Matt Prior: Are posh French cars really hard to make in the UK? Car News

Someone cynical recently commented on Autocar’s website that DS models routinely receive two too few stars from our testers.

Considering the previous two DS cars we tested would have earned five and a half stars out of five each, that sounds tough. And that would have made the 9, tested last week by Steve Cropley – one of the best critics to ever work in the field – a six-star car. No, four will be worth what it’s worth.

The commentator’s implication, however, was that posh French cars get roughed up in the UK. Well, yes they can be tough here, but not by us. We report what we find, but the car buying public is harder to convince about cars like the 9.

What struck me about Steve’s review of the 9 was that it contained a phrase from the importer that was the same, almost to the letter, as that of a Cropley review of the Citroën C6, this adorable comfortable barge, from 2006: this success would be measured by selling the car by the hundreds rather than by the thousands.

The truth is that a large French sedan or sedan could be a truly stunning engine, yet still have a hard time appealing to those who want a German badge on the nose of their car – and there are so many of them that the Mercedes-Benz The A-Class is one of the 10 best-selling cars in the country. Indeed, buyers have avoided Citroën to make “chic” so convincingly that its parent company invented the DS brand.

In some ways, the C6 was if it wasn’t quite groundbreaking, then certainly particularly convincing in its segment. I once drove a house from Austria in one day, and it was extremely comfortable and easy going. I had a conversation at the Eurotunnel terminal with a guy who I thought was just interested in the car – but who turned out to be a Citroën dealer curious as to who bought one.

Shame. With just the right level of quirk, the C6 also remains awesomely beautiful, I think. But browse through the classifieds today and you will only find four for sale. In 15 years, will this also be the fate of the 9?

■ If, like me, you were wondering why so many high-performance electric vehicles seem to have four-digit power output, an engineer recently suggested the answer to me. And it’s not just that, because EV motors all make a similar sound, you want some sort of sensory overload to engage you in the process, and that comes from really uncomfortable acceleration. Although I’m sure that’s a factor.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-17 23:01:24

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