DS’s first plug-in hybrid is a roomy, efficient urban commuter offering a sublime ride.
Follow motoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay on Instagram @tbarnesclay and Twitter @carwriteups.
At first sight, the DS 7 Crossback shows off conservative rather than cool characteristics.
On the move, body lean is kept to a minimum, even though the steering is spongy and dead. Don’t let me rain on the parade too much, though. The French motor has a sublime ride quality.
This car isn’t all about the zero to 62mph sprint; it’s far happier as a laid-back cruiser. But it can still pull stunningly, with the plug-in hybrid E-tense version of the DS 7 doing 0-62mph in just under six seconds. This is down to its 1.6-litre petrol engine and twin electric motor (plus battery) combo.
The car’s silky eight-speed auto ‘box and four-wheel drive make for effortless driving, and you can even motor about in silence for up to 31 miles on pure electricity.
Driving the car like this is best reserved for urban commuting – and it’ll save you loads of fuel, as long as you plug in and charge the DS 7 regularly.
The E-Tense 4×4 Ultra Prestige, driven here, is likely to be the model to please the masses. This car gets 19-inch alloys, a gloss black grille, and LED lights.
In the cabin, leather abounds, while a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment screen hogs the limelight. Playing second fiddle to the big display is a classic analogue clock, perched above the ignition button.
The infotainment system itself is intuitive and responsive, and is supported by a bunch of touch-sensitive switches for the cabin controls.
But more remarkable in this car segment is the adding of an infrared night vision camera that projects a vivid picture onto the driver’s display. It picks out pedestrians and animals ahead of you, and, as I found out driving around rural England’s unlit backroads, it works! The only drawback is that the innovative driver aid is an option costing £1,400.
Room in the cabin is suitable for five-up, and it’s a very comfortable car fore and aft. What’s more, the boot is generously proportioned with 555 litres of cargo capacity.
The DS’ weak point is its price-tag. At over £56,000, other more established premium brands may seem more attractive. The Audi Q5 50 TFSI e is an example of the stiff competition the French machine is up against.
Still, being different is quite appealing, so it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for the DS 7 Crossback E-Tense. Watch this space!
Fast Facts – DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 4×4 Ultra Prestige as tested:
- Max speed: 149mph
- 0-62 mph: 5.9 secs
- Combined mpg: 166.2 – 235.4
- Engine layout: 1598cc four-cylinder turbo petrol + electric
- Max. power (PS): 300
- CO2: 35g/km
- Price: £56,075