Catalogue of switchgear -Citreon DS5 1.6 Airdream review

By Steve Orme on Dec 4, 12 12:15 PM
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DECEMBER, once time for all the family to fight over The Catalogue. Mum and gran nosing through the frocks, the kids purring over the toys pages at the back and dad taking a research interest in the ladies' fundaments.

A young man could end up sadly disappointed basing his expectations of the female form on airbrushed pictures of support items from the Empire Stores range.

For boys of the 60s the back end pages were a wonderland of brave new world toys, at the front was a wonderland of fashion items on the drip and for dad just something to wonder about.

The space race was on, big time. Dr Who had met the Daleks and you could buy a replica suit which was really just a plastic cloth printed with a scary image and equipped with a sink plunger.

Better still was an electronics set which any partially capable lad could rig up into a permanent bank of flashing lights which would remain fully powered throughout the festive holiday. That was more than the national grid could promise.

I don't know if people still buy like this. I do know that toys now blur with communications hardware and entertainment systems. Who needs a Dalek table cloth when you can save the world on XBox?

Had someone told me I could have the interior of a Citroen DS5 for Christmas l963 In would not even have dreamt of asking for a new bike let alone Dr Jekyll's starter chemistry outfit.

Visually this is a car at a crossroads, part coupe, part estate and ever so slightly crossover. It is young, it is vibrant and if it was in a Christmas catalogue it would be at the racier end of the swimwear section.

Be certain, drive one of these and you are making a statement about yourself.

For the button pusher in you the DS5, this one was a 1.6 litre 110 HDi Airdream, is Hamleys crossed with Maplins.

Toggle switches sweep down the middle of the car and there is a classy easy to use instrument set up. You sit in the driver position cockpit style.

There's a lot of technology going on and if you were the sort of child happy with painting by numbers it's possibly too much.

Ever wanted to know how John Glenn felt? The answer's in here. Leaving out the butt- clenching sheer terror, of course

Citroen describe the DS5 as an example of 'French luxury'. Given that this is not a nation likely to waste money on things you can't eat or drink the comfort zone extends to a nice rosy glow at the pumps. Consumption is up there with a very small mouse. Expect silly numbers like 64mpg, assisted by a very sensitive stop-start set up, and 114g/km of gruby carbon with a £30 a year tax bill.

Quite clearly 110 horses is not going to scorch a line down anyone's front drive but 12 seconds to 62mph is fine for everyday use. There are quicker petrol and bigger diesel options.

This was the six-speed automatic with paddleshift change. Umm, a word here. Compact and pretty though the aircraft style gearshift is, it has no park mode, the electric parking brake cuts in when you switch off. The habit forms for slam it into reverse and then get annoyed when it won't start. Mind you, one of several guiding messages then comes up on the information screen. Gearchange wasn't the smoothest, either.

There is a lot of equipment, desireables like a reversing camera and luxuries such as a three-part sunroof. Really the only important extras are leather and dual function headlamps although you can upgrade the stereo.

The 1.6 Airdream is not cheap at £24,900 but it is different and it is economical to run. Part hatchback, part fashion statement and part Fireball XL5.

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