If the big DS was ever going to find a way into my heart, this was the week it was going to happen. Seven days on the road, most of it spent driving across the rolling hills and grasslands of the Cotswolds, taking in medieval villages and sweeping vistas as we went.
I cleared my mind and put aside all the irritations and frustrations. Even the cupholder issue (or, rather, the lack of a cupholder) is no longer a problem ñ the strange square pocket in the centre console thatís not big enough for a phone or even the car keys can accommodate a Costa coffee cup, albeit with a fair bit of squeezing and reshaping of the cup. It also needs a reassuring hand to keep it upright under acceleration, but it sort of works, kind of.
I fired the car up as if weíd never met before. It was to be our first date. Again. Pounding the motorway towards the south west, the DS 5 did what it does best. Itís a pleasant enough cruiser, with an engine that fades away to a quiet hum once itís been accelerated rather noisily up to speed. Itís comfortable enough too, although itís by no means a softly sprung luxury car that glides over imperfections. The infotainment system is easy enough to use as well, allowing me to tune into my DAB radio station of choice or listen to my own selection of music from my Bluetooth connected phone. I wonít go quite so far as to say itís enjoyable, but I do just begin to wonder why Iíve been complaining about this car for so long.
I turned off the motorway and headed into the countryside, and thatís where it all fell apart. Every bump crashed through the car, anything even remotely uneven from left to right causing the steering wheel to shudder in my hands. Once the front of the car had crossed each bump, I grimaced as I waited for the back end to catch up, as the inevitable sideways shimmy rattled its way through the entire chassis. Swift progress was possible, but tiresome; the huge steering wheel hindered rather than helped (sister brand Peugeotís tiny wheeled ëi-cockpití would be wonderful in this car) but ultimately the steering is somewhat vague anyway. Turning into corners therefore becomes something of a question of judgement, often requiring a second stab as the heavy front end doesnít quite follow the line expected. The six-speed automatic gearbox doesnít help much either, shuffling randomly between ratios, even mid-corner, as it struggles to figure out just whatís going on.
I get to the first hotel tired and defeated. I love what the DS brand wants to be (and the new DS 7
looks spectacularly good) and I adore having something thatís outside of the norm. I admire it as a piece of automotive art, but as a car itís just too compromised in too many areas to make sense.
Date arrived 15th June 2016
Fuel economy 64.2mpg (combined) 43.1mpg (on test)
There’s separate profiles available for different drivers, including custom radio presets, navigation instructions and even colours.
The automatic gearbox can get flummoxed, shifting gears when you really don’t want it to, leaving you floundering.