I think itís fair to say that Iíve not been entirely kind to the DS 5 in the five months Iíve now been running it, as thereís a long list of details that frustrate and irritate. However, there is a lot to like, so itís about time that I redressed the balance and talked about the bits that make me smile.
The grin starts when you first see the car. Itís a difficult one to figure out initially ñ is it a large hatchback, a small luxury car, an estate, perhaps even a shooting brake? Stylistically, it doesnít conform to any standard definition which, by default, makes it an interesting car. That in turn makes it immediately more appealing than most other generic saloons and hatchbacks. Through regular use it becomes clear that, despite what ambitions DS might have for the car, itís a relatively conventional hatchback. Thereís a decent amount of space available ñ 468 litres versus just 430 litres in my previous
Volvo V60 Cross Country. The seats fold down easily, leaving a cavernous load bay that still edges out the Volvo estate.
The styling is certainly more distinctive than most cars on the road, turning a surprising number of heads around town as the chrome ësabresí flow from the headlights towards the windscreen. That continues inside, where thereís an initial wow factor thanks to the glorious watchstrap leather that wraps the seats. Yes it costs extra, but the attention to detail might just be worth the £1,390 it costs. It doesnít add any extra comfort, which might well change your opinion, but it matches the aircraft-inspired interior design nicely.
Alright, itís not exactly a replica of the important end of an Airbus A320, but thereís something very satisfying about having a panel of switches above your head. The switches donít actually do a great deal beyond sliding the sunroof blinds back and forth, but the fact they even exist is a reason to smile. The metal detailing on the steering wheel carries the theme forward, with three digital screens housing the important dials and information ahead. It creates a driver-focussed environment that doesn’t put passengers at a disadvantage.
Alright, rear passengers are a tad tight for legroom, but theyíre transported in comfort, mostly. Iíve written about the variable ride quality, but the DS 5 can be a great bit of kit to hustle down a motorway. The gear changes are smooth, the engine fades away at cruising speed, and thereís little in the way of wind noise.
I pick fault in the car as I want things to be as good as they can be, and where things fall short, I want to encourage improvement, but Iím the first to admit that something that irritates me might not be an issue for others. If youíve read my rants over the last few months you might be thinking that this big DS is awful, but the truth is itís pretty good. Maybe not quite as good as some of the competition, but it might just have enough style and presence for buyers to overlook some of its shortcomings.
Date arrived: 15th June 2016
Fuel economy: 64.2mpg (combined) 43.9mpg (on test)
I still get a fizz of excitement when I reach up and operate the roof-mounted switches.
Economy is suffering, with each month seeing it drop. 43.9mpg isn’t brilliant.