Driving Report: Citroën DS5 Hybrid

Citroen DS5 Hybrid blog post

The time has come for hybrid drives in automobiles.

Many vehicle manufacturers are now convinced of this and now offer future-oriented drivers a large number of solutions and variations. If you want to choose a particularly avant-garde style, you will probably end up with the French manufacturer Citroën and its “DS line”. With the new DS line, Citroën is treading a route that should lead back to the automotive elegance of the past few days. And if you look around the interior, you quickly realize:

After the United States discontinued the space shuttle program, former engineers and space capsule designers are now accompanying the French manufacturer on its way back to the virtue of progressive design. 

Viva la “Space Shuttle DS5”

Paris? - We have a surprise here.  The workmanship is unusually good. The appearance of the material is unexpectedly good. The operation is, well - the operation, as expected for a Citroen with the first name DS, takes a little getting used to. On the other hand, one can write too good about Citroen: The many switches and buttons may be confusing at first, but when you drive for a long time you get the feeling that you have thought about it and some switches even feel really good.

And once you have operated the sun blinds with the three-finger grip, you feel as if you are about to manned space flight and on the verge of contesting the seat of the commander with Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

No warp drive, just hybrid!

Citroen offers the amazingly modern and unmistakably designed DS5 with 3 drive solutions, two turbo gasoline engines, two turbo diesels and the diesel hybrid that was tested, which is also a kind of all-wheel-drive version of the DS5 - but more on that later.

[= ””] Test car details:

  • Model Name: Citroën DS5 Hybrid4 Airdream
  • Equipment:  Sport Chic
  • Test car Price: 44.240€
  • Basic price series: 29.350€  (110PS Diesel)
  • displacement: 1.997 ccm³
  • Power: 200PS (Combined)
  • maximum speed: 211 km/h
  • Acceleration: 0-100: 8,6 seconds


Citroen DS5 Hybrid Front

To the large Citroën DS5 Hybrid gallery

  • That's what he wants to be: The spearhead of the hybrid automobile avant-garde.
  • He can do that: Amazed by unexpected skills and inventiveness.
  • He can not do that: Sort the aisles unnoticed.

Citroen DS5 Hybrid - taillight graphic

Design exterior:

“Viva la france!”

Because all cars look the same. Nonsense. With the DS5, Citroën is demonstrating that the French design department still has the ability to design attractive vehicles. And because of cheap. The DS5 looks valuable. Furthermore, from the front it looks powerful and at the same time sporty cuddly - it is reminiscent of the lovable knuckle nose of a bull terrier. From behind, the two chrome panels at the height of the exhaust look like the engine nozzles of the former NASA space shuttle shuttles. The broad shoulders carry the roof, which slopes slightly towards the back, and the window bands, which are darkened on the sides, look like a stocky athlete's hips.

DS5 hybrid headlights in detail

The chrome trim on the front fender, similar to a chrome shield, directs observers' glances from the martial LED daytime running lights up to the split A-pillar and into the vividly drawn side flank of the French-owned Space Shuttle.



Design & feel inside: 

“Que technology”

It is the workplace of a pilot. Experienced Airbus pilots already feel at home at the first seat rehearsal and anyone who has ever driven a lunar module ferry will not be faced with any special tasks in the DS5 Hybrid.

If, however, one changes from the dreariness of everyday automotive monotony over to the commander's chair of the DS5 pilot, a quick look at the manual is a clear aid on the way through the jungle of buttons. As a driver of a DS5, you should definitely have enthusiasm for buttons and switches. Anyone who has found their way will be able to deal with the quality of the interior in the next moment. A surprise for people with strong prejudices (like me). Because the dashboard of the cockpit is not only hyper-elegant and would also make an impression in a business jet, no, it is also of good haptic quality. Wait - dear French, I didn't expect that!

Fortunately for my drawer with the prejudices, I found points of criticism in the course of the test period. So in the DS5, not everything that is made of plastic is also art and some plastic of poor quality. A “three-finger grip” on the 3 controls for the roof window blinds compensates for this immediately.


Citroen DS5 hybrid headlights

Driving performance & driving experience: “Mon dieu”

Anyone who names an entire line of vehicles “Line DS” probably wants to build a bridge to the goddess. And yes, of course the old DS was a very special representative of automotive culture. But the times are over. Just impressing with avant-garde design no longer works today. Those who put themselves on display must also deliver. And at this point the hybrid version of the DS5 can score in a few categories:

First of all, the driving experience: Neither litter nor rumbling ruffians. The driving experience in the hybrid DS5 is mainly influenced by a very well-insulated diesel engine. Even at cruising speed 140 is in the DS5 with a pleasant noise level. That spares the nerves. At the same time, the 120kW of the 2 liter of diesel is quite sufficient to make a quick spaceflight. With 211 km / h in the lead, however, the benefits of the hybrid drive concept are reduced to absurdity. Because starting at 120 km / h, the 27kW strong electric engine says goodbye to its activity as a torque supplier for the rear axle and the diesel engine alone works hard.

Maneuvering the space glider in parking lots is particularly fun. Here the DS5 can drive completely electrically and thus becomes an ambassador for the fascination of a glider driven by an electric motor. Almost noiselessly and without jerks up to 50 km / h. Whoever curbs the accelerator and has selected the “ZEV mode” with the rotary switch can rush along almost 6 km without a diesel engine - that's enough for more than the docking maneuvers in the parking lot.

The cooperation between the diesel engine and the electric motor has a fundamentally refined effect, only negatively influenced by this unspeakable 6-stage gearbox that has been automated and is particularly noticeable through disharmony. A classic automatic transmission, a dual clutch transmission or a continuously variable transmission would have been the better choice here.

Cockpit DS5 Hybrid


everyday factor: “Module lunaire”

On the way to the next baguette dealer, the DS5 likes to overlook an entire motorway exit. Because the inside mirror is simply gigantic and its attachment to the windshield can not really impress with elegance and so the view to the right front is very limited. The double A-pillar also blocks the view of the curve from time to time. But - those who experience everyday life in the DS5 cannot be impressed by such small things. The spacey overall concept outshines everyday life too much. Who wants to be beautiful must suffer. That's what my grandma said.

Daily Stop & Go traffic becomes an oasis of calm in the DS5 Hybrid. Thanks to the very good noise insulation and the adequately dimensioned hybrid drive, long traffic jams through the city center can be covered almost entirely in electric mode. In this environment, the sophisticated hybrid French plays all its trump cards.

City fuel consumption of around the 4 liter, thanks to hybrid use, this becomes everyday.


Standard equipment: "Full house"

The Sport Chic Variant, Citroën presses everything to equipment in the DS5 that makes life more pleasant and comfortable. From the head-up display to the cornering light. SportChic also means that the pilot sits in a driver's seat with a massage function and can take a close look at the rear, which is rather difficult to see, with a camera when maneuvering backwards.

The leather upholstery with the name “Claudia” caused frowning looks from passengers, as did the interior decor with its alleged metal look. Anyone who knows me can testify that I am not a fashion professional. Whether something is fashionable or not - I don't really care. And so the Claudia leather upholstery and the overdrawn interior decor didn't bother me. The cockpit fittings design is impressive. Fine graphics, a high-resolution information monitor with many practical functions. So you can not only display the navigation system, but also the radio stations, the on-board computer or the performance graphics of the hybrid drive.

If you're stuck in traffic, you'll love the many gadgets aboard the great French space glider. Exciting 🙂


Citroen DS5 doors and trunk


Engine + Transmission:


2 liter four-cylinder diesel. A good worker. With 167PS, the EU6 unit is one of the typical representatives of the diesel engine group. In the DS5 Hybrid, the perfect noise insulation makes it a very pleasant companion. The forced marriage with the automated 6-speed transmission is less pleasant. Theoretically, the electric motor on the rear axle, with the help of its 37PS, should ensure barely noticeable shift changes. However, this only works with a consciously sensitive and carefully chosen driving style. The hoped-for discreet switching processes are managed with emphasis on reluctance. Anyone who demands its 167PS from the engine and wants to achieve the factory specification of 8,6 seconds in a 0 to 100 sprint will reap a violent shake of the head. Responsible for this is a 6-speed transmission, which in its function is similar to the SMART transmission, which is often and rightly scolded.

From a speed of 120 the electric motor is completely out of the running and anyone who accelerates on the autobahn in automatic mode should not hope for the grace of the automated transmission. It is helpful here to switch the automatic to manual mode and to reduce the switching operations to a minimum. Too bad. Because the diesel engine is efficient and well insulated in terms of noise, the electric motor is cleverly mounted on the rear axle - only the gearbox spoils the fun.


Hybrid system: "Diesel battery pack"

The acceptance of a hybrid system currently stands and still falls with the surcharge that the customer has to pay for it. Citroën combines the expensive technology of the electric motor and the nickel-metal-hydride battery with an equally expensive diesel engine. Compared to competitors in particular, you are taking a special path here - with the combination of economical diesel and clever electric drive, the balancing act between a celibate city carriage, which has rarely been achieved to date, (thanks to hybrid technology) and economical long-distance gliders (thanks to efficient diesel) succeed.

Citroën benefits at this point of belonging to the PSA Group. Thanks to the modular technology, the compact drive package consisting of battery, electric motor and control is also used in the Peugeot 508. So you can double the numbers and lower the price. So the current hope.

The solution to design the hybrid drive as a complete “axle unit” provides another advantage. Because with the electric motor on the rear axle and the diesel engine on the front axle, the hybrid becomes an all-wheel drive. The entire system can be influenced via a rotary switch. The automatic setting made the most sense in 90% of all cases. The selectable sport mode fits neither with the DS5 nor with the drive unit and only brings about noise and hectic pace. Best to ignore! And the all-wheel drive can be forced using a rotary switch - off into the snow 🙂


Citroen DS5 hybrid diesel engine

Entertainment system: "détournant ”

Citroën calls e-My Way the combination of a seven-inch monitor in 16: 9 format, with integrated Europe navigation, TMC, hands-free system and reversing camera. The sound experience can be described as “sufficient” - especially since I have little audiophile passion.

We liked the monitor, which convinced with good contrast values ​​despite the unchangeable installation position. The function of the monitor as a constant consumption monitor is much more entertaining. Thanks to a graphical structure that always shows the average consumption in 5 minute steps, one is educated to be a sustainable fuel skimp. Suddenly the traffic jams are fun, the hybrid share increases massively and suddenly you are only moving in the range of 0 to 2 liters of diesel consumption per 100 km. This is exactly the kind of “entertainment” I expect from a hybrid model!

Ds5 cockpit shifter

Lifestyle: "Oh oui"

“Citroën is only Saab in French”. As a friend told me during a tour in the DS5. Well, I think this assessment is quite a bit off. Especially the DS line of recent years deliberately chooses a way back to avant-garde and modern models. Away from the visually simple monotony of the French PSA group of the past years. (Citroën is said to have fans who have the legendary models of the past tattooed on their upper arms - in fact - I've already seen that.) 

With the DS5 Hybrid you can be seen anywhere. Only in front of a secondary school for parents' evening, I suspect no DS5 in the parking lot. Hence: "Full marks!"

DS5 hybrid face

The cost factor:"Oh non"

ui ui ui. Now it gets complicated. While the DS5 entry-level models with the 155PS turbo petrol engine or the 165PS diesel were still below the € 30.000 mark - the Hybrid4 draws at least € 37.540 from the buyer's bank account. In the driven and really necessary, because the SportChic equipment line is just right for the vehicle, even 44.240 € are due and as if that wasn't bad enough, the ADAC also certifies the large, sophisticated hybrid a proud loss in value.

But SportChic has to be simple - this is the only way to turn the Avantgard hybrid into a proud equipment king with bi-xenon headlights that bring the cornering lights and the high-beam assistant. Add to that the splendid cockpit roof with the 3 glass windows and the wonderful 3-finger handle for the blinds. And a keyless go system and the necessary parking beeper all around.


Short to:


Tüdelüüüüdülüü. Piiiep and Dong - the Citroën DS5 masters a wide range of annoying warning tones - less would have been more here! Especially in connection with the complicated start procedure, the whole range of warning tones can get on your nerves quickly.


Long-distance with much full throttle: 8 liter of diesel on 100km. Lots of city traffic with lots of hybrid options: 4-5 liters. Anyone who uses more than 5 liters of diesel fuel in their everyday life with the DS4 Hybrid7 will be wrong. You can certify the diesel hybrid variant of Citroën: really useful combined!

Start procedure:

A cramp. Press the brake, press the start / stop button, release the handbrake lever (electrically) and then move the small selector lever to A and whoever has not noticed whether the car is ready or not, repeat this procedure in different combinations, accompanied by the “Tüdeldüüü-Pieps-Dong” "Warning tone, several times.


After apparently ex-NASA designers were hired for the interior design at Citroën, I would like to see those responsible for the transmission development immediately hit the moon in return. I am a real fan of automatic transmissions - but this switch box, baptized EGS6, does not deserve the name “automatic”!

Citroen DS5 review

At the end...

A French-made car, for me? Formerly unthinkable. Too heavy weighed my prejudices. It was fitting that my job forced me to drive a Citroën. And what should I say? If this gearbox were not, I would immediately recommend the DS5 Hybrid4 as a modern family car for people with design needs and a desire for non-complicity.

Citroën is on the right track with the “DS Line”. Models with high demands on design and away from the monotonous French shoe boxes. In the current situation one can only wish that PSA comes through the crisis well and that Citroën finds its way back to the elegance of bygone eras. Chapeau for this DS5. Chapeau for the courage to give the DS5 to someone like me 😉

One can only wish the French space shuttle a safe journey and may it discover worlds and groups of buyers that a Citroën has never tracked down before ...

Finally, a big request to Citroën: Think about the qualities of the brand and build more models in the “DS line”!


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The Citroen DS5 Hybrid4 in review


 [= ””]
My test result is not for sale and was therefore created without the manufacturer's influence or control!
Nevertheless: Thanks to Citroën for the test vehicle.



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