Models Covered:

5dr Hatch (1.6 THP petrol / 1.6 THP petrol Hybrid 4x4 / 1.6, 2.0 BlueHDi diesel)


The PSA Group hoped that sensuality, innovation and avant garde design would be blended together in this DS 5 model, which was first launched with Citroen badges in 2011, then got a final run with DS-only branding between 2015 and 2018; it’s that final run DS version we look at here as a used buy. The idea was to showcasing everything this fresh-thinking French maker wanted to deliver in the German brand-dominated mid-sized executive market segment. Bringing together elements of everything modern family motorists seem to like – Crossover, coupe, family hatchback and sports estate – it’s an intriguing package that really does seem to offer something just that little bit different if you were about to opt for just another Mondeo-sized medium range model from this period - or perhaps a Teutonic mid-sized executive saloon.

The History

A ‘Different Spirit’. The meaning of these two iconic letters is the meaning too of the marque they represent. ‘DS’ is the Peugeot Citroen Group’s avant garde prestige brand and this is the car this new nameplate launched with in late 2015, the much improved DS5 model.

This contender was originally launched late in 2011, badged as a Citroen but showing clearly what the defining features of the future DS brand would be: style, innovation and technology. The three attributes indeed embodied in the design that inspired the creation of this fresh French marque, the very first DS model of 1955. That car, with its emotionally-charged styling and hydraulically-powered suspension, steering, clutch and brakes, was impossibly far ahead of its time. This was a premium saloon before the concept had even been thought of.

At launch, this DS 5 didn’t pretend to be quite such a trend-setter, but its market positioning was almost as distinctive as its illustrious predecessor. Here was a car priced and pitched against BMW 3 Series-style mid-sized executive saloons and top medium range Mondeo-class models. But offering a very different buying proposition. Classy, cultured and exquisitely appointed, it aimed to bring a slice of French couture to the company carpark.

But there was a problem – and a very surprising one for a French luxury conveyance. The ride was poor, with even mild undulations making their way into the stylised cabin, a disappointing failing at odds with the car’s luxurious character. Less of an obvious issue but an increasingly acute one given improvements made by rivals was the efficiency on offer from the original engine range. Changes needed to be made. They were in 2015. This revised DS5 got a redesigned damping system that considerably improved its ride quality. Plus a redeveloped range of engines were better able to deliver the figures business buyers were looking for. And all of this was delivered in an even more beguiling package, full of flair and fashionable technology. But it wasn’t enough and this DS-badged DS 5 lasted just two years before the brand withdrew it from sale.

What You Get

The differences with this improved post-2015-era DS 5 model mainly lie at the front, where the vertical grille proudly incorporates the ‘DS Wings’ brand logo and extends smoothly into headlights that feature LED Xenon technology on plusher variants.

With the conventional petrol and diesel models there’s a 465-litre boot. Opt for the top Hybrid 4x4 version and the bulk of a large battery pack reduces the loading space on offer to just 325-litres. Back seat passengers are decently looked after and the light and airy feeling created by the three-part glass roof will make you feel better about sitting in the rear. When it’s time to take a seat at the front, you’ll find an interior that’s even more avant garde than the bodywork. It’s based around what the brand calls a ‘cockpit’ driving position where the main controls are grouped on two centrally-positioned consoles, one at a low level near the gear selector and one overhead. Both incorporate specially designed buttons, dials and toggle switches that the DS designers say were inspired by the aerospace industry.

What To Look For

The DS5's diesel engines are tough and reliable. Owners have reported some knocking sounds coming from the front suspension. That was about it. Even the fearsomely complex Hybrid4 seems to have surprised owners with its reliability, though one owner pointed out to us that this variant costs £4,000 for new batteries every four years. He found that his car also broke down four times in three years and was recalled due to a fault that could have caused a major problem. He found that the car has a built in system which automatically shuts the car down and stops it working if it needs a service. This owner’s car did this to him 20 miles after it was due and left him stranded by the side of the road. Otherwise across the range, it’s just the usual things; check the alloy wheels for scrapes. And the inside for child damage. Insist on a fully stamped-up service history.

On The Road

On the move, this improved post-2015 DS 5 is a huge improvement on the original Citroen-badged version of this car, primarily because its ride quality was transformed. As a result, this enhanced model soaks up bumps and dips in the road far more effectively and over poor surfaces, you don’t feel the vibrations and impacts that were all too evident before.

Under the bonnet, there were changes for this post-2015 car, with latest generation BlueHDi diesel technology made available. There’s a 120bhp 1.6-litre unit, plus a couple of 2.0-litre powerplants offering either 150bhp - or 180bhp if you want your car with automatic transmission. Original buyers also got a couple of 1.6-litre THP turbo petrol models, with either 165bhp or 210bhp. And there’s a clever Hybrid 4x4 200 variant at the top of the range that mates diesel and electric power for impressive efficiency.


Here’s a car that surprised us. At first glance, this revised post-2015-era DS 5 seems very little different to the original Citroen-badged version. Get to know it though and a much better product is revealed, equipped with properly up-to-date engines and, most significantly, a far better standard of ride.

Certainly, it isn’t perfect: handling, efficiency and some aspects of build quality still aren’t quite a match for the class leaders from this period. But then, there’s something rather soul-less and clinical about perfection. The DS brand is about a ‘Different Spirit’. Another way that’s very sleek, very smart – and very French.