RE: Driving Experience of the Fluence
I agree it is 'towards' a sublime driving experience. Certainly when you start driving it you get that impression.
It's definitely an experience you can't buy with money in an ICE.
Accel and the feeling of transmission is, of course, very and ultimately smooth, as mentioned is true for EVs generally. Nice. I have always appreciated a smooth transmission and it cannot be improved. Good for overtaking a 50 mph truck.
I have started having a couple of little gripes, though. Firstly I don't really like the steering wheel position. My shoulders ache a bit holding on to the wheel in that particular position for too long. I like the driving position overall, but I can't quite explain why I can't get my arms comfortable. It may have something to do with the over-sensitive steering that doesn't really give as precise a control as I would like. The actual seating position is the best of all EVs, IMHO, (better than Tesla Model S too) but excepting the Kangoo. It's that steering wheel position.
It's also got better headroom, especially in the back, than all but the Kangoo. It is a properly spaced rear that can accommodate big adults, which the Model S can't do in height and the Leaf can't do in width.
Nice legroom in the footwell.
Secondly, it can bottom into road defects with a bit of a jud. Overall, I think it handles potholes quite well. They have done a very good job at providing a chassis that does not make any noises or creaks and clonks, but it is a fairly stiff ride compared with how I, personally, would like it. That might differ to different people of course. Personally, I like to feel a lot of isolation between me and our degraded roads. On smooth roads it is perfect. On UK roads it shows up the limitations of the suspension to soak up bumps. But take that with a pinch of salt as I expect ridiculously high levels of good ride having been brought up on cars such as Citroens and Merc 114s.
The dashboard is very well put together. A couple of teeny noises have appeared, but overall this is one of the solid-est feeling cars I have ever been in, let alone owned.
It has a very low aero-section, Cd of 0.25. There is no wind noise at all. Zero. At any speed. It's pretty amazing actually, and those with the Fluence may not have actually noticed this before because wind noise is so un-intrusive you completely forget you are slipping through air!
Tyre noise is a little on the high side, and I suspect there are better tyres than the ones on it.
Handling is, actually, pretty spectacular. Floor it in almost any situation and it does as the pedal and steering wheel command. 'Goes where it's pointed' I think the expression is.
My third fundamental gripe is probably so slight in most people's estimations that I guess it goes to show how good the rest of the car is. At around 30 to 40mph I get a droning noise off the motor. I can't hear it on rough roads, only smooth ones. Passengers don't seem to hear it at all, but it sounds almost like road noise. It peaks at an indicated 36mph. There is a reduction gearbox whine too under load, but I quite like that. The drone is a heterodyning noise that is a bit tiresome when you start noticing it. My advice is not to go listening for it and turn the radio up.
Much has been said of the small boot. Personally, I have had no problems at all with it and usually leave some extra junk in it most times anyway. It is a useful shape, being long. I also think the given dimensions are for the main volume too, and not for the side pocket where the leads go. In the Leaf, the leads take up extra volume. Also there is a hidden volume under the floor, so overall I consider it to be much more useful than the quoted 320 litres (or whatever they say it is) suggests.
The glovebox is useless. You can't even fit the user manual in it without it bending. On the LHD Fluence, the glovebox is one of the biggest in the market sector. In the RHD it is, clearly, occupying space where something else needs to be.
There is a draft that gets in from under the steering wheel.
Too many menus on the dash trip computer. Should have two readouts, not all in one.
Hateful automatic wipers. Poor rear auto mirror.
Horn should be on the stalk. I dislike the move to have horn buttons on the steering wheel only. I think it is a safety issue.
Megane seats always tend to wear badly on the bolsters.
Keep the scuttle plate drain holes clear. They have been bunged up regularly every 6 to 8 weeks so far.
I'll add as things occur to me.