There may be nothing startlingly innovatory about the latest DS 3 (don’t call it a Citroen) and the new Peugeot 2008 GT Line; but they may mark an important and historic turning point for the PSA group.
Neil Lyndon looks forward to a bright future with Peugeot, Citroen and DS cars.
As far as new developments go in the DS 3, Cxtxxn says: “We have removed all Citroen branding from the car, so there is only DS branding.
The car also comes with the new Mirror Link and Apple Car Play systems which allow you to connect your iPhone or Android to the main screen. We have also added some new upholstery to the cars.”
Not exactly setting the heather on fire, then. In sum, the DS 3 remains a stylish and attractive rival to the Mini as a single person’s or young couple’s city get about but now it’s got a few more gizmos to brag about and a few less embarrassing badges to hide. No longer do you need to breathe the name Citroen when you tell them you’ve got a DS 3.
As for the supermini crossover 2008 GT Line, every one of its many virtues is low-key. In common with many contemporary crossovers, it has some of the outward show of the off-roader – reinforced wheel arches and sill and steel underbody plate – but lacks four-wheel-drive (though Peugeot’s Grip Control system, operated by a knob by the gear lever, is probably enough to overcome most slippery surfaces).
It’s pretty, comfortable, quiet and reasonably nippy. We took it on a family holiday and it easily swallowed the cases and bags for two adults and two children. It would be a terrific rental car. It turns in neatly on country roads and runs quietly and economically in the very high ratio sixth gear on motorways. The satnav is a nightmare (as it has been on Peugeots for years) but the clarity and unfussiness of the information/audio lay-out is a treat.
The price range £13,970-£20,920 is dead on the average for this class of car.
Both the DS3 and the 2008 GT Line might, therefore, be all a bit ho-hum but for one staggering fact: sound evidence suggests they might be well-made and give reasonable satisfaction to their owners. This is a revelation.
For the 25+ years that I have been writing about cars, it has been axiomatic among people who know about cars that only a schmuck would buy anything on four wheels that had been made in France. As a national newspaper columnist, I routinely received complaints by the dozen from readers who had been driven to distraction by the fallibilities of their Renault/Citroen/ Peugeot. Every time a new model came out, the representatives of those companies would promise that the bad days were over and that a golden new future was opening in which their cars would rival Japanese and Korean manufacturers for reliability. Then you’d borrow one for a week and, within days, it wouldn’t start. Or the entire electrical system packed up. Or a sliding roof got stuck half open.
When my son reached the age of 18, his car-loving godfather gave him a word of advice. “Germans make cars,” he said. “The French make food and wine. The Italians make clothes. It’s essential for your future happiness and well-being that you never get this mixed up.”
Now sit down and make sure you don’t faint: according to the latest J.D. ratings for owners’ experiences of actually owning a car, Peugeot stand fifth out of all manufacturers. That’s above VW, Ford and – can you believe it? – Toyota.
Citroen occupies the place just one below average. This is such a massive change that those rankings could make you rub your eyes with incredulity. In the past, year after year, those companies were firmly rooted near the bottom of every one of the industry’s impartial, objective surveys for reliability and after-sales service.
In those years, of course, representatives of PSA would – with a straight face – say that surveys such as J. D. Power’s were not to be depended on. Their method was fallible. Their participants weren’t neutral. Guff, guff, guff.
Presumably, they’ve changed their tune now.
Car reviewed: DS3 Prestige THP 165 S&S 6-speed manual – On the road £19,595, price as tested £21,840 0-62mph 7.5 secs Top speed 135mph Fuel Economy combined 50.4mpg CO2 emissions 129g/km Engine 1598cc 4 cylinder inline, transverse Max Power 165Hp@6000rpm Torque 240Nm@1750rpm Transmission 6-speed manual
Car reviewed: Peugeot 2008 GT Line BlueHDi 120 – On the road £20,170, price as tested £20,920 0-62mph 9.6 secs Top speed 119mph Fuel Economy combined 76.3mpg CO2 emissions 96g/km Engine 1560cc 4 cylinder Max Power 120Hp@3500rpm Torque 300Nm@1750rpm Transmission 6-speed manual
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