In recent years, amid the widespread emergence of new automakers in China, the DENZA brand has remained lukewarm, without any sensational news or high-profile press events. However, in my memory, this brand is brave, not only because of its high-priced model, the DENZA 300, whose exterior I still find it difficult to describe in words, but also because it blazed the trail for domestic automakers to compete in the high-end electric vehicle market, while also learning a lesson from its own lackluster sales.
Nowadays, DENZA has come up with the DENZA X, and I have brought with me the most important question: Does it fit the current positioning of the Chinese market? Thus begins my test drive.
As soon as I received the test drive invitation, I opened the DENZA official website. After all, I really do not know much about this brand and want to learn more about the car from their website. The website is quite exquisite, with a focus on design in the introduction section and less on functionality. It has a high-end feel but fails to fully present the car. Further information can only be obtained by visiting a dealership, which piqued my curiosity about the DENZA X.
As I arrived downstairs at Garage 42, I saw a DENZA X from a distance. Later, I met with @兔八果 and @大通, and after their explanation, I got a general sense of this DENZA X before departing.
From my test drives over the past few days, my personal conclusion regarding the driving aspect is that it exudes a high-quality feel and meets the level of its price. Although I have driven many larger SUVs before, I was initially intimidated by the DENZA X’s massive body. The steering feel, which is slightly heavier than that of other pure electric cars, fails to provide a particularly light feeling at low speeds.
Once the car is in motion, users who have driven pure electric cars before will feel familiar because quiet and smooth driving are the characteristics of all electric cars at this stage. When driving in the city, you can feel the ease of steering and the confidence-inspiring brake pedal from Brembo. Moreover, the responsive accelerator pedal makes the car move more gracefully in the flow of traffic. Want to change lanes? Simply turn on the turn signal and step on the pedal a little deeper to merge. The driver behind you will not complain about the slow lane-change maneuvers.
The performance of the suspension at low speeds fits perfectly with my taste. Even with 22-inch huge wheels under the springs, it doesn’t affect the comfort of driving over road joints, manhole covers, speed bumps, and other rough surfaces. The 22-inch wheels will bring you more road feel transmitted through the steering wheel.
On the highway, the car’s essential nature as a large vehicle is exposed. The whole body will sway up and down with the seams on the road surface. Although there are flaws, the high-speed stability and NVH control of the entire vehicle are pretty good, especially NVH. Wind and tire noise are well controlled, and I would give credit here. This is also why I think the DENZA X has done well in terms of texture at the driving level, because it has achieved a texture close to that of a higher-end luxury brand that the driver can experience.
In the stage of driving on the highway and ring road, the power performance is not disappointing either. The 360kW/660N·m power performance cannot be described by the foot pedals. Although the vehicle has a heavy weight, the word “at ease” can still best describe my feelings when driving the DENZA X at high speed. There is no more jerking when shifting gears, no more engine roars, only the image of the slow car getting farther and farther away in the rearview mirror.
After talking about the driving experience, let’s talk about its driving assistance functions. Among the pure electric vehicles equipped with driving assistance functions in this price range, the DENZA X has relatively simple functions, only simple ACC and lane keeping and warning functions. The whole set of functions is integrated on a lever on the left back of the steering wheel, which is relatively convenient to use, but always feels too similar to a traditional fuel vehicle and not as user-friendly and intuitive as those new forces in the market.
During my test drive, I also encountered a situation where if you only drive with the lane keeping function, the system will occasionally recognize the lane markings unintentionally, and there will be a grabbing action, catching the user off guard. The overall feeling of using the whole set of functions is relatively average, not quite like the answer sheet handed in by a high-end new energy brand.
As the car slowly stops and walking around the car once, you will find that the appearance of the DENZA X is almost identical to the appearance of the Concept X concept car released at that time, with no significant changes. The advertising slogan is also “Pure, Born for Beauty,” which shows the entire car-making team’s pursuit of style.
The design of the entire car uses a large amount of curved surfaces, and the 22-inch two-color wheels under the body also truly make the car eye-catching. Indeed, it looks very full overall. The through-style light strip design at the front and rear of the car also gives the DENZA X sufficient recognition at night. The exterior design is well done.
However, I personally think there are some flaws. The design of the front low and rear high waistline looks very dynamic, but in fact, the rear window line is too high, which visually pulls the rear of the whole car very high, and the top-level large wheels can pull the visual center back a bit.
The mid-to-low-level configuration will make the middle part of the car body too heavy, and the view of the third row will also be limited due to this waistline. The test drive car is equipped with Sunburst Red, which is too bright. I still prefer the advertising colors and the gray-black paint colors.
Close the car door and come to the interior. If you ignore the large central screen, it’s a strong Mercedes-Benz style. The rotary air vent, the seat adjustment buttons located on the door panel, all look so familiar. Although the atmosphere light at night is not as enchanting as Mercedes-Benz, it can also be said to be the same type.
The design and material selection of the entire interior are very good. The yacht-style center console extends to the wooden pattern on the door panel, creating a perfect sense of luxury. The texture of the entire interior buttons does not feel cheap at all. The design is harmonious and beautiful.
Since we have talked about the interior, let’s talk about space. The horizontal space of the DENZA X’s interior is very large, but the vertical space is not enough. I am 182cm tall, and when I sat in the driver’s seat, I had to reach out to the seat adjustment button on the passenger door panel. The whole posture can be described as awkward.
The two front seats have a shadow of Mercedes-Benz in their shape. They are neither too soft nor too hard to sit on. The filling is moderate, and there are many options and configurations for seat adjustment. The extendable leg rest can alleviate a lot of leg fatigue during long-distance driving, and the ventilation and heating are also good when actually used.
The second-row space is just passable. For an SUV of this size, when the second-row seats are adjusted all the way back, there is only about a fist’s worth of legroom available for me. It’s a bit surprising that, compared to the front row, the second-row seats don’t provide passengers with a better experience. The seat backs are straight and hard, and although the angle can be adjusted to make them somewhat more reclined, have the needs and experiences of third-row passengers been considered?
The entry and exit space for the third row is controlled by the separate seat on the right side of the second row. The opening is not small, but the third-row space is relatively poor. Once I, with my height, sit in it, I cannot move at all, and the side windows are also relatively small. The overall feeling is quite oppressive.
The trunk space is still satisfactory, and there is also available space when the third row is in use. Naturally, there is ample space when the third row is folded down. However, the seven-seat layout of the entire vehicle is still a bit awkward. It seems that most of the space is reserved for the front row, while second- and third-row passengers are given slightly worse treatment. I think this is something that the target users of this car may not be able to accept.
This is an infotainment system embedded in the screen directly by the Android operating system. The screen resolution and operating fluency are both acceptable, but there are only a few apps that can be used in landscape mode in the infotainment system. As for the navigation, Baidu Maps is well adapted, and it has all the basic required functions.
The experience with other software that hasn’t been fully adapted is relatively poor. For example, when I clicked the screen rotation button to switch from portrait to landscape mode, the software still displayed images in portrait mode. I think the engineers might want to say, “For other functions, play with them only when you’re parked.” I hope that DENZA can put some effort into perfecting the system in the future as there is still a lot of potential for this screen.“`
I did not calculate the specific energy consumption. During the first three days with a new energy vehicle by my side, even though the NEDC range was 500km, I still anxiously searched for charging piles whenever the battery level was low. However, I think the range of 370-380 km in ECO mode is still acceptable.
Actually, in these few days of test-driving, the vehicle has given me many touching moments. The automatic brake saved me when I was not paying attention. My girlfriend said the seat was warm on a windy day. A EQC owner who charged with me on the high-speed charging station reminded me to drive safely while being alone.
I believe that users who purchase any type of vehicle will have different stories when using it. The positioning of the X series by DENZA, targeting at family use, seven seats, a price of about 350,000 RMB, and the unrestricted policy for new energy vehicles, seems to be well-aligned with the market positioning. But why does this car sell so poorly? After trying it out, it seems that all the questions have been answered.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email email@example.com.