abysmal. Had it been given Hydractive 3 suspension then it might have been worthy of bearing the DS tag. After the criticism, Citroen is now re-thinking the DS5.
Answered by Honest John
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