You can rarely accuse Citroen of developing cars that do not demand a second glance. Some would say Citroen's instantly recognisable Gallic styling slant has reduced its level of wider European appeal in the past. At the same time, some other carmakers could be accused of a level of blandness or conservatism that is consciously induced into their designs so as not to alienate many middle-aged and older buyers.
While Citroen designers have tempered their designs somewhat, this French carmaker's styling remains distinctly the property of that marque. The latest to arrive is the new DS5 saloon and it joins the graceful C6, as my favourite Citroens. At your very first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a coupe, a grand touring, or even a sports estate.
But it is a saloon and the futuristically elegant Citroen DS5 conveys a promise of dynamic performance - a kind of solidness, power and strength associated with an international rugby number 8 crossed with the poise and speed expectation of a dynamic winger.
The dynamic profile of the new DS5 envelopes a compact and agile design. It delivers great handling and wonderful refinement, but as usual, my advice is to stay away from big wheels shod with very low profile tyres - go for higher profiles for comfort over the extra sporty look.
The resurrection of the famous DS badging across its range of cars (DS3 and DS4 are here already ) bridges Citroen's iconic heritage with what is demanded today by discerning premium car buyers. DS5 entry level prices kick-off at €32,500, but Citroen Ireland expects the majority of sales will be for a model pitched at around €35,300. There will also be a diesel hybrid engine on offer, but that will come in at a choice of €42,050 or €44,850.
The interior of the DS5 is a refreshing original. It is aviation-inspired and built to inspire the driver. With pilot-style overhead switches as in plane cockpits, the cabin blends ergonomic function with aesthetic appeal. Citroen has given great attention to detail and authentic premium materials ensure an immediate impression of quality and refinement. It could be accused of being a little quirky, but it is functional and really wonderful.
The driving position is great and the wonderful brown soft leather watch strap design clad seats on my test car are among the best I experienced, and are unique at this price level.
The family-sized DS5, which combines distinctive style with creative technology, saw off tough competition from already established models to take the best family car title from British-based Top Gear magazine earlier this year.
The new DS5 is unique, has distinctive styling, and and also introduces Citroen's diesel Hybrid4 technology to the market. More on this after a full test in the coming weeks.