Doctor Diesel

Marmite transmission

Web02Dear Doc, long time no write, but now a few comments about the PSA EGS gearbox. I’m now on my third Citroën C4 Picasso with this system, so I guess that I must like it. After fifty years of clutch pushing, my left leg gave notice, but I didn’t want a sludge pump auto, so the EGS transmission seemed a good Idea. My first Picasso was fairly high mileage, but was not too big an investment if it proved unsuitable. In fact I soon adapted to the EGS box. I think the thing with this is that, if you come to it from a conventional automatic car, you may well be disappointed, but if you were driving a car with a manual box before, you will soon adapt. Basically, I just wanted to get rid of the clutch pedal. I now have one of the last examples of the previous model C4 Picasso, an e-HDi with all updates, including stop-start and running lights. It was a dealer demo car and was at the right price. I also tried out the rather similar Peugeot 3008 with the same drivetrain. Unfortunately, a high vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean easy access, and I had difficulty in getting in the 3008 due to a stiff back as a result of a rear end shunt many years ago. The (lower) height of the door aperture is what matters and the Picasso is near perfect for me in this respect. I tried sitting in one of the new C4 Picassos and it seemed just as good. Fuel economy is pretty good, with around 51mpg in normal use, and 54mpg on a recent holiday to the Bavarian Alps and back. Best wishes from sunny Macclesfield.
Ron Knight

Good to hear from you in sunny (???) Macclesfield! Interesting feedback on the EGS – Ian (Editor) is very keen on the EGS and I think it’s something of a Marmite item. I’ve never driven one for long enough to get to know how to get the best out of it, but I think that’s probably the secret. But I wonder how many people shun the EGS after a short test run? If you have the time, I would be very interested to hear your feelings about ride comfort with C4 Picassos, (Mk1) because a friend had one and we didn’t find it that good riding in the back. Although the tyres are a reasonable profile (16/60?) to my recollection, there was a harshness on coarse chipped tarmac and over minor road imperfections that rather irritated me. But it could of course have been the tyre brand fitted, so I would be interested to hear your opinions, if you have time. I hope the Silkmen have a half decent season!
Doc D

For reader interest, Ron replied:

Regarding ride quality, I’ve never found ride comfort an issue, but I don’t often have the car full. The tyres on all three examples have been the same, Michelin Primacy 215/55R16. They tend to last over 30,000 miles (down to 4mm) and the wear is remarkably even all round. I don’t have the tyres over-inflated, which some garages seem to do, and the rear tyre pressures for a full load are not needed for my daily use, so I use the light load 36psi all round. Poor road surfaces are now more or less the norm, but around here there has been some recent surface dressing with what appears to be liquid asphalt and grit which is quite good once brushed and bedded in, and gives a smooth ride; better than the dreaded tar and chippings, but more or less the same process. Further to the behaviour of the EGS, I think the main secret is to realise that the accelerator controls the clutch, so you have to develop clutch feel in your right foot, which takes a little time. Once under way, gear changes are influenced by the accelerator and this is soon learned. Changes seem smoother in manual mode and down changes are then really impressive, the engine speed being matched automatically. Best wishes,
Ron Knigh


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