Starting Price: €44,995
Price as tested: €58,940
- Refined, gorgeous and novel
- A slightly left-field choice, so residuals could be challenging.
WHAT IS IT?
The DS7 has been around since 2017 but has had something of a new lease of life for a couple of reasons. One is that DS, the brand has a more focussed company selling their products in Ireland as they are part of the Gowan Group, and second is that you can have it as a PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) which makes it more relevant to our collective drive towards cars with plugs. Sure enough, the cessation of grants on PHEVs has been a blow to their sticker price, but their lower CO2 emissions still add up to lower VRT, as well as lower Annual Motor Tax, as well as the potential for lower fuel bills if you can utilise the EV qualities of vehicles like this. This is an alternative to the premium SUV offerings from the likes of Audi or Mercedes-Benz, which of course is a pretty bold move and one that hasn’t always worked out so favourably for the French brands up to this point. With a range starting at around €46,000, it’s about 22% cheaper than the cheapest Audi Q5. But when you get up the range, like in the model we were driving that is pushing €60,000, you at a price where the DS7 Crossback has to have something about it. So does it?
HOW ABOUT THE LOOKS?
The DS7 Crossback certainly could be regarded as handsome and there is certainly a lot going on with the design, but it is also not over-cooked, like some other rivals. The shape is pretty standard in terms of the “SUV-ness” but the front and rear ends of the DS7 are very striking, the front design more so, with that big imposing grille, proud DS badge and chrome accents. Our test car sat on 20” alloy wheels, which looked great, but we did get a puncture during our week in the car and all that is in the boot is a mobility kit, which in fairness works well, but it’s a one-shot only. A spare wheel would be nicer, even if the mobility kit is easier to use for most people than changing a wheel.
WHAT IS THE INSIDE LIKE?
The interior of the DS7 Crossback is one of the most impressive we’ve seen in some time. It looks like the interior designers were given carte blanche and allowed to rip up the rule book entirely. There is a 12.3-inch touchscreen dominating the cabin, as is pretty much the norm these days and within this, there is, of course, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The infotainment system is generally ok, but some won’t like the fact that you have to operate the Climate Control functions from here, rather than by physical buttons. There is a rather lovely B.R.M analogue clock on the dashboard and this folds into position when you start the car. There are also some very cool-looking metal buttons for the individual electric windows and the parking brake. There is a vast (it is huge!) storage bin under the armrest which looks like you could fit an armchair in, and a wireless charging pad, a 12-volt socket and a USB-A port. The DS7 Crossback, despite what you might guess by the name, is strictly a 5-seater only but we filled it full of kids for a child’s birthday party and they were very content in the back. Luggage space, at 555-litres before you fold down the seats, is very decent too.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
There is a lot to like in this regard. The DS7 Crossback does comfort very well, with a very compliant ride and because it’s a PHEV, it usually starts off in EV mode, so it is whisper quiet then too. There is a Sport setting in this car and this is where all the available 225hp is summoned and it does feel (and look, thanks to red instruments) a little more potent and thanks to a clever suspension system called DS Active Scan Suspension, it uses the camera to scan the road ahead and adjust the damping to suit. On a very twisty road, the DS7 felt agile and urgent. I really liked it. Sadly, the tyres didn’t and the next day we had the mobility kit out. We could write essays on these, but it was easy to use, but the saving in terms of space and perhaps C02 is one thing, but the tyres, once filled with sealant is probably not useable again.
WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?
The DS7 Crossback we were driving was just under €60,000 and for that, you are getting a very well-equipped and refined SUV that can more than stand toe-to-toe with entry-level examples from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The question is, just where is the right level for the DS7? That isn’t really important in this case, but for now this writer thinks the Petrol version is probably the best buy. For €45,795 you could have a Performance Line with the excellent 1.2-litre 130hp Automatic with excellent equipment levels and here I think that would be where the smart money would lie.
IS IT SAFE?
The DS7 Crossback comes with a comprehensive list of safety items as standard. These include a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors. Cruise control with a speed limiter, Hill Start Assist, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Speed Limit Recognition Warning + Driver Attention Warning, Emergency Braking System + Lane Assist. The DS7 was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2017 and received the maximum of 5-stars with 91% in Adult Occupant protection and 87% in Child Occupant protection. There were very favourable comments in relation to Child Protection. “The DS7 Crossback scored maximum points for its protection of 6 year and 10-year children in Euro NCAP’s test. Protection of all critical body areas was good in both the frontal-offset and side barrier tests”.
The DS7 Crossback is a slightly left-field choice but a good choice. It has a super interior, looks decent, feels potent as a PHEV and if you commute allowed might end up being very cheap to run.
DS7 Crossback Prestige E-TENSE
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, 13.2 kWh lithium-ion battery, 80kw electric motor
0-100km/h: 8.9 seconds
Fuel Economy: 1.4 l/100km
Top Speed: 225 km/h
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Annual Motor Tax: €140
Luggage Capacity: 555-1,752 litres
Price as tested: €58,940
For more information log-on to www.dsautomobiles.ie