It’s amazing how a tiny detail can frustrate somebody so much. Iím still irritated by the lack of cupholders in the DS 5, but at least Iím no longer getting angry at the car for having nowhere to safely balance a chai mocha latte, extra hot, no foam. I do reserve a little bit of irritation for the person who made that decision though, and hope they find themselves in an implausible situation where a cupholder becomes an absolute necessity.
Iím hoping itís not the same person that designed the night panel option. As the dark winter evenings roll in, thereís far more time spent behind the wheel in the dark, complete with the myriad of lights blazing out towards me. It looks good, but can get a bit wearing on a long motorway journey. The DS does, however, have a Saab-like night panel option; a single button press turns off everything thatís superfluous to your immediate needs, and leaves you presented with just the analogue speedometer and, somewhat oddly, the gear indicator, as itís clearly important to know at all times what gear Iím in! The ambient lighting remains on, so thereís a very subtle glow around the cabin, but thereís no direct light to irritate the eyes as youíre trying to see whatís going on in the outside world.
It works nicely, making night time driving a breeze, right up until you do something radical like change the volume of the audio system. At that point the seven-inch infotainment screen lights up to confirm the change of volume, casting a bright light over the hitherto dark cabin, and then refuses to go out again. The only way of darkening the now bright screen is to switch off the night panel system, thereby illuminating every single light, dial and display in the cabin just as your eyes are nicely acclimatised to the dark, and then switch it all back off again by re-activating the night panel. Great!
Iíve been left unimpressed with the suspension this month, too. While the ride is settled enough on the motorway, venturing to some more demanding roads in the north revealed the shortcomings of the DSís ëdynamic hyper comfortí setup. There seems to be a disconnect between the springs and the dampers, meaning that itís surprisingly firm over bumps, but body control is relatively poor and the car is left lurching around. Hit bumps on a corner and it sends shudders through the entire chassis, shaking the steering wheel and each corner in turn. It therefore sits in a bizarre no manís land, being neither a luxury cruiser nor an agile sports car. It doesnít even work well as an urban runabout, falling short of excelling in any one area.
Itís that falling short of expectations that frustrates me most about the DS 5. In isolation, itís really not a bad car at all, and there is a lot to like about it. But in some areas it falls short of what you expect from a DS, and what its rivals provide.
Date arrived: 15th June 2016
Mileage to date: 5,743
Fuel consumption: 64.2 (combined) 44.4mpg (on test)
It’s still a striking car to look at, with those chrome ‘wings’ attracting a lot of attention.
Despite its failings, the night panel really does work well, when it works properly.