Milton Keynes has a lot to answer for. The grid system of roads might have made America great, but it grates with many over here. However, once youíre used to it, and the myriad of roundabouts that the British just had to insert into the system, it works remarkably well, and makes getting around quick and easy. No, itís not the road system that is the issue I have with Milton Keynes. Instead itís the fact that itís home to Ikea, John Lewis and Costco, a combination that my wife finds irresistible. As well as being the second home of a shopaholic, my daughter is also moving into her first flat, something that apparently requires entirely new furniture. The DS therefore found itself in high demand as both my daily car and a weekend van.
However, while the DS 5 might have something of an estate silhouette, itís really just an oddly shaped hatchback. That glass area at the back swoops down surprisingly low, and the boot is smaller than you might imagine. That causes an issue when youíre trying to slide some Malm drawers in the back of the car ñ something we just couldnít achieve ñ but the good news is that the Stenstorp kitchen island and accompanying Ingolf chairs fit without any problem at all. Some serious Tetris-style effort is needed to fit everything in.
Only a rear bumper that protrudes some distance beyond the lip of the boot lets the side down, as it makes it worryingly easy to scrape heavy objects across the very rich Whisper Purple paintwork. An aluminium cover over the lip to protect that paintwork would certainly trump whatís there now, which is nothing ñ just paintwork.
Fully loaded, the ride and handling of the DS barely changes. That means that, once youíve found your way to the motorway, it remains mostly compliant and comfortable, as effortless a cruiser as it has been for the previous two months while in my care. However, itís Milton Keynes itself that reveals the shortcomings of the 5ís chassis. Roundabout after roundabout means thereís heavy braking, turning, swift changes of direction, then power. Itís a combination that the DS just doesnít like. On the brakes itís all fine, but switching directions leaves the heavy front end lumbering around, and the body rolling as it goes. The huge, but oddly flat-bottomed, steering wheel doesnít make it easier, the shape interfering as you twirl the wheel. Then, when youíre ready to accelerate out of the island, youíre left sitting there wondering why the gearbox insists on remaining in sixth gear, before it switches to second just as you press the throttle a little harder.
Itís incredible that a car can be so compliant at times, but so unwieldy at others, and itís not always clear which itís going to be. Living with the DS therefore becomes a slightly frustrating and tiring affair, but I might just be feeling that way after countless hours holed up in giant warehouses as I watch my credit card melt.
Date arrived: 15th June 2016
Mileage to date: 5,075
Fuel consumption: 64.2mpg (combined) 44.2mpg (on test)
Even on the fuel-sapping roads of Milton Keynes, it remains surprisingly economical.
The heated seats are almost entirely useless, taking an age to get just slightly warm.