As imaginatively turned as the exterior is, the stylised body of the DS 5 is barely a warm-up for the design exercise that has occurred within. Conventionally, a car’s interior feels limited not by the creativity of its designer, but by the budget of a manufacturer grimly eyeing the bottom line.

The DS 5 is one of only a handful of mainstream models that we can think of where aesthetic inventiveness has clearly been consciously encouraged, and seemingly without defaulting to the constraints of the purse strings.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Reversing is hindered by the high-set and narrow rear screen

This makes the resulting cabin – especially in the top-spec model – a convincing tribute to what Citroën is attempting to achieve with the DS range.

It is awash with thoughtful details, expensive features and clever material juxtapositions, but the most satisfying impression it conveys is the abiding notion that someone actually took the time to conceive, craft and situate each component exclusively for your appreciation. Consequently, everything, from the meaty gearknob to the electric window switches, is a pleasure to look at and use.

It’s hard not to be persuaded by the shrewd interlacing of form and function. So strong is the look and feel of the surroundings that they serve to almost completely paper over the interior’s negligible shortcomings.

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Foremost among these is a slight lack of legroom in the back and a serious lack of visibility all round. Despite split A-pillars, the DS 5’s layout impedes quick progress at junctions, and reversing is hindered by the high-set and narrow rear screen.

There are also minor issues on practicality in the front (such as the pointlessly huge cupholders and the paltry glovebox), but to highlight any of these too sharply would be to unfairly detract from the overall significance of Citroën’s achievement with this cabin.

There are three trim levels to choose from - Elegance, Performance Line and Prestige. Entry-level DS 5 models get 18in alloy wheels, front foglights, electrically adjustable, heated and folding wing mirrors, electric windows, cruise control, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, and keyless entry as standard on the outside, while inside there is dual-zone climate zone and Citroën's 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system complete with sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and smartphone integration.

Upgrade to Performance Line and you'll find 19in alloy wheels, front parking sensors, electrically adjustable driver's seat, a part-leather upholstery, LED headlights and scrolling indicators, while the range-topping Prestige model gets acoustic glazing on the windows, a reversing camera, blindspot monitoring system and ambient interior lighting.

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