CONSIDER this a French transformation. It's not quite in the realm of Bruce Jenner's change to "Caitlin", but rather a move from economy into business class.
Citroen's badge has been banished, and the DS Automotive brand has become its own under the PSA Peugeot Citroen umbrella, aimed at being the beacon of design, refinement and dynamics.
The DS5 is the first of six new models, which carries a price tag of $56,990 plus on-roads.
Beautiful on the outside, it translates once you step inside. There are interesting shapes across the dash and small windows next to the windscreen which helps create an enlightening environment.
Our test machine was the beneficiary of the $2700 watchstrap leather trimmed seats in a radiant red, which helped take the cabin finish to another level. Sweeping lines across the dash look awesome, with splashes of chrome and silver against the black material and red leather offering a point of difference.
The seats are firm, but not uncomfortably so, and four adults can be accommodated as long as those in the front are thoughtful.
French quirkiness resonates, but thankfully a touch-screen has reduced some of the complexities of the previous model with far less buttons and dials.
Each of the three sunroof panels has its own electric cover, with large roof-mounted toggle switches, where you also find the controls for the driver head-up display.
One of the key issues is the lack of cupholders in the centre console, where large buttons to control the electric windows are housed (we'd like to see them relocated to the doors). You do get cupholders in the doors but they can't accommodate a bottle - an interesting move given this is the wagon and suitable for families.
On the road
Diesel power is the only option, and the DS5 proves more like a sheep in wolf's clothing.
When you get behind the flat-bottom steering wheel you expect a high level of performance, but the DS5 is more an all-rounder rather than adrenaline pumping machine.
It's quiet and refined in town and on the highway, but there is some turbo lag at take-off which can be frustrating if you are attempting to dart into traffic or make a quick manoeuvre across lanes.
The sprint time of 0-100km in 9.2 seconds is indicative of its subdued performance, and the steering can feel heavy by some driver standards, which can make parking a challenge.
A six-speed automatic transmission does a good job of shifting cogs intuitively, and the DS5 proves itself quite the grand tourer when up and running.
What do you get?
Items previously on the options list have been transferred to standard fare, and the DS5 comes with a 17.7cm colour touch-screen, digital radio, LED headlights and daytime running lamps, 18-inch alloys, six airbags, blind spot monitoring, heated front seats with electric lumbar adjustment and massage function, head-up display, automatic lights and wipers, three-part sun roof with electric blinds, cruise control and full bluetooth connectivity.
Given the price-tag and the DS pitch to compete in the high-end luxury realm, also worth a look are the petrol-powered BMW 320i Touring ($65,300), Audi A4 Avant TFSI ($58,500), or the diesel-powered Mercedes C200d Estate ($64,900) and the Volvo V60 D4 ($57,990).
With the design more akin to the modern shooting brake, the large boot and split-folding rear seats make the DS5 a useful family option. Dropping the seat back, we carted a surfboard, bike and other gear.
While the average fuel consumption claim is 4.5 litres for every 100km, we managed 6.3 during our test.
That's still pretty good going and thrifty motoring.
Capped price servicing adds peace of mind for ongoing maintenance, along with the six-year warranty.
The absence of decent cup and bottle holders is the primary bugbear, while the glovebox is purely a ruse, although probably aptly named, as that's about all which will fit inside it.
Stunning from all angles, the DS5 doesn't disappoint in the fashion realm. It means you don't have to sacrifice style for functionality.
The DS range is the French marque's move toward prestige territory.
With the DS5 it certainly doesn't disappoint in styling or cabin materials, it's quite the triumph, although there are a few areas on which to work.
High heels may well fall into the same category as the DS5, while they may not be honed for performance or comfort - they look spectacular.
What matters most
What we liked: Gorgeous styling inside and out, standard features.
What we'd like to see: Usable cupholders, door-mounted window controls, more firepower from the diesel.
Warranty and servicing: Six-year unlimited kilometre warranty with roadside assist, and six years capped price servicing at an average price of $869. Service schedules are annual or every 15,000km.
Model: Citroen DS5 D Sport.
Details: Five-door front-wheel drive sports wagon.
Engine: 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder turbo diesel generating maximum power of 133kW @ 3750rpm and peak torque of 400Nm @ 2000rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic.
Consumption: 4.5 litres/100km (combined average).
Performance: 9.2 seconds.
Bottom line plus on-roads: $56,990.