Motor Trend has taken it upon itself to pit the lauded 2013 Tesla Model S against the venerable 1956 Citroën DS-19 in the magazine's latest Head 2 Head video. In what realm do these two machines cross tracks? Host Jonny Lieberman makes a strong case for the fact that both cars represent the pinnacle of automotive innovation from their respective eras, but we're guessing he was really just looking for an excuse to spend a few days whirring around in a DS. Lieberman is an unabashed fan of all things Citroën, and the DS understandably sits at the top of that list.

Still, he would appear to give both cars a fair shake, lauding the Model S for its many innovations over its automotive peers while criticizing the DS for its lackluster powerplant. In the end, the victor of this particular Head 2 Head is no surprise. You can check it out in the video below for yourself.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      Boogaloo
      • 1 Year Ago
      I remember walking along with some friends back in the 50's when one of those came along the street. Never having seen anything like it we all started laughing and calling it a spaceship. Then it stopped and my Dad got out and picked us up and took us for a ride - talk about surprised! That car moved with him to Morrocco, Malta and onto Spain, and was still going strong into the 80's. Memories...
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great video. The DS was way ahead of it's time. I almost bought one years ago. The thing I remember most about my drive was the ride. I can't think of a car I have driven since that rides better.
      K.C.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I see more Tesla S models on the road in Southern California every day. They're beautiful as well as inspiring. There are also quite a number of DS21s and they look great on the road too.
      diffrunt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Went shopping for a DS in the 70's , learned the 4 banger had a "medical " history. later stumbled on an SM slight flood damage with the Maserati skipping 6 , w/ the 5' long timing chain that wrapped around the engine in the middle. It was an interesting experience. Amazing engineering , difficult to access work areas.
        Robin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @diffrunt
        Growing up, my dad had an SM (an early carburator one, so 4 tailpipes and an amazing growl!) -- what an amazing car...when it was running. That Maserati drivetrain and the hydraulics meant it was hard to maintain, but I will never, ever have a cooler car, no matter what I buy.
      Kei Jidosha
      • 1 Year Ago
      My aunt and uncle each had a DS. The ride was like an overstuffed couch that could fly. James May Talks about the Citroen DS; www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=6gpUHtRVBn4 Innovation wise, high praise for the Model S to be compared to.
      Koenigsegg
      • 1 Year Ago
      i wouldnt be caught dead in that citroen
        BG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Koenigsegg
        Fortunately, a crossover will more to your individual and unique tastes
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      The claim that the Citroen DS was "technically the most innovative car of the twentieth century ", is absurd ! It's styling was certainly futuristic, and it introduced some innovative technology (mostly of dubious merit). The Tesla Model S is a genuinely innovative, and far more important vehicle from every perspective, than the Citroen DS.
        Paul Ricketts
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        ...maybe you're too young to remember, but the DS was an exceptionally innovative car. It was even designed to minimize the damage to pedestrians.......AND in case you had a flat tire you could also drive it on three tires.......never had one or wanted one, but credit, where credit is due...............
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Paul Ricketts
          @ Paul Ricketts Nope, I was about 11 when I first saw a Citroen DS in 1957. Amazingly futuristic styling ! But what constitutes "innovation" ? To me it's technical improvement that become mainstream advancements in automotive progress, not forgotten gimmicks. Ransom Old's steering wheel, GM 1913 Cadillac self starter, the air-conditioned 1953 Chrysler Imperial (although Packard and Cadillac had tried), Edward Budd's of Philadelphia development of Unit construction (monocoque), Dodge Bros first all steel bodies, ABS brakes, Bendix Corporation's EFI system, (AMC, Chrysler), Volvo, Ford seat belts, Volvo padded dash (1960) , the list goes on and on... All of these are lasting innovations. Not just forgotten gimmicks.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Such a lot of Citroen fans, (or Tesla haters) ! Apart from the Citroen's looks, what were it's "innovations" ? The overly complicated, expensive to repair and very unreliable suspension system, has long since been abandoned, along with it's horrible old engine, and peculiar transmission system. The transmission system was a nightmare of unreliability and inferior to Borg-Warner and other manufacturers of that era. Brakes ? Disc brakes are not a French invention. The Citroen DS was an early adopter of Disc brakes, but by no means unique.
          David J. Bernstein
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          The suspension of the DS was complicated but far from unreliable. Also, the semi-automatic transmission of the DS enjoyed good reliability. The various 4-cylinder engines available on the DS might have been underpowered, but they weren't "crappy". There was simply no space under the hood for an inline-6 motor or even a V6. The DS was expensive to maintain implying that the costs of spare parts and service were high. High maintenance costs doesn't mean the car is unreliable. The Citroen DS is widely acknowledged as being a highly innovative car in regards to design, technology and philosophy. You keep going on about "innovation" and then slam the DS. The hydropneumatic suspension WAS innovation and it's not been phased out. In fact the same suspension system from the DS went on to be used in the SM, CX and XM - with constant improvements to it. It's currently being used in the C5 and was used in the C6 and according to owner reports the system is very reliable. It needs a mineral oil change every 200,000 km. For maximum comfort and ride quality, that's a very small price to pay.
      Andre Neves
      • 1 Year Ago
      I refuse to watch anymore of their videos featuring that goofy flanel-wearing hipster asshat.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      PeterScott
      • 1 Year Ago
      Most cars from 1956 could still drive on the road today and the same pace of today. That isn't unique to the DS. It is also ridiculous to compare 56 years ago to today and then compare again to 56 years prior to that (112 years ago). Do they same for airplanes, telephones, television, anything technology related. 112 years ago and technology had barely gotten off the ground in any arena. The DS was an innovative car, largely in the use of Hydraulics (suspension, steering, brakes) but these were incremental and didn't really change things fundamentally. Hydraulic brakes were in the majority of cars by the 1940's, power steering was in many cars in the 1950s as well. The Model S a car that actually changes the fundamentals completely. It doesn't have an internal combustion engine. To me that is bigger innovation. As far squabbling nitwits playing politics. We could invent clean limitless fusion power today and if the government funded the research, the same politic playing nitwits would be against it.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PeterScott
        [blocked]
      Lachmund
      • 1 Year Ago
      great comparison. both cars are amzingly looking and technologically stellar. kudos for giving the win to the citroen though. great work motortrend, i really like what you do.
      H.E. Pennypacker
      • 1 Year Ago
      one huge difference between the ds and the s is that electric car manufacturers seem to have to make their cars as non-threatening and everyday car-like as possible to the buying public. they can't push the envelope too much and alienate people. on the other hand the ds was trying to design for the future.
        BG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @H.E. Pennypacker
        You mean all those crossovers with bluetooth and ever-bigger wheels aren't pushing the envelope?
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