Monday – Head Banger

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I’m a modest 5ft 10ins. The DS5 is a family car, so why do I keep cracking my head on the side of the door opening when I step inside? It’s got to the point now where I duck down when I slip behind the wheel – although today I straightened up afterwards and immediately bumped my head on the centre roof console instead.

The Citroen is unusual in the fact that often, it is the driver who has the best seating position and the passengers miss out. The DS5 is fantastically comfortable for passengers but finding that perfect driving position remains a problem, even after four days of trying.

At least there is masses of space in the rear, with a drop down armrest in the middle of the back seat that helps give armchair-style relaxation. And the luggage space is huge, although you need to remove two parcel shelves to make the most of it.

Like the Hyundai Veloster, rear visibility is lacking. Our test car has a reversing camera and an audible alert but do try a rear parking manoeuvre before you open your wallet!

 

 

Friday – Space Craft

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Is this the coolest looking Citroen ever? Not only does the exterior styling look sensational but the interior is more like the cockpit of a spaceship.

We drove the DS5 to see the new George Clooney film Galaxy last night and the Citroen seemed to have such as many buttons and dials to play with as the International Space Station.

The HDi Sport model is just stuffed with technology and equipment. You need time on the driveway to understand everything that is going on here. I’m sure some technophobes would get in and hop straight back out again.

More on that later in the week but for now, just marvel at the styling of this exceptionally stylish family car. It leaves the Ford S-Max for dead in every department – apart from the lack of two extra seats in the boot, I suppose.

If I ever had to do the school run, this is the car I’d want to turn up in.

Friday – The Startling Truth

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Last night I travelled to Salisbury to interview the wonderfully charismatic scientist, Dame Wendy Hall.  Her team invented an internet system that pre-dated the web and we sat in her garden chatting until dusk. Waving goodbye, I squeezed past her Jaguar XF and started up the 2008.

As I looked back over my shoulder, I was startled to discover the roof ‘wave’ decoration cut into the headlining was illuminated brightly by LEDs in the dark! It’s quite the most bizarre design feature I’ve encountered in any car for years. Peugeot would call it a unique selling point but I would have preferred that part of my £17,245 to have been spent on a sat nav system instead.

Equally as startling but in a rather more appealing way was the fuel economy I achieved driving back from Salisbury. Car manufacturers make claims about fuel consumption that are impossible to match but without even trying I managed a quite incredible 68.8mpg!

This figure, of course, has now given me the incentive to go for my highest mpg ever – the magic 70mpg! I have driven on several fuel economy events in the past and been pleased with 50mpg but the 2008’s consumption was in normal conditions.

Which means I didn’t have to push the door mirrors in and take off the windscreen wipers to improve aerodynamics – or remove the seats to reduce weight!

Tuesday – Keep It Simple

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I’m not a huge fan of electronic power steering because it just doesn’t have the same ‘feel’ as a conventional set up. You lose some of the feedback between the road and the steering wheel, which is so important in a lively little car like the 208 GTi.

What it does ensure in the 208 is that the car is refined and comfortable at low speed – before you blip the accelerator and unleash 200bhp of road-going entertainment.

Then the electric power steering does kill some of the enjoyment but not so much as to prove a major disappointment. It’s that fine balance between refinement and thrills that every designer  of a hot hatchback must struggle with.

Make no mistake, Peugeot’s latest GTi is an absolute joy to drive on a winding A-road. It’s agile, nimble and very quick. However, lose the electronic power steering and it could be a legendary performer, just like the original 205 it reminds me so much of.

 

Sunday – Ministry of Sound

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Jeremy Don’t try this at home readers but there must have been at least one moment in your driving career when you have set off from a standstill with a door open?

Today I was in a mad rush to post some letters in the quietest village lane in Gloucestershire when a horse lorry appeared from nowhere behind me. I slammed the items in the postbox and, in a bid to prevent a delay, attempted to drive off in the Peugeot with the door still open.

Now, cars have warning noises for perfectly good reasons – think safety belt, boot open and parking sensors. However, the RXH has more driver alert sounds than a wayward space shuttle.

The safety belt warning is quite calm but insistent, the parking sensor chime nothing too offensive. Then you hear the ‘door left open’ blast and it makes you skip a heart beat. It’s the sort of wailing noise you imagine they sound when a nuclear reactor has gone in to meltdown…

It actually scared the hell out of me and I won’t make a habit of it. Of course, the solution is not to try and drive with you car door open – except the sound is so terrifying I almost fell out and under the horse lorry instead. I’m not sure which is worse…