By Samuel Ee
CITROËN calls the DS5 an "aerodynamic sculpture" and even if it may be an exaggeration, it is difficult to disagree that some very striking styling is involved here.
The DS5 is part of the French manufacturer's DS line, a stand-alone range of premium, design-driven models based on more conventional Citroën cars. Like the DS4 before it, the DS5 has the same radical lines and proportions, only bigger.
With a long roof and big wheels, it looks more like a compact crossover than the usual five-door hatchback. Some of its more interesting design cues include the oversized air intakes, rippled flanks and steeply raked windshield.
But it is in the cabin where its design will either wow or overwhelm, depending on your preference. The dashboard and centre console are festooned with buttons, switches and knobs.
Some are shaped and arranged like the scales of a reptile but they are not randomly placed - there is some logic to it.
The ones on the upper centre console are for the audio and ventilation, while those on the lower level are for the windows and locks, plus a control knob to work the centre display for the navigation and car set-up, among other things.
Above, there are more switches in the aviation-inspired upper console. One set of switches is for the sunshades of the three moonroofs - a small one above each front seat, and a bigger one for the rear bench.
Another set of switches is for the head-up display, a transparent piece of perspex that pops up in front of the steering wheel with the image of the digital speedometer.
The upper centre console itself is practical too, with two long and slim storage compartments to store sunglasses.
Add the patchwork "watchstrap" seat upholstery and what you have is a very busy-looking cabin with a plethora of details and elements. But get past that and the DS5 is actually a rather competent car.
The seats have a slightly higher hip-point, so ingress and egress are easy.
There is a generous 2,727 mm wheelbase but rear legroom is only adequate because of the car's long front end and relatively deep boot.
But at least those in the back seat get to open the rear windows, unlike in the DS4.
The flat-bottomed steering wheel may be wide but the steering itself is accurate with a sufficient feedback.
Under the DS5's hood is Citroën's familiar 1.6-litre turbocharged engine but in a welcome change, it is mated to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission and not the choppy EGS clutchless manual gearbox found in the DS4.
This drivetrain combo is pleasantly enthusiastic and although it won't power the 1,420 kg DS5 from the lights like a sports car, it displays excellent elasticity for pretty effortless overtaking.
Handling is also decent, thanks to the firm suspension which still manages to provide for a generally supple ride, although a pothole or patch of irregular asphalt can unsettle it slightly.
So while it is obvious that the Citroën DS5 has lots of style, thankfully, there is a fair bit of substance too.
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