The Peugeot Sport 208 GTi has a crazy paintjob but don’t let that put you off…


When Peugeot launched the sell-out 208 GTi 30th Anniversary special edition it seemed inevitable that a more permanent, hot hatchback cut from the same cloth would eventually join the line-up.

And here it is – the Peugeot Sport 208 GTi. A close relation to the 30th model, it’s turned a lukewarm city runabout into something rather special.

Thanks to sports tuned steering and suspension, 18-inch Michelins and other detailing, the new model looks every inch the part. We’ll discuss the paintjob tomorrow though!

Tweaks to the 1.6 engine mean power is up to 205hp from the 197hp in the 30th – plus this Gti reaches the very latest Euro 6 emission standards.

Happy to pay £22k for the pleasure? More tomorrow…

The Citroen DS has everything – except a decent driving experience


A beautiful cabin, chic looks – what’s not to like about the DS5? Well, this is a 5-door hatchback that represents a break from the norm. It definitely has a feel good factor.

The problem with the DS5 is that it simply lacks driving experience. The drive is akin to a people-carrier – boat-like and unispiring.

The ride is also too harsh for what is being billed as an executive car and the steering offers nothing, no precision or accuracy, especially on a winding road when you want to push on.

You have to praise Citroen for creating the DS in the first place. It’s a brave move in a world of generic cars that blend into the crowd.

If only the driving experience was better we’d all be going DS.



The Citroen DS5 has THREE sunroofs – what’s that all about?


My father’s Citroen CX famously came equipped with a self-righting steering wheel. So, if you let go coming out of a corner, the saloon would change trajectory at sphincter clenching speed.

My old man loved that motor – partly because it was quirky and very different to the countlss Ford Granadas and Vauxhall Senators clogging up the executive car park.

While I thought the rotating ball speedo was kind of cool, I’m not sure some of the oddball features of the DS5 are that necessary. The squared off steering wheel is a little too square for my liking – unlike that found in an Audi TT for example.

And why can’t the DS come equipped with a panoramic sunroof, instead of three, separate roofs? Weird.

There’s also the question of the ‘handbrake off’ alarm. If you step out of the Citroen when it is stationary on a level service, without applying the handbrake, the alarm sounds like an impending nuclear attack.

I’m not sure BMW, Audi, Mercedes drivers could cope with that. Which may not be a bad thing after all…

Wide-eyed and speechless – the Citroen DS5 is crazy frugal for a large car


Whatever you think of the DS5 styling I can guarantee the fuel economy will leave you wide-eyed and speechless.

Now, we all know that the ‘official’ fuel economy figures for any car aren’t actually achievable in real life. But the Citroen is genuinely quite remarkable at sipping its way through a tank of diesel.

I’m averaging almost 50mpg – despite heavy use of the right foot. Official figures claim a crazy 70+mpg. I was never expecting that but the DS5 is a large car and I can’t believe how well it’s doing.

On a drive back from London the computer claimed I had 450 miles left in the tank. Today, driving at a more conservation rate across the Cotswolds, it’s back up to 577 miles!

My father used to keep a record of every penny he spent on fuel. How much went in the tank and what it cost. I’m not sure any of us are as fastidious in our book keeping these days but he’d had been seriously impressed with the turbodiesel DS5…

Is it a French thing? Wacky cars are great but I’m not sure what the Citroen DS5 actually is


Is it a French thing? I’m not really sure what I should call the DS5. You could put forward an argument that the funky Citroen is a low-roofed hatchback, a very roomy coupe, or even a modest estate.

If you can remember the Renault Avantime crossover, or the oddball Citroen C3 Pluriel – which Citroen touted as ‘five cars in one’ – then you might understand why only the French seem to have a flavour for doing this.

Although the DS5 stands tall, there is a remarkable lack of headroom in the front seats, if you are 6ft or over. The twin front sunroofs in our top spec car, plus the big one over the back seats, help to create a more spacious feel but the reality is you might feel a little cramped up front.

There is, however, a massive boot and tons of legroom. It’s a bit of a conundrum the DS5. I like it but I just wonder if the average buyer will have a particular style of car in mind and discover that the Citroen, for all its versatility, doesn’t do one job class-leadingly well…

The C-word is banned with new versions of the DS5


The DS5 started with a Citroen badge on the grille but ever since the upmarket five-seater was given a facelift in the summer the C-word has been banished.

Just why Citroen don’t want the DS to be associated with the brand is a bit of a mystery. After all, the French manufacturer has a long traditional of building slightly off-the-wall cars.

It worked for Toyota when they launched Lexus and, perhaps to a lesser extent, when Nissan added the luxury Infiniti to their roster. And so the DS brand is born – or reborn.

The DS5 certainly feels nothing like any other Citroen. Sitting inside the cabin is more first class than economy, more retro cool than everyday drive.

The next step is reading the user manual because I’ve never seen so many buttons and dials splattered across the dashboard and even across the roof…

Too cool for school? We test drive the latest Citroen DS5


You wouldn’t buy a DS 5 for its gripping performance and dynamic drive. This roomy five-door doesn’t cut it as a driver’s car but wins hands down for head turning looks and a certain retro Gallic style.

Compared to rivals like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C Class, the DS is very pretty indeed. It’s the least exciting of the trio to drive but the trade off is you will enjoy seeing it parked on the driveway day after day after day.

Citroen facelifted the DS 5 back in the summer, with new headlight clusters and that big DS badge in the middle of the grille.

There are now just two trim levels, Elegance and Prestige, plus a range of diesel and petrol engines, including a diesel-electric hybrid too.

Our mid-range 150 HDi comes between the entry level 120 and the 180bhp versions. None of them are quick but in return it’s blessed with amazing economy and low emissions.

Unconventional and slightly oddball, the DS 5 will give us plenty to ponder over in the week ahead…

Subaru WRX tweaks for 2016. New audio system but comedy spoiler stays


If you’re stashing cash to buy a WRX STI the good news is that 2016 model will feature an all-new audio system, just like the one fitted in the brilliant Outback.

It has to be a massive improvement on the current unit which sounds only slightly better than my iPhone. It really doesn’t match the snorting performance of the car and leaves a lot to be desired.

Unfortunately, that whopping spoiler will remain standard fit and not an option. Subaru has pointed out that in Japan, there is an S4 version which is joyfully wingless. For some reason, you can’t but it here. Hmmm…

I truly wish the WRX had moved me like the original, way back in the last century. Perhaps I was looking forward to driving it a little too much, perhaps I should be more careful about what I wish for.

Another reason might be that I’m an old git now. I like my fixtures and fittings, I don’t just want to go fast, I want to enjoy the journey too…

The Subaru WRX has an old school charisma but has been left behind by better rivals


If you want to drive back to the future, the WRX is waiting for you at your nearest Subaru dealership. However, that also means living with a poor quality interior, seriously harsh ride and that ridiculous spoiler.

The WRX is great fun to drive, although you need to concentrate to get the best from that flat four 2.5-litre engine. It’s a dog around town but is a load more fun on the open road, with four-wheel drive and a manually adjustable diff lock.

But there is certain old school, charismatic charm about the Scooby, for all its faults. Just like the Morgan Plus 8 we tested in the summer, you can forgive some of the bad stuff because the car is entertaining to drive.

Perhaps more so than the more refined Golf R, or the BMW 135, simply because it will take many of us back to an era when you actually had to ‘drive’ a car, rather than be driven by gizmos and gadgets.

Would I buy one? No, not unless I had my own rally stage or owned half of Wales.



The WRX is a great car stuck in the bad hair days of the 1990s…


I’d hate you to think that with the passage of years I’d fallen out of love with the Subaru WRX. The car that won everything in rallying during the 1990s was the motor every journalist wanted to test.

But that was in the last century and we all grow up. Our lives change, we ask more of our cars and the things that mattered then – performance, outspoken looks, spoilers – don’t matter quite so much now.

We’ve all seen the years pass but the WRX doesn’t seem to have kept pace. It’s still stuck in the 1990s with bad music, funny haircuts and a pre Internet outlook on life.

Of course, if you want a full-on, balls out ride down memory lane, the Subaru can really turn up the heat. It’s just that the rest of us might prefer something a little more civilised, like a Golf R or BMW 135…