Citroen DS5: An argument between your heart and your head
When Citroen launched the DS3 many people started taking the French firm a bit more seriously. The car may trade on a legendary name, but its look (inside and out) and drive were good enough to get the world's motoring press mentioning Citroen and Mini excitedly in the same breath.
The DS line of cars expanded to the DS4 -- a curious looking thing which can't decide whether it's a small crossover, a coupé or a hatchback. I remember going on the UK launch and even the chaps who designed the car couldn't seem to make up their minds either. Still, it's a good steer.
The range needed something bigger, though. It needed something that could transport families and their things in proper French style, and lo, the DS5 was born.
It's big, very big in fact, and its design doesn't attempt to hide it. If it were an uggo then that would be a problem, but it's not. It's basically Sophie Marceau on wheels. To see it is to love it, to sit in it is to want it. Badly.
The DS5's interior is inspired by the cockpit of a plane - every surface feels good to touch, there are switches and buttons all over the cabin (even on the roof, a la the Boeing 747) and the seats are modeled on watch straps. It's all very...big Citroën.
Citroën's use of a diesel hybrid power train should have made the DS5 pretty much perfect. It gets the car to 62 mph in 8.3 seconds and on to decent top speed. It does this while managing around 80 mpg and emitting less than 100g/km carbon dioxide. Sounds good, doesn't it?
But that's where it fell down a touch for me. The hybrid system, while very clever, is clunky and twinned to a gearbox which is, erm...less than refined. My favourite mode was EV because it meant the 'box was left off. It's a shame my eco driving isn't good enough to keep the batteries charged for too long.
All told, though, the DS5 is a very, very pretty car. It's the kind of motor that makes you want to take a second look as you walk away from it in the car park. And one that would look very good on your drive.