Hybrid Electric? V60 plugin 30Mile/150MPG vs Prius Plugin 15mile/74MPG vs Citroen DS5 7mile/74mpg

December 7th, 2012 § Comments Off on Hybrid Electric? V60 plugin 30Mile/150MPG vs Prius Plugin 15mile/74MPG vs Citroen DS5 7mile/74mpg § permalink

What is this Hybrid all about? Hands-on User Experience of Citroen DS5 – #green #hybrid #citroen

December 4th, 2012 § Comments Off on What is this Hybrid all about? Hands-on User Experience of Citroen DS5 – #green #hybrid #citroen § permalink

Citroen DS5 Hybrid4 – the world’s first diesel hybrid.

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Things to say about the DS5…. things to say about DS5. Well the good thing is, i dont get paid to do this, so this is all my personal findings and personal user experience with the car. No candy wrapping for my editor.

So lets start, The DS5, is.. well, French. Forgive it.
Fine styled, accented edges and embossed lines gives body more Q5##Q##ish look. And it feels like a tank too. Driving one is quite something. Having said that, bear in mind that my main car is an electric and a small one at that – I hope its not too obious im comparing DS5 to an full electric cZero, i will try to give an objective overview.

“World##Q##s first Diesel-Electric Hybrid”
Its looks good on paper. If you dont mind the noise, it sounds damn good also. Hope i mentioned the tank##Q## bit.
Basically, the hybrid##Q##s system has two “engines”, the main terrain is Conventional Diesel Engine, a reasonable 2.0-litre diesel (163hp) plus a 148lb ft electric motor (37hp) with Electric Only mode offers some 5+ odd miles range only.
The electric Battery “engine” does not last long. The latter delivers some 5 minutes of Zero Emission Vehicle mode driving, at some 30MPH average, and will automatically force the conventional engine to kick-off once speed exceeds 38MPH speed.

My DS5 Model was full hybrid DSport option, which offered “Eco” mode, 4X4, Sport and the ZEV driving options. Notably Eco is the most reasonable driving with fuel conservation in mind, typically delivering 40MPG.
Consider this Battery as a “backup” energy source, which gets recharged when you let go of accelerator, or brake. It will deal with slow traffic speeds (hopefully that wont be a long traffic wait however). Basically a great idea. recycling energy whenever we can.

Motorway speeds were by far the most enjoyable driving and cruising experience, barely notice you##Q##re on 80. 😮
The great thing about “semi-green” / hybrid options, is that they indeed do have the concious driver in mind, – so the dash has had a very useful image of battery charging / power-source propelling the car (battery/engine, or both).
The 5 minute interval consumption (aim for the high bar here), more images of car##Q##s “propulsion” source, and the blue “green mode” Rev counter, moving into Red area, when power is demanded, appropriately. Its all fun to drive when you have such tool-toys at hand to play with,…

Motorway best was 60MPG, averaging some 50 odd MPG real life. I can snigger at that. its very decent, but short of 73 MPG on paper yet.

Yet i cant help myself to think, Hybrid… really? alas only delivering that much MPG, you may say, – yes, unfortunately the reality is. Its not as it all says on paper. For the car of this class, aiming to be rated agaist fellow Audi Q3/Q5 model maybe, where the latter options deliver some 30-40MPG at their best, DS5 appears to deliver just that – value for your driving.

Nevertheless, it pained me to fill up the car, seeing the pound digits tick away into the car, – after being oil-dry for near 3-4 months.

But lets not dwell on that too long.

The Motorway speeds are good, in town it behaves well, MPG wise. Tip Top. the 4X4 mode as well as sport mode deliver wth necessary performance, but… its time to discuss it in full, and its time for the next chapter.

Lets talk about that GearBox.
Our DSport DS5 was automatic. This was something i would put in “cons” – sluggish performance in “Eco” mode is understood, preserving power, consumption, energy, – but in Sport mode? Across all modes, i found second of so delay between gear changes. At first i wrote it off to “Eco” option, but later found that its just how it works. This lack refinement.
Smother, faster-responsed gear changes is what i truly expected from such a “top-of-the-range” model. Again. Its French, and maybe i simply “je ne sais quoi”…

Furthermore, this extended into acceleration mode as well, DSport on or 4×4, traffic lights change – yes, we##Q##ve all been there – i press on the accelerator expecting to be whisked away to my imaginary finish line, – alas car is “thinking”… then, once im in the “dust” and it simply does not matter anymore, it attempts to reclaim it##Q##s purpose – it was like waking a bear during hibernation, i swear it.

Now, don##Q##t let me put you off too much. It does its job, it works, alas its not 5/5. At this rate Im not sure if the DSport option is warranted at all? Dont know, thats a tip for you to neg the price with the dealer.

Finally 4×4 option. Yes it works, But dont expect it to be “continious”. It drives one set of wheels by conventional meants – oil(petrol/diesel it would be) and another by the battery source. That battery needs to be charged up, – but the running Conventional engine. Essentially that 2.0 Engine would do two jobs, running the car and charging the batteries – so they could drive the other set of wheels, right? Basically a laborious task. There will be times when battery simply gets depleted.

Oh yeh, before i forget, the “non-Electric/battery” mode, which is essentially 4×4 + DSport options; Since Engine has to work extra* hard to charge those batteries to drive BOTH sets of wheels, – it will effectively run at 20MPG. I know what you##Q##re thinking, – not what you expected. By all means, in mixed driving mode, terrain, traffic, gears, this hybrid option is good. I am merely laying all cards on the table for you.

Aesthetics, looks and tech i hear you say?
I must admit. It looks good. Very much so. Solid feel to all the doors and leather interiour, which somehow managed to retain the warmth after leaving car parked at the services for some 20 minute in 3c cold? Impressed? I already am.

The full Leather Kit and comfortable head-rests. I will go on to say further, – full adjustable seating never been so much comfortable. I “carved” and zen of the seat for myself there. Long trips? Bring them on. In-seat-built “masseuse” feature will keep those seating sores and strained back under check.

The sunroof/auquarium feel, whatever you like to put it under, for both Driver and “co-pilot” and passengers at the back. Very nice touch.

What did i like?
Plane cockpit style on-screen display, roof mounted control dash, and Massage Seat.
Yes you heard me right, not only seats are heated, but driver##Q##s seat gives you massage while you drive, for all those “tiresome” trips. Now if you cant make logical decisions for when Price IS right, when you test drive one of those in THAT driving seat, your emotions and feelings sort of “take you out”. Steady now. Eyes on the prize. There are still snags i am yet to mention so keep tuned.

I did like the turn-by-steering-headlamp aim. Useful feature when turning.

I was very impressed by external styling and throughtful lighting. You have airplan style “aimed” reading lights for individual passengers and driver. This is definitely good in my books.

The armwrest in the middle? It has always been cold with some unusual influx of external air. Hope its intentional. Would make an excellent fridge, Gadget storage. I thought that was very considerate.

Spacious rear seating, even for me. 6ft 2in. Sat comfortably at the back.

Rear view camera was very useful, despite being somewhat not as good as LEAF##Q##s (i know, right?) which would adjust to your steering turning. And not as good during night time as LEAF##Q##s as well. But nonetheless i include it here because car did have extra sensors and on-screen data to make it enter my “good books”.

Again, i##Q##d mention the roof-mounted controls. Brilliant. Made me feel like im about to take off flying, not driving.
Its a great place to fit things you can feel your way to. Not too many however – you dont want to keep your eyes off the road.

What i didnt like?
Funnily enough the most frustrating thing that annoyed me was not even used that much. The boot. Not the size. It is reasonable. Its certainly not as spacious as Mercedes E220, but it may do for a small family.

No. its the lack of handle on the boot door! I am not kidding, when you consider the extent of the quality and effort gone into making this one memorable and enjoyable car, – the missing boot handle kinda peeves you off for all the wrong reasons. Of course its all electronic and you can actually unlock and “open” the boot door with the key and from inside, but it gives you some less than inch opening clearance, – then you have to wedge your fingers between your car and the boot door and pull it up. Its not light. Car gets dirty. Its some mucky experience. I get that handle at the back of really great looking body work may be seen as “uncool” but… some smart trick could have been figured out i say. Not like.

Gearbox.
you know my reasons above. but that##Q##s one sluggish nuance delay. My main one was – you star car in “neutral” – you can forgive me for the number of mistakes, confusing moments i had for not figuring out “why is it not driving”. I found M (manual?) A (auto) N(neutral) and R (reverse) options ONLY.
Don##Q##t ask. If i was forced to rate it, i##Q##d give it 3/5. Not Like.

SatNav.
While i was happy with overall dash, and location of majority (see below) of keys Actual Satnav, was quite baffling.
Again, you can forgive me for mistaking that £30k+ car would have touch-screen display. It doesn##Q##t. All my poking got me nowhere but felt more confused with “why is it not working AND driving” now. Yes, it has some uber firm control joystick, which despite it usefulness, located tad too close to the armrest where i completely overlooked it for most of my journey (got lost as well – didn##Q##t have satnav – long story)

Software feels somewhat little complicated – guess its the lack of that touch?… – and you will be just as shocked to hear, – it did not have the listings of “pubs near me” for good country sunday##Q##s pub lunch. Nada. Restaurants, hotels, etc, yes, – even government buildings, and POI, but no Pubs. Definitely French.

Verdict?
A beautifully styled, solid feel car.
Some skiddish gearbox transmission can be overlooked if you aim for great MPGs.
And the extra “noise” when in DSport and DStyle when you drive about town in low speeds (tell me about it) can make you feel like a boy again.

Do i want it? Undoubtedly yes.
Overall performance and ROI considering the power and fuel costs is adequate for my needs.

Will i buy it?
I can consider it, and depending on that notion “when the price is right”, this remains to be seen.

See Pictures for more information.

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