QUICK DRIVE: Citroen DS5 HDI

In petrol form (click here to read the Road Test) the Citroen DS5 was a car that we here at OVERSTEER loved, despite its rather glaring flaws.

The biggest of those flaws were its inconsistent ride quality, dead steering and a typically French automatic transmission that was hooked up a a petrol engine that tried its best, but was constantly second-guessed by the mental transmission.

But we still loved it because it looked incredible, was brilliantly made and was a very special place to be in.

Now the diesel version has been unleashed on New Zealand shores and – joy of joys! – it actually fixes a few of the glaring flaws, without doing anything worse than the petrol!

While the inconsistent ride and vague steering remain irritants, the wonderfully strong 120kW/340Nm turbo diesel four-cylinder engine all but eliminates the transmissions oddities and brings an added dose of mid-range performance into the mix as well, despite taking 0.1 of a second longer to hit the speed limit.

While the diesel engine only has 5kW more than the petrol, it is the healthy chunk of torque – 100Nm – it adds to the petrol engine’s tally that is the hero here – by giving the transmission less reason to shift, it is far less irrational in its decisions and the big, fat lump of torque makes open road cruising far more pleasurable as well.

What doesn’t get fixed, however, is the annoyingly firm ride. While the DS line is supposedly Citroen’s “sporty” line, everything about the DS5 screams “quirky luxury” and the firm ride is consistently at odds with that.

Still, it certainly isn’t a deal-breaker, because the rest of the DS5 is simply superb. Stylish, handsome and well-equipped, the DS5 also comes with a healthy French disregard for ergonomics and logic that is equal parts irritating and charming.

With identical spec to its petrol counterpart the DS5 HDi costs an additional $3,000, but is most certainly the pick of the range.

Price: $62,990

Engine: 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder diesel

Power/torque: 120kW/340Nm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

0-100km/h: 9.8 seconds

Fuel consumption: 6.1L/100km

CO2 emissions: 158g/km

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