Road test: DS has premium brand image

    By David Murray

    The DS might look like a Citroen, but I don’t think the French car manufacturer likes you to call it a Citroen. DS Automobiles is a brand in its own right – in the same way that Infiniti is not be confused with Nissan.

    In any case, we should be getting used to new brands on our roads. Very soon there will be Apple cars and Google cars and even Dyson cars. Volvo has a new brand, called Polestar, so new names aplenty on the highway.

    DS is the premium brand of Groupe PSA (that’s Peugeot, Citroen) and actually rolled out as long ago as 2009. Like Citroen (dash, I’ve done it again) DS cars are quirky in looks and character. They have style – and might even make you smile.

    For instance, on the sides of the DS5 I drove recently, there’s a badge which appears to be on skew-whiff. At first, I thought it had been banged and knocked a bit, but that’s how it is supposed to look.

    The DS5 I tried was a Performance Line BlueHDi 180 EAT-6 6-speed Auto in smart cumulus grey. Top speed 137mph, and 0-62 seconds in 9.2 seconds. The turbocharged four-cylinder diesel was smooth and had plenty of grunt, although it appeared a little noisy at idling speed. The six-speed automatic transmission is refined and the overall driving experience pleasant rather than breath-taking.

    The interior certainly feels exclusive. With leather and cloth upholstery, a seven-inch colour touchscreen with DAB radio and Bluetooth, plus the now ubiquitous cruise control, keyless entry and parking sensors, the DS doesn’t skimp on kit.

    I was intrigued by the BlueHDi label. This is, in fact, diesel technology which dramatically reduces diesel engine emissions, cutting not only CO2 but the other harmful by-products of diesel combustion.

    This is more and more important for buyers of diesel cars. If you are going to invest in a diesel, I am assuming that you don’t just want 60mpg and the rest, you want to be loved by environmentalists you might be passing as they cycle to work. If you are sensitive to all the negativity about diesels, there is a petrol version which will give you nearly 50mpg and is only slightly slower.

    The DS5 version I drove is £34,650 on the road.