You are currently viewing Video test – Seres 3: a half-hearted low-cost electric SUV

Video test – Seres 3: a half-hearted low-cost electric SUV

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:15 mins read

If Chinese car brands are not yet very numerous in France, the Dongfeng group is already present with the Seres 3. Offered at a relatively affordable price, what is this electric SUV worth in the face of a competition that is diversifying?

Seres claims affiliation with Dongfeng

Although it has been marketed in France since March 2021, in Comfort and Luxury finishes, the Seres 3 compact electric SUV is almost invisible on our roads. Unlike its more widespread direct competitor, the MG ZS EV has a close footprint: 4.32 x 1.81 m for the latter, against 4.38 x 1.85 m. And this, for an identical height of 1.65 m.

The Seres brand can seem to come from nowhere. It was launched to distribute a range of electric cars. On its website, it claims to belong to the Dongfeng group founded in 1968, which generated a turnover of around 16.5 billion euros last year. It is through him that various manufacturers gain access to the Chinese market. Thus Renault, Stellantis, Honda and Hyundai, to name but a few.

A little bit of technique

The front wheels of the Seres 3 are driven by a permanent magnet synchronous motor which develops a power of 120 kW (163 hp) for a maximum torque of 300 Nm. This configuration allows it to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 8 9 seconds before speeding to its top speed of 160 km/h.

From LFP (lithium iron phosphate) chemistry which better accepts 100% recharges for a longer life, the battery has a gross energy capacity of 53.7 kWh for 52.56 kWh that can be used. The manufacturer credits its electric SUV with a range of 329 km at best in the WLTP mixed cycle.

The average fuel consumption over a trip is not available in the on-board computer menus. Of the 2,870 km totaled by the meter of the model tested, it is 21.5 kWh/100 km. What would give in the state an autonomy of 244 km by bordering the breakdown of energy. But it will be better not to count on more than 200 km when setting off on the highway.

In direct current, the maximum power supported by this electric SUV is 70 kW. But during our test in a Total station, it did not exceed 35 kW. For on-street terminals or a domestic wallbox, the vehicle has a 6.6 kW charger.

The style

Overall, the Seres 3 presents well even if it lacks personality, especially in terms of lighting, but also in the shape of the vehicle which resembles what is found in the SUV segment », Analyzes Max Freyss. Well distributed at the front and at the rear, LED technology has forgotten the combined dipped beam/main beam fitted with halogen bulbs.

Belonging to the genre of Sport Utility Vehicles is betrayed by the floating roof, a relatively high ground clearance, and wheel arches provided with black plastic protection. These surround 18-inch alloy wheels mounted in 225/55 with Chinese Chao Yang tires with a not encouraging reputation. But ” they could soon be replaced as standard by Michelin “, reports the videographer tester.

The machine draws its dynamism from its sculpted sides. The nose sports a full grille with a grid effect created, regardless of body colour, by a multitude of vaguely triangular blue patterns separated by black lines. Curious that the logo has not been the subject of a complaint by Citroën, as is the case for that of Polestar!

Big surprise in the trunk

To access the trunk, you will first have to unlock the Seres 3 using the sports car-shaped key, just as Porsche did for its Taycan more in line with such a line. Behind the manually-opening tailgate, the 318-litre trunk appears a bit sparse. Its volume increases to 1,200 l by folding the backrest into 2 parts of the bench seat.

For comparison, those of the MG ZS EV and the slightly less well-sized Peugeot e-2008 offer 448 and 434 l respectively from the outset. This difference can be explained by a small curiosity: The Seres 3 has a bulky 17-inch (165/55) spare wheel in the double bottom, whereas almost all electric cars have a much smaller emergency kit instead. bulky.

By removing it for daily use, it will therefore be possible to recover space to accommodate just about anything you want within the limits available.


Take a seat in the back

With a driver who does not exceed 1.80 m, the passenger seated in the back of the Seres 3 should have ample room for the knees and will be able to slide their feet a little under the seat in front of them. The space in height will then be a little less generous, while, bringing brightness on board, the panoramic sunroof of the Luxury finish does not extend so far.

The low prominence of the service tunnel facilitates the installation of a third person in the rear. The latter will then condemn the well padded armrest pierced with 2 cup holders.

No USB socket here, but a 12 V connector, various storage spaces, and, above all, ventilation nozzles which should be well appreciated. With the entry level Comfort, the occupants of the bench seat will have to make do with the 2 loudspeakers fixed in the front doors to hear music. The upper finish has 4 more: 2 at the base of the windscreen pillars + 2 in the rear door trims.


The driver’s point of view

Here we are installed at the front, and for a low-cost SUV it’s really not bad, without being exceptional “Judge Max Freyss. In question, the rigid plastics very present in the passenger compartment. Nonetheless, padded materials line the top of the dash and door trims, as well as the areas where the knees typically rest. Faux leather covers the upholstery and the 3-spoke steering wheel of the Seres 3.

If they offer good support, the seats – heated in the Luxury version available to us – appear “ a little hard to our tester, and even more the headrests. The driver and his right-hand neighbor will be able to use the induction charging for smartphones, the 2 USB sockets, the 2 cup holders and the various storage spaces.

Not really very generous in volume, the latter are also devoid of upholstery which would eliminate the noise emitted by the sliding and friction of the odds and ends.


Two 10.25-inch screens

Behind the steering wheel of the Seres 3, the 10.25-inch digital screen supports two dials with a fairly similar layout which could create confusion while driving. The one on the right restores the instantaneous speed in figures in the center and with a needle on the periphery. On the other side, the acceleration or regeneration power is announced in exactly the same way.

If the symmetry is pleasing to the eye, the driver may unwittingly take this real-time updated value for the rate of change. Range, driving mode (Eco, Normal and Sport) and direction of travel are clearly displayed.

Planted on the top of the dashboard, the touch pad of the same size is sometimes difficult to read because it is too reflective. Although fluid and responsive, it is however not compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and seems a bit lacking in functionality.

Also, the names of the radio stations are not included. It is therefore necessary to know their frequencies well to identify them. And no Smartphone application to remotely manage recharging or the temperature on board in anticipation of use.

First laps

Before leaving, you have to start the Seres 3 by pressing the brake pedal and a button, then select a direction of travel with the large knob in the center console. With the 360 ​​degree view of the Luxury finish, maneuvers are made easier. While the steering wheel is comfortable, the steering appears a little too soft and relatively imprecise.

The height position in this electric SUV, as well as good visibility offered by the glazing with clear window and the large mirrors, facilitate evolution in the city. Thanks to suspensions that filter the roughness of the road well, speed bumps can be approached with a certain serenity.

Even in Eco mode where it is most powerful, regenerative braking still seems a little light. Furthermore, the system does not allow stopping without using the brake pedal. Always with this selection to be reserved for urban areas, we feel that the vehicle is really restrained, even foot to the floor. To the point of making certain accelerations or raises unpleasant.

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To drive wisely

Outside the city, it will be better to select one of the Normal or Sport modes, which are much more dynamic, but which do not present a glaring difference between them. But beware, the Chinese SUV does not like to be heckled too much. The tires can easily squeal and the body roll.

We don’t want to hit it! It’s a bit scary to accelerate in turns! We feel that the car has a very average grip “Warns Max Freyss. ” We feel that comfort takes precedence over dynamism, with soft steering, soft and pleasant suspensions “, he believes.

That’s not all. While driving normally, the vehicle seems to constantly hesitate between acceleration and deceleration without however the driver varying his pressure on the pedal. An unpleasant phenomenon for passengers, which is all the more marked as the level of regeneration chosen is high, and which is strongly reminiscent of the behavior of the Aiways U5 on its arrival in France.

On expressways

Wind noise is already present in the passenger compartment at 80 km/h, while road noise is better contained. Powerful braking is automatically accompanied by the triggering of warnings. ” It doesn’t bite very hard. It’s okay, no more », Assesses the videographer tester.

Even in Sport mode, the Seres 3 takes time to reach 130 km/h, despite weighing 1,765 kg, which is not necessarily excessive for an electric SUV. At this pace, There is a lot of air noise in the uprights. And you can also hear the sound of the engine “Laments our colleague.

Only the Luxury finish offers a speed limiter and cruise control. Regarding the latter, Max Freyss is not a big fan of the small lever on the left and behind the steering wheel to manage it. No help keeping between the lines, but a simple sound crossing alert. ” It’s not very secure or very advanced in terms of technology “, underlines the videographer.

Prices

The highlight of the Seres 3 is its price list, which starts at 33,990 euros including tax excluding bonuses with the Comfort finish, or 36,990 euros for the top-of-the-range Luxury. The metallic paint, such as Astral blue which covers the tested copy, is charged as an option at 500 euros.

This is still 1,000 euros more than the MG ZS EV currently displayed from 32,990 euros for the Standard version and 34,990 euros with the Luxury. Especially since ” Peugeot and MG have real distribution networks, unlike Seres which is only just beginning on French territory. What can make the difference in the final choice? “.

Coming in the 3rd quarter of 2022, the Seres 5 electric SUV should be more convincing with its 500 km of WLTP autonomy, better performance, and an interior treatment that could allow it to rub shoulders with the Tesla Model Y.

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