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, how much is this electric SUV worth in the face of diversifying competition?
Beings claim 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, versus 4.38 x 1.85 m. And that, for an identical height of 1.65 m.
The Seres brand seems to come out of 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 sales of around €16.5 billion last year. It is through it that several manufacturers gain access to the Chinese market. So Renault, Stellantis, Honda and Hyundai to name just a few.
a little technique
The Seres 3’s front wheels are driven by a permanent magnet synchronous motor that develops a power of 120 kW (163 hp) for a maximum torque of 300 Nm. This configuration allows you to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 89 seconds before reaching a top speed of 160 km/h.
Of LFP (lithium iron phosphate) chemistry that better accepts 100% recharges for a longer lifespan, the battery has a gross energy capacity of 53.7 kWh to 52.56 kWh usable. The manufacturer credits its electric SUV with a range of 329 km at best in the WLTP mixed cycle.
Average fuel consumption during a journey is not available in the on-board computer menus. Of the 2,870 km totaled by the meter of the tested model, it is 21.5 kWh/100 km. Which would give the state a range of 244 km by bordering the power outage. But it will be better not to count on more than 200 km when going out on the road.
In direct current, the maximum power supported by this electric SUV is 70 kW. But during our test on a total station, it didn’t exceed 35 kW. For street terminals or a domestic wall box, the vehicle has a 6.6 kW charger.
” Overall, the Seres 3 presents itself well even if it lacks personality, mainly in terms of lighting, but also in the shape of the vehicle that resembles what is found in the SUV segment. », analyzes Max Freyss. Well-distributed front and rear, LED technology has forgotten about the combination of dipped beam/high beam equipped with halogen lamps.
Belonging to the SUV genre is betrayed by the floating roof, a relatively high ground clearance and the wheel arches provided with black plastic protection. These 18-inch alloy wheels mounted in 225/55 with Chinese Chao Yang tires have a disreputable reputation. But ” they could soon be replaced as standard by Michelin “, reports the cameraman tester.
The machine draws its dynamism from its carved sides. The nose sports a full grille with a grid effect created, regardless of body color, by a multitude of vaguely triangular blue patterns separated by black lines. Interesting that the logo was not the object of a complaint by Citroën, as is the case with 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 with its Taycan more in line with this line. Behind the manually opening tailgate, the 318-litre trunk looks a bit sparse. Its volume increases to 1,200 l by folding the backrest into 2 parts of the seat.
For comparison, those of the slightly less well-sized MG ZS EV and Peugeot e-2008 offer 448 and 434 l, respectively, from the start. This difference can be explained by a small curiosity: the Seres 3 has a bulky 17-inch (165/55) spare wheel on the double bottom, while almost all electric cars have a much smaller emergency kit.
By taking it out for daily use, you can regain space to accommodate just about anything you want within the available confines.
sit in the back
With a driver no longer than 1.80 m, the passenger seated in the back of the Seres 3 should have ample knee room and be able to slide their feet a little under the seat in front of them. The headroom will then be a little less generous, while, bringing brightness on board, the Luxury finish’s panoramic sunroof doesn’t extend as far.
The low prominence of the service tunnel facilitates the installation of a third person in the rear. The latter will doom the well-padded perforated armrest with 2 cup holders.
No USB socket here, but a 12V connector, multiple storage spaces and, above all, ventilation nozzles that should be well appreciated. With entry-level Comfort, seat occupants will have to make do with the 2 speakers fixed to the front doors for listening to music. The top trim has a further 4: 2 at the base of the windshield pillars + 2 at the rear door trim.
The driver’s point of view
” Here we are installed at the front and, for a low-cost SUV, it’s not bad without being exceptional. “Judge Max Freyss. In question, the rigid plastics very present in the cabin. However, quilted materials line the top of the dashboard and the door trims, as well as the areas where the knees normally rest. Synthetic leather covers the Seres 3’s upholstery and 3-spoke steering wheel.
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 head restraints. The driver and his right neighbor will be able to use induction charging for smartphones, the 2 USB sockets, the 2 cup holders and the various storage spaces.
Not very generous in volume, the latter are also devoid of padding that would eliminate the noise emitted by the sliding and friction of the trinkets.
Two 10.25-inch screens
Behind the Seres 3’s steering wheel, the 10.25-inch digital display supports two dials with a very similar layout that can create confusion while driving. The one on the right restores instantaneous speed in figures in the center and with a needle on the periphery. On the other hand, acceleration or regeneration power is announced in exactly the same way.
If the symmetry is pleasing to the eye, the driver may inadvertently use this real-time updated value for the rate of change. Range, driving mode (Eco, Normal and Sport) and driving direction are clearly indicated.
Placed at the top of the panel, the same-sized touch pad is sometimes difficult to read because it is so reflective. While fluid and responsive, it doesn’t support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and feels a bit lacking in functionality.
Also, radio station names are not included. Therefore, it is necessary to know their frequencies well to identify them. And no smartphone app to remotely manage onboard charging or temperature in anticipation of use.
Before heading out, you must turn on the Seres 3 by pressing the brake pedal and a button, then select a direction of travel with the large button on the center console. With the Luxury finish’s 360-degree view, maneuvering is easier. While the steering wheel is comfortable, the steering feels a little too soft and relatively imprecise.
The height position in this electric SUV, as well as the good visibility offered by the windows with transparent windows and the large mirrors, facilitate the evolution in the city. Thanks to the suspensions that filter the roughness of the road well, speed bumps can be approached with a certain serenity.
Even in Eco mode, where it’s most powerful, regenerative braking still feels a little light. In addition, the system does not allow you to stop without using the brake pedal. With this selection always being reserved for urban areas, we feel that the vehicle is really contained, even with its feet on the ground. To the point of making certain accelerations or climbs unpleasant.
Video test – Seres 3: a low-cost and despondent electric SUV
To drive wisely
Out of the city, it will be better to select one of the Normal or Sport modes, which are much more dynamic, but do not present a glaring difference between them. But beware, the Chinese SUV doesn’t like to be booed too much. Tires can easily squeal and body roll.
” We don’t want to get it right! It’s a little scary to accelerate around the corners! We feel the car has very average grip “Warn Max Freyss. ” We feel that comfort takes precedence over dynamism, with smooth steering, smooth and pleasant suspensions. “, he believes.
This is not everything. During normal driving, the vehicle appears to constantly hesitate between accelerating and decelerating without, however, the driver varying the pedal pressure. An unpleasant phenomenon for passengers, all the more accentuated 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.
Wind noise is already present in the cabin at 80 km/h, while road noise is better contained. Powerful braking is automatically accompanied by the triggering of warnings. ” Don’t bite too hard. It’s okay, no more », assesses the tester cameraman.
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 speakers. And you can also hear the engine sound “Sorry our colleague.
Only the Luxury trim offers a speed limiter and cruise control. Regarding the latter, Max Freyss isn’t a big fan of the small lever on the left and behind the steering wheel to manage it. There is no help to keep between the lines, but a simple sound crossover alert. ” Not very secure or very advanced in terms of technology “, underlines the cameraman.
The highlight of the Seres 3 is its price list, which starts at 33,990 euros including taxes excluding bonuses with the Comfort finish, or 36,990 euros for the top of the range Luxury. Metallic paint, like the Astral blue that covers the tested copy, is charged as an option at 500 euros.
That’s still 1,000 euros more than the currently displayed MG ZS EV of 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 just starting on French territory. What can make the difference in the final choice? “.
Coming in Q3 2022, the Seres 5 electric SUV should be more convincing with its 500km WLTP range, better performance and an interior treatment that could allow it to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Tesla Model Y.
We invite you to find our electric car tests on Youtube. By subscribing and agreeing to receive notifications, you will be quickly notified of our new publications.
share on facebook
share on twitter