The £25k DS 3 Performance – you’re having a laugh, Citroen…

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember the Peugeot 205 GTI. It was the only serious rival to the Golf GTI back in the day – cheaper fit out but tremendous fun on Saturday afternoon dash in the country.

Yesterday I took the DS 3 Performance to Goodwood Festival of Speed. Apart from the usual A27 snarl up and speed camera frenzy, there was limited chance to give the accelerator a tickle.

When I did, what I soon discovered is that the Performance is very much in the same mould as the 205 GTI. It’s a buzz-bomb of a hatch that demands to be driven hard.

The six-speed box encourages you to flick through the ratios – and you will soon be making changes like a rally driver. Well, almost. 205bhp in a car this size is quite a handful.

Issues? Well, this is a three-door and access to the rear seat is difficult, not helped by the heavyweight front seat backs. Surely Citroen could have fitted a more user-friendly system?

And then there’s the trim. Did the French have a warehouse full of leftovers from the 1980s? Cheap, nasty and nearly all the cubby spaces are useless. There’s nowhere to keep a small bottle of water in place on a fast corner.

£24K Citroen? You’re having a laugh, aren’t you?

Citroen DS 3 Performance – £25k for a tiny hot hatch?

You know a car is going to be a handful when every alloy wheel is scuffed on delivery. I imagine the boys and girls at Evo have been having difficulty keeping it in a straight line.

I’m already having difficulty understanding why the DS 3 Performance costs so much. True, it’s equipped with Brembo brakes, LED rear lights and those bruised 18-inch alloys.

But the interior trim is cloth and there’s nothing quality about the rest of the trim. Nothing to suggest it’s a cut above the Mini Cooper S anyway.

With the extra metallic paint and GT Pack, it is just shy of £25k! Well, let’s hope it drives good…

The Citroen C5 isn’t endearing enough to be likeable


My father’s Citroen CX was born in the 1980s and is still one of the quirkiest cars I’ve ever driven.

You may remember the ‘spinning ball’ speedometer, self-centering steering wheel and hydropneumatic suspension system that ironed out every bump but made handling a challenge.

I’d like to say the C5 was an unusual prospect too – after all, it does have a supremely comfortable ride and a fixed centre to the steering wheel that  doesn’t rotate when turned. Weird.

However, this big Citroen lacks anything that could be labelled endearing. It’s well past its sell-by date and does nothing to promote the qualities of many of Citroen’s other fine vehicles.

I like driving down memory lane – but £24,000 on a car that essentially hasn’t changed since 2008 is a bit too rich for me.


Any Germanness qualities about the Citroen C5 have been overtaken by better rivals



I’ve been looking for hints of Germanness about the C5 over the Bank Holiday weekend. Citroen wanted to show the car was based on such principles when it was launched eight years ago.

Unfortunately, time hasn’t been kind to this Mondeo-sized saloon. Unlike German manufactured machines, the C5 has stood still and is now urgently in need of a replacement.

The quality that sparkled at launch in 2008 has been overwhelmed by better specced, better driving rivals from manufacturers across Europe.

Slow, ponderous and lacking in charisma, I rather wonder how many Citroen actually sell here in the UK on an annual basis…

The Citroen C5 – perfect for blending into the background



If I was going to do a bank job then I would choose the Citroen C5 as my getaway car. Why? Because nobody would see me in it.

If you want to remain incognito, this faceless, under-styled saloon is the perfect match. It disappears into the background like an extra in an epic movie.

It’s difficult to like the C5 simply because it has nothing of any consequence about it.

C5 owners will tell you that it’s super comfortable (‘rides on air’ is a particular favourite quote), sips diesel and is very roomy in the back, with a large boot to match.

I think it’s my Tupperware Car of The Year. Immensely practical but dull. Perfect for people who like caravans and keep a record of their fuel consumption…

Humdinger or humdrum? The ageing Citroen C5…


Let’s get one thing clear from the start. The C5 is long overdue a major overhaul. It’s been around for eight years and, quite frankly, is starting to look it’s age.

Compared to a top spec Mondeo, it’s nowhere in sight. The big Citroen saloon may have been a minor hit in 2008 but now it’s like an 80s pop star – living off former glory.

First impressions? Well, the C5 is disappointingly dull to look at. And that’s from the outside and the inside. It’s totally unremarkable, especially in our test car silver. Yikes!

Apart from a funky, fixed steering wheel loaded with a mass of buttons – more on that in the days ahead – it’s all a bit spartan. Citroen would say uncluttered but the bonkers steering wheel blows that argument out of the water.

Let’s hope there’s more to this car than meets the eye…

The Citroen DS has everything – except a decent driving experience


A beautiful cabin, chic looks – what’s not to like about the DS5? Well, this is a 5-door hatchback that represents a break from the norm. It definitely has a feel good factor.

The problem with the DS5 is that it simply lacks driving experience. The drive is akin to a people-carrier – boat-like and unispiring.

The ride is also too harsh for what is being billed as an executive car and the steering offers nothing, no precision or accuracy, especially on a winding road when you want to push on.

You have to praise Citroen for creating the DS in the first place. It’s a brave move in a world of generic cars that blend into the crowd.

If only the driving experience was better we’d all be going DS.



The Citroen DS5 has THREE sunroofs – what’s that all about?


My father’s Citroen CX famously came equipped with a self-righting steering wheel. So, if you let go coming out of a corner, the saloon would change trajectory at sphincter clenching speed.

My old man loved that motor – partly because it was quirky and very different to the countlss Ford Granadas and Vauxhall Senators clogging up the executive car park.

While I thought the rotating ball speedo was kind of cool, I’m not sure some of the oddball features of the DS5 are that necessary. The squared off steering wheel is a little too square for my liking – unlike that found in an Audi TT for example.

And why can’t the DS come equipped with a panoramic sunroof, instead of three, separate roofs? Weird.

There’s also the question of the ‘handbrake off’ alarm. If you step out of the Citroen when it is stationary on a level service, without applying the handbrake, the alarm sounds like an impending nuclear attack.

I’m not sure BMW, Audi, Mercedes drivers could cope with that. Which may not be a bad thing after all…

Wide-eyed and speechless – the Citroen DS5 is crazy frugal for a large car


Whatever you think of the DS5 styling I can guarantee the fuel economy will leave you wide-eyed and speechless.

Now, we all know that the ‘official’ fuel economy figures for any car aren’t actually achievable in real life. But the Citroen is genuinely quite remarkable at sipping its way through a tank of diesel.

I’m averaging almost 50mpg – despite heavy use of the right foot. Official figures claim a crazy 70+mpg. I was never expecting that but the DS5 is a large car and I can’t believe how well it’s doing.

On a drive back from London the computer claimed I had 450 miles left in the tank. Today, driving at a more conservation rate across the Cotswolds, it’s back up to 577 miles!

My father used to keep a record of every penny he spent on fuel. How much went in the tank and what it cost. I’m not sure any of us are as fastidious in our book keeping these days but he’d had been seriously impressed with the turbodiesel DS5…

Is it a French thing? Wacky cars are great but I’m not sure what the Citroen DS5 actually is


Is it a French thing? I’m not really sure what I should call the DS5. You could put forward an argument that the funky Citroen is a low-roofed hatchback, a very roomy coupe, or even a modest estate.

If you can remember the Renault Avantime crossover, or the oddball Citroen C3 Pluriel – which Citroen touted as ‘five cars in one’ – then you might understand why only the French seem to have a flavour for doing this.

Although the DS5 stands tall, there is a remarkable lack of headroom in the front seats, if you are 6ft or over. The twin front sunroofs in our top spec car, plus the big one over the back seats, help to create a more spacious feel but the reality is you might feel a little cramped up front.

There is, however, a massive boot and tons of legroom. It’s a bit of a conundrum the DS5. I like it but I just wonder if the average buyer will have a particular style of car in mind and discover that the Citroen, for all its versatility, doesn’t do one job class-leadingly well…