This is the home of automobile road tests in South Africa. We drive South African cars, SUVs and LCVs under South African conditions. It also just happens that most of the vehicles we drive are world cars as well, so what you read here probably applies to the models you can get at home.
*To read one of our road tests, just select from the menu on the left.
*Please remember too, that prices quoted were those ruling on the days I wrote the reports.
Pics by Citroën @ citroën-media
This is a launch report. In other words, it's simply a new model announcement. The driving experience was limited to a short drive over a prepared course chosen to make the product look good. We can therefore not tell you what it will be like to live with over an extended period, how economical it is, or how reliable it will be. A very brief first impression is all we can give you until such time as we get an actual test unit for trial. Thank you for your patience.
Like its epic predecessor from the way-back-whens, this new DS is stylish, luxurious, a little quirky perhaps, and instantly recognisable. Where it differs from Grampa’s car is in the ride. Forget float-on-air 'Boulevard St Michel' – the new one is more closely aligned with the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring , across the way in Germany. It is firm and built more for the serious business of crossing continents than for cruising over cobblestones.
There was no talk of this or that market segment; the Citroën team simply delivered a selection of beautifully built luxury cars that do ‘way more than keep up with traffic, and do it all at interesting prices. The range consists of four cars using three engines and with two levels of trim. ‘Style’ variants offer 115- and 147 kW versions of their 1600 cc petrol engine with, respectively, automatic and manual transmissions. ‘Sport’ models keep it simple too. You choose between the 147 kW petrol engine with manual transmission and a 120 kW 2,0-litre diesel with automatic.
Standard equipment across the range includes the usual electronic safety aids plus hill start assistance, six airbags, keyless entry and start, autolocking, electric parking brake and heated and height-adjustable ‘Mistral’ leather front seats with memory function, lumbar adjustment and massage for the driver. Then we go on to electrically adjustable, warmed and folding door mirrors, automatic headlights, rain-sensitive wipers, front and rear foglamps, on-board computer, six-speaker sound system with sockets, cruise control with speed limiter, single-touch power windows all around, digital air conditioning and rear park assist. Sorry – forgot the three-way sunroof with powered individual blinds for driver and co-pilot and those in the rear.
Sport editions add Xenon directional headlamps with washers and automatic height adjustment, carpet mats, heads-up display, satnav, parking camera and front parking sensors. Want more? The Club Pack available only on Sport versions gives you ultra-sexy watchstrap styled leather upholstery, an upgraded HiFi system, lane departure warning (a vibration through the seat of your pants) and high beam assistance. It’s priced at R14 000.
The familiarisation session paired your tester with Dennis Droppa from that other huge newspaper group. We agreed to disagree on the subject of the massive torque available from turbocharged engines such as the THP 200 motor in the Sport manual we drove on the second shift. This writer reckons that being able to ease down on the gas at cruising speed, in top gear, and still rocket toward the horizon without any further input from the driver, makes Jack lazy. His response: ‘and the problem is?”
Where we did agree was that the 468-litre boot is more than adequate and that the lack of a spare wheel (pump kit only) could be a negative. As for the interior, it reminded us of an ancient R&B melody: “Take time to know her.” The array of buttons across the dash, on the central console and lining both sides of the overhead control panel, should be studied for a while before taking to the streets. Your scribe found himself adjusting the driver's view of the heads-up display while fiddling with the sunroof controls, for instance. One item in keeping with the fighter-jet cockpit ambience is that pilot and co-pilot enjoy individual overhead compartments for their Brand ‘R’ Aviator sunglasses. Only common cars struggle by with a single box, solely for the driver’s shades, mon ami.
As mentioned earlier, the suspension is really firm in keeping with the car’s sporty persona. Those with delicate constitutions might do well to consider the slightly larger C5 instead. Performance of the 147 kW manual car was excellent, both in terms of throttle response and handling, while the 120 kW diesel automatic was more relaxed but perfectly acceptable on both counts.
THP 155 Style auto – R344 900
THP 200 Style manual – R374 900
THP 200 Sport manual – R395 900
HDi 160 Sport automatic – R399 900
1598 cc turbopetrol developing either 115 kW/240 Nm or 147 kW/275 Nm
Zero to 100 km/h: 9,7 seconds (115kW auto) or 8,2 seconds (147 kW man)
Maximum speeds: 202 km/h or 235 km/h
Fuel consumption (claimed): 7,3 or 6,7 l/100 km
1997 cc turbodiesel developing 120 kW/340 Nm
Zero to 100 km/h: 10,1 seconds
Maximum speed: 212 km/h
Fuel consumption: 6,1 l/100 km
Tank: 60 litres
Warranty: 3 years/100 000 km
Service plan: 5 years/100 000 km
Plans offering 5-year warranty and maintenance cover are optional
This is a one-man show, which means that road test cars entrusted to me are driven only by me. Some reviewers hand test cars over to their partners to use as day-to-day transport and barely experience them for themselves.
What this means to you is that every car reviewed is given my own personal evaluation and receives my own seat of the pants judgement - no second hand input here.
Every car goes through real world testing; on city streets littered with potholes, speed bumps and rumble strips, on freeways and if its profile demands, dirt roads as well.
My articles appear every Wednesday in the motoring pages of The Witness, South Africa's oldest continuously running newspaper, and occasionally on Saturdays in Weekend Witness as well. I drive eight to ten vehicles most months of the year (press cars are withdrawn over the festive season - wonder why?) so not everything gets published in the paper. Those that are, get a tagline but the rest is virgin, unpublished and unedited by the political-correctness police. Hope you like what you see, because there are no commercial interests at work here. As quite a few readers have found, I answer every serious enquiry from my home email address, with my phone numbers attached, so I do actually exist.
I am based in Pietermaritzburg, KZN, South Africa. This is the central hub of the KZN Midlands farming community; the place farmers go to buy their supplies and equipment, truck their goods to market, send their kids to school and go to kick back and relax.
So occasionally a cow, a goat or a horse may add a little local colour by finding its way into the story or one of the pictures. It's all part of the ambience!
Want to ask a question, comment or just tell me you thoroughly disagree with what I say? That's your privilege, because if everybody agreed on everything, the world would be a boring place. All I ask is that you remain calm, so please blow off a little steam before venting too vigorously.