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OUR FLEET TEST DRIVE: Citroen DS5 Hybrid4 Dsport - 1st Report

Date: 13 August 2012   |   Author: Tristan Young

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Business cars rarely come with such good looks as those on the Citroen DS5, the latest addition to the our long-term fleet.

We've taken on the DS5 Hybrid4, which means we've not only got one of the best-looking fleet models going, but also one of the most efficient thanks to the diesel-electric powertrain - so you get a large family car with emissions of (in the case of our Dsport spec car) just 107g/km and an official fuel figure of 74.3mpg.

The idea behind the diesel-electric hybrid is that, as with the more common petrol-electric hybrids, you get clean electric power at city speeds (generated free when braking, and shown on a dashboard read-out [1]), but with diesel efficiency at higher speeds.

Unlike most petrol-electric hybrids, the Hybrid4 is set up so that the electric motor only drives the rear wheels, while the diesel engine only powers the front wheels (although it will also charge the batteries for the motor). This means the car is technically four-wheel drive, but the main reason for this arrangement is that it enables the system to be added to new models more easily than engineering the technology to work with the engine on the front wheels.

It sounds ideal. And the main point of this test is to find out if it works in real-world conditions.

I usually get within 10% of the official fuel figure for a car, so if I get close to 66.9mpg with the DS5 Hybrid4 over the next six months I will be a very happy driver. In theory, I make the right sort of journeys to suit the diesel hybrid: my usual mix of routes is either very short local trips to drop a child at nursery or long motorway hauls to meetings all over the UK.

To help with the task of maximising efficiency, the DS5 Hybrid4 allows the driver to select from four propulsion modes [2]: 'Auto' leaves everything up to the car, 'ZEV' gives 100% electric propulsion (assuming conditions allow), 'Sport' is for going quicker, and '4WD' guarantees all wheels are driven for maximum grip.

The Dsport spec is the range-topper, which means it's stuffed full of luxury items such as the colour head-up display [3]. However, the kit list means that Citroen's most expensive car, at £32,145, will be competing against far more expensive rivals. Over the next six months we'll see if wins that test of prestige-rivalling experience and ultra-impressive fuel figures.

Citroen DS5 Hybrid4 Dsport
Claimed combined
Our average
54.2mpg (after less
than 10 miles)
P11D price£32,145
Model price range£22,400-£32,145
CO2 (tax) 107g/km (12%)
BIK 20/40% per month£64/£128
Service interval20,000mls
Insurancegroup 28
Boot space (min/max)325/1145 litres
Engine size/power1997cc EV/200hp
Top speed/0-62mph131mph/8.3secs
Why we’re running itTo find out if diesel-electric
hybrids work for fleet users
in the real world
PositiveLooks stunning,
very well equipped
NegativeLarger wheels in Dsport
trim mean CO2 jumps
from 99 to 107g/km