27 Aug 2015 | 03.32 pm
Citroën Recasts DS5
Volte-face by France’s largest carmaker
27 Aug 2015 | 03.32 pm
The Citroën DS5’s tech and driving upgrades make it the car it should always have been, writes Olive Keogh.
The new boss at PSA Peugeot-Citroën, Carlos Tavares, took less than a year to return the heavily loss-making group to profit. His ‘Back in the Race’ turnaround plan involves halving the model line-up, reducing overcapacity and improving pricing. It also includes selling off subsidiaries in low-volume markets like Ireland. At the beginning of August it was announced that Citroën Motors Ireland was being sold to the UK-based IM group for an undisclosed sum.
This is a volte-face by France’s largest carmaker. Just six years ago it took back control of Citroën in Ireland from local company, Gallic Distributors. However, with a market share hovering around 1.5% for passenger cars, Ireland has become of casualty of the turnaround. PSA now reckons its interests would be better served by a distributor. Peugeot here is unaffected by the sale and in practice it should be business as usual at Citroën.
A little over a year ago, Citroën’s DS sub-brand (which is included in the Irish sale) became a standalone business unit within PSA. The aim is to turn DS into a luxury marque that will rival the German premium carmakers. That’s no small ambition and will take about two decades to achieve, the company says. DS will intensify its market presence over the next five years with the launch of six new models, including SUVs and large and medium saloon cars given the distinctive DS treatment.
Citroën has just launched the latest version of the DS5 and has taken a number of steps to address its problematic ride. In particular, changes to the damper system have made a substantial difference. The DS now feels a lot more like how a luxury crossover should feel – comfortable and pleasing to drive with a softness to the ride quality. The steering is still somewhat lacking in feel and one has to adjust to the compromised visibility, but overall the changes have worked really well.
Eagle-eyed car watchers will notice that there is a restyled front end with a DS badge in place of the traditional Citroën chevrons. Inside, the quirky cabin with its aeronautical theme retains its innovative appeal and the addition of a new colour touchscreen has done away with no less than 12 fiddly buttons on the dashboard and fascia. The new DS also features mirror screen technology that allows users to copy their smartphone’s content onto the car’s touchscreen.
There are two trim levels, Elegance and Prestige, and a choice of three Blue HDi diesel engines and a 4X4 hybrid drivetrain. The entry price for the range is €36,045. The DS5 comes with a weighty safety package and the latest version has added blind-spot monitoring to existing lane-departure warning, hill-start assist and stability control systems.
Intelligent traction control, a reversing camera and a head-up display are also standard, as are myriad creature comforts such as keyless entry, Bluetooth and dual-zone air conditioning. The DS5 is not found wanting when it comes to technical and comfort features, and with the upgrades to the running gear in place it is now the car it should always have been.
Model: Citroën DS5 Elegance
Engine: 1.5-litre Blue HDi
Safety: ABS, EBD, EBA, ESC, hill start assist
Consumption: Combined cycle 4l/100km
Verdict: A typically quirky Citroën take on an executive crossover