Citroën’s DS5 is a decade old

Wapcar Automotive News – South African consumers are no strangers to the comeback efforts of the glamorous French brand Citroën.

From a return in the early 2000s after a decades-long absence to a more recent resurgence after a lull, carmaker Gallic has struggled to get the traction it needs.

Of course, this always happens with this ilk’s alternative brands. The loyalty of the long-standing players in Germany and Japan, with their larger footprints and extensive market presence, is an unrealizable dream for the new Citroën managers, Stellantis.

Ten years ago, the brand’s fortunes looked good. The product offensive is certainly broader than it is today. And it includes compelling expressions of the DS sub-brand:

the powerful little DS3 hatchback, the futuristic DS4 and Citroen DS5 crossover, an attractive alternative to the usual executive package.

It’s hard to believe that the DS5 is 10 years old this year, launched in 2012. Let’s take a moment to appreciate how great it is. On the surface, France’s flagship is a fascinating one from every angle. This model is largely inspired by the 2005 C-Sport Lounge concept, penned by former design director Jean-Pierre Ploué. The bubble-shaped roof uses a lot of glass reminiscent of spaceship clichés, like the original DS for those who see with fresh eyes in the 1950s.

Generous chrome details, even incorporated into the design of the 18-inch wheels, add a touch of glitz and glamor without the frills. By 2022, almost all new vehicles will have a unique LED signature. The DS5 was one of the few machines with such a feature years ago. And then there’s the interior. An absolutely enchanting feast of craftsmanship and premium materials come together to make every journey a special occasion. Part of the thrill is the three-panel sunroof, with individual flaps for the occupants.

The switchgear has a sophisticated aluminum frame. I seem to remember burning my fingertips, getting into them after leaving my car parked in the sun. A small price to pay. Citroën also points out that the leather chosen for the interior is of Bavarian origin, with a very distinctive “watch strap” design in the central sections. You must choose red upholstery color.

Three possible engine choices:

The 1.6 liter turbocharged petrol engine is available in two types – 115 kW/240 Nm or 147 kW/275 Nm, the latter can be equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. The former is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, as well as the option of a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine (120 kW/340 Nm). Driving is at the front wheel.

But its blunt chassis has had to be criticized. This could be forgiven if the DS5 had the same comfortable ride quality as the classic DS, with its improved hydro-air suspension. That’s not the case with the DS5, which tends to shock occupants, especially if you opt for the 19-inch alloy option.

It’s the fly in a good ointment. Conveniences abound for buyers of the top-end Sport model, with things like a color display on the windshield and a rearview camera being part of the deal. The optional Club package adds lane departure warning, a Denon sound system and automatic high beams.

At the time, the range started at R344,900 and capped at R399,900. Looking back, it’s clear that Citroën has big ambitions. Consider that the BMW F30, launched in February 2012, has a base price of R363,052 (320i); with the 320d at R390,500. Overseas, the DS sub-brand has developed, now known as DS Automotive and marketed separately from Citroën, with a trend towards more premium. It is unlikely that our region will see the return of the acronym.

Today, you will have the opportunity to see a DS5 with your own eyes. I only saw two for sale on a popular classifieds website, the cheapest is R199,700 (147kW Sport); with 99,000 km on the clock. Just go straight and find DS3 Racing to complete your two car garage.

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