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DS Automobiles

Removing the taillight on my Peugeot RCZ

Twist it till it snaps

Another day, another tutorial! This time we’re removing a taillight of the RCZ. If you want to order it before you read or watch through the process, here are the part numbers. Peugeot part number: YM40701280, Automotive Lighting part number: 2623 0102. Always make sure you’re ordering the correct side, since the left and the right units are symmetric, hence not identical.

Left taillight cover, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Left taillight cover, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

In a nutshell, the entire process is quite simple. It can however be confusing when you’ve never done it before. Open up the cover on the side of the trunk and disconnect the cable. There is only one cable coming from the taillight. After that there are two big white nuts to unscrew. The first time I tried to loosen them they were so tightened up that I needed pliers.

Left taillight, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Left taillight, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

Push the taillight out from the inside and twist the entire unit counter clockwise until the burl in the front of the light snaps out of its position. I sounds like something just broke but don’t worry, it’s really just the burl. You may want to cover the left edge of the taillight with some sort of cloth so you don’t scratch it while removing it. However, it’s not necessary if you’re careful.

No just press and pull the rubber plug, pull the cable out and the entire taillight is free. Check out the video for a more comprehensive demonstration:

 

Changing the gear knob on a Peugeot RCZ

Pimp my gear lever

Enough is enough, it’s time to modify, to pimp, to give my Peugeot RCZ that little touch that makes it unique. Let’s start by changing the stock leather imitation gear knob with an aluminum item. Truth be told, I already did this a year ago, but I have a couple of more modifications in the pipeline I want to show you on YouTube so let’s start with the beginning.

Original gear knob, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Original gear knob, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

The original gear knob is okay, it’s actually pretty good quality. Okay just doesn’t cut it anymmore when you have a car that looks this good. Given that the RCZ GT-Line, R and many different Peugeot models also have the new aluminum gear knob as standard, I just had to had it!!

I got the new one at my official Peugeot dealer. The part number is 96 738 472 vv and was available within 24 hours. Boy, was I positively surprise. It’s heaver than the original one and fits even better to the gear lever, hence there is no play at all while shifting!

Aluminum gear knob, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Aluminum gear knob, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

Switching the knobs is actually very straighforward. Just hold the lever with one hand and pull the knob off the level. You must pull strongly until it’s released, so my advice is to put engage 6th gear first, so your hand doesn’t hit the parking brake lever as the knob comes off. Then, just insert the new knob onto the t-shaped lever and push it down until you here a distinct click. This tells you that the gear knob is now safely connected to the lever.

Check out the tutorial video!

 

 

 

DS Automobiles – 2015 Zurich Auto Show

DS Automobiles – Making due with what they have

2015 DS 4
2015 DS 4

I know DS is probably not yet the most exiting car brand, but ever since PSA decided to make DS a standalone premium brand in June 2014, I have been following their development with great interest. The facelifted DS 4 gets the so called “DS Wings” front grill, with 84 LED lights. Also, the whole car has been lowered by 30 mm. The full leather interior actually looks and feels quite upmarket. The new 7 inch touch screen is alright. Many reviews have criticized it for having a very slow response time. It’s certainly not on a par with the best touch screens on the market but it’s quite good.

The DS 4 is the first car of the PSA Corporation to introduce Apple CarPlay. Hence, it projects the iPhone’s icons to the touchscreen of the car. The amount of buttons on the center console has also been reduced from 18 to 6. The built quality feels pretty upmarket. Changing gears while standing feels pretty precise and there is little play when in gear.

2015 DS 4 Crossback
2015 DS 4 Crossback

As far as the DS 4 Crossback is concerned, its height has been raised by 10 mm compared to the previous Citroën labelled version, transforming it into an SUV. The Crossback comes with wheel arch moldings and some roof bars. Inside, it’s technically identical to the standard DS 4. However, without the full leather interior, it looks well put together but not premium anymore. The fact that the DS 4 shares the dashboard with the Citroën C4 doesn’t help. The main issue with the DS 4 & DS 4 Crossback remains the pointy rear door with the fixed windows. In all fairness, I didn’t expect them to do structural changes on a facelift.

The revised DS 5 has been on the market for about half a year now and it has been given kind of the same treatment: “DS Wings” front grill, LED lights, touch screen, fewer buttons on the center console, revised suspensions and a new 6 speed gearbox.

2015 DS 5
2015 DS 5

Although all of the DS 4 & DS 5 models have now changed the Citroën chevron logos with the DS signature, the cars are technically still running under the Citroën brand. That will probably change with the brand’s new model generation starting in 2017. Although the manufacturer can’t yet compete with the technically much more advanced and very customer oriented German rivals, such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, DS is clearly taking small steps in that direction. Until the end of this decade, DS plans on having a worldwide uniform model range of six models. Now that Jaguar are back on track and tackling the German establishment, we just might see a French contender in about five years’ time.

DS Automobiles – Enough fuel to reach the end of the tunnel?

DS Automobiles, now this is a name that rings a bell somewhere in the brain of any real car enthusiast. But what is it all about? Am I talking about the almighty Citroën DS, which was way ahead of its time when it was launched in 1955? Not quite, but not far off, either. Let me give you a brief look into the past. I insist on brief, you can look up the details on every established motoring page. In 2009, PSA’s (Peugeot SA) brand Citroën launched the upscale “DS line” in order to differentiate it from the more common C line. Five years later, due to the high demand of those cars in China, PSA decides to make DS a standalone brand.  As the company is slowly but steadily bringing out facelifted, chevron free models of the already existing DS3, DS3 convertible, DS4 and DS5, the manufacturers also increases the number of dedicated point of sales.

2015 DS DS5 1955 Limited Edition
2015 DS DS5 1955 Limited Edition

After China, the DS Worlds, DS Stores, DS Salons and DS Lounges are now step by step showing their faces in Europe as well. In a way, just like BMW did when they bought MINI and build up their brand presence within the BMW dealership network. But are they doing it right? Are they taking it as seriously as they ought to? And if yes, do they still have enough time to succeed? In a premium market, the devil is in the details. If there is anything important in a brand that has the ambition to tackle the established elite like Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar, the only things DS have to care about are the details. And this is the critical part. Okay, PSA have been making a lot of very good cars over the last decade; the Citroën C4 Picasso, C4 Cactus, Peugeot 208, 308 & 508 (especially the facelifted model) are all excellent cars. However, have you ever been in a RHD version of any of them? PSA do not move the fuse box to the right side, meaning that it takes half of the place of the glove box…!!!! I discovered this by watching several Carbuyer reviews and Mat Watson has pointed it out every single time!

2010 Citroën DS3
2010 Citroën DS3

I had high hopes that this would end with the introduction of the new EMP2 platform…but it didn’t!!! How can the person or the group of people responsible for the validation of any PSA car look at this and say “Yes, this is acceptable”? Guess what, it isn’t!

2015 DS 3
2015 DS 3

The same thing is to be found in the current DS 4 & DS 4 Crossback. The back door handle is incorporated in the window and gives it a pointy end, which frankly is not practicle and you must be very careful not to spear yourself when opening the door in a thight parking space. Best of all, these back windows don’t even open…!

2015 DS 4 Crossback
2015 DS 4 Crossback

You might ask, how is that possible? The DS 4 finds its origins in the DS High Rider Concept which was basically a two door version of the current version.

Citroën DS High Rider Concept
Citroën DS High Rider Concept

Obviously, Citroën at the time decided to make it a four door car, but there was visibly no space in the shape of the door to accomodate an the windows. What a shame and yet someone decided to go on with the project and launch the for door version into production just like that. And that’s the thing about PSA: They make excellent, good looking, solid, reliable cars, but then way to often are there flaws like these that literally ruin the entire car and tarnish the group’s reputation.

2013 Citroën C4 Picasso glove box
2013 Citroën C4 Picasso glove box

Anyway, my point is not rant meaninglessly about Peugeot, Citroën and DS. On a contrary, I’m a big fan! Even more so am I worried that they overlook all of these details, which at the same time in my perspective are the most important thing in a premium car. In the end, what is it that we want from a premium car? Style, comfort, power, exclusivity? Yes, probably, but in my opinion I call it a premium because the engineers found a way to make product more userfriendly, practical and efficient and at the same time stylish and desirable… A Citroën DS or the original Porsche 911 Carrera were given their shapes because the shape followed the functions designed by their respective engineers.

2011 Citroën DS4
2011 Citroën DS4
2015 DS 4
2015 DS 4

So all in all, I think PSA’s strategy is solid and the ambitions its CEO, Carlos Tavares has set for DS Automobiles are achievable. In my opinion its also the only way to succeed in the premium market. They needed to have a premium-only brand. It could have been Citroën, but then they would have to leave the utility vehicles to Peugeot. To DS’ defence, I believe they are doing the best they can with the resources they have. Audi would have facelifted the entire range within six months, but DS lacks the cash. So for now, revised chassis, LED headlamps, touch screen, some new interior trim levels and paint choices will have to suffice until the from the ground up new generation of DS models will fight for their market segments all over the world.

2011 Citroën DS5
2011 Citroën DS5

I do think DS can make it. They just need to start bringing new models soon (2017 at the very latest) and treat customers according to their premium ambitions. It would definitively be a fresh breeze in the already very established premium segment.

2015 DS 5
2015 DS 5

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