Sunday 11 December 2016

New DS brings something different to challenge established premium brands

The DS 5 has shed its iconic chevrons but is this enough to transform it into a premium offering

Published 13/09/2015 | 02:30

DISTINCTIVE: From all angles the DS 5 is immediately recognisable
DISTINCTIVE: From all angles the DS 5 is immediately recognisable

With an Ink Blue exterior and bold, aggressive styling, the Limited Edition DS 5 looks virtually nothing like a Citroën. It may mark the launch of the original Citroën DS, 60 years ago but you will find only a few touches to remind you of the Citroëns of old. The facelifted DS 5 is a very modern interpretation of a classic and is the prototype for all future DS models. Later this month, the new DS brand will unveil two new models; the DS 4 and DS 4 Crossback along with a concept dubbed DSV-01 Formula E racing car at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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The new front end and xenon/LED headlights of the refreshed DS 5 are distinguishing and the DS logo now sits in the middle of a sculpted, vertical grille while the distinctive metallic strip, from the previous model that runs along the edge of the bonnet, remains. The DS 5 is a very chic five-seat family car and is a beautiful blend of estate, coupe and MPV.

Inside the changes are less pronounced, the interior remains inspired by the world of aviation and surrounds you in a cockpit-style interior of pure luxury. The main controls are grouped on two centrally positioned consoles, one at a low level near the gear selector and one overhead.

On the practical side legroom and head room is good in the front and reasonably decent in the back. Rear visibility though is reduced by the avant-garde styling and the boot at 465 litres is not huge for a car of this size.

The aspect most criticised in the previous version was the harsh ride that proved more jarring than a BMW 5 series but offered none of the superior handling associated with such sporty firmness. Thanks to some suspension tweaking and retuning the new DS 5 is significantly more comfortable for driver and passengers. The steering is still a little artificial feeling but overall it is a much better car to drive than before.

Prices for the new DS start at €36,045 and go up to €50,195 for the range topping DS 5 Prestige Hybrid4 200 Airdream. There are two trim levels - the 'Elegance' and 'Prestige', three BlueHDi diesel engine variations and a Euro 6 compliant hybrid 4x4 drivetrain.

Our Limited Edition test car is priced at €44,345. Specified in a new Ink Blue body colour, with unique 1955 badging it is based on the Elegance trim level but comes fully loaded with additional goodies such as Criollo Semi Aniline Leather Pack with DS embossing, 18 inch 'Adelaide' brilliant grey alloy wheels and DS LED Vision headlight. Underneath the bonnet the BlueHDi 180 engine delivers 133kW with maximum torque of 400Nm at 2,000rpm. Running costs are particularly impressive and DS reckon the car will return 4.4 litres per 100km or 64.2mpg on a combined cycle with CO2 emissions of just 114g/km.

A five-star Euro NCAP safety rating as well as curtain and lateral airbags make this one of the safest cars on the market. There is also ABS and Electronic Stability control as standard as well as an Automatic handbrake, Hill start assist and Blind spot monitoring. Also available is the 'DS Connect Box', which includes the brand's 'SOS & Assistance' system.

The DS 5 is the true successor to the original 50s icon with head-turning looks and futuristic design. Now with a more comfortable ride and improved road manners, there's a lot to like. But it will take a lot to persuade Irish buyers that a big, French contender is a worthy rival to Audi, Mercedes or BMW though it is without doubt a smooth and luxurious car that will appeal to those who want something a little different.

Contributing editor Geraldine Herbert is also the founder and editor of wheelsforwomen.ie and is a regular contributor to 'The Last Word' on TodayFm

Sunday Independent

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