The DS 7 Crossback, a medium SUV, becomes the simpler DS 7 with this wide-ranging update. It’s characteristically French, comfortable and different, but also somewhat pricey. There are various versions of E-Tense branded hybrid to choose from with increasing amounts of power and option of two- or all-wheel drive, plus a more conventional diesel if that’s your preference. Three trim basic lines are available, all offering an increasingly fancy twist on luxury norms.
“Performance Line and Rivoli are more sensible trim levels, with all the bells and whistles you really need”
The generous electric range of the plug-in hybrid versions (see ‘Power’ for more) makes the DS 7 a great choice for company car drivers factoring Benefit In Kind into their buying decisions. Same applies if your regular journeys are all within the 30 miles or so you can cover on electric power alone and save on petrol costs. To do that you’ll need facility to charge at home and a domestic energy tariff with cheap off-peak rates but the potential is there if used correctly.
The diesel version, in base Performance Line trim, is reasonably priced against competitors like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 or Volvo XC60 and could yet make sense if you regularly do long motorway journeys where hybrids are less effective. Those E-Tense versions are also considerably more expensive to buy, with top models edging over the £60,000 threshold in bottom-line price terms. Performance Line and Rivoli are more sensible trim levels, with all the bells and whistles you really need. Stick to the 225 version of the E-Tense hybrid to give yourself two-wheel drive and a further saving, unless you really need a 4x4.
Expert rating: 4/5
Reliability of a DS AUTOMOBILES DS 7
“DS shares the hardware in its cars with Citroën, which is a middle-ranking brand in most owner satisfaction tables”
We ran a previous-generation DS 7 Crossback for six months and experienced no issues during that period. It’s tricky to nail a rating here, however, because owner reports on our site are split between a disastrous one star for reliability and a fabulous five stars, with nothing in between. To try and put that into context DS shares the hardware in its cars with Citroën, which is a middle-ranking brand in most owner satisfaction tables. It’s certainly no longer the case that French brands equal poor build quality - both Citroën and Peugeot have climbed higher up the rankings in the last few years. You do get unlimited mileage on your three-year warranty, which is better than the average offering.
Expert rating: 3/5
Safety for a DS AUTOMOBILES DS 7
“You only have to climb half a branch up the trim tree from Performance Line to Performance Line Plus to get front parking sensors and a reversing camera”
All DS 7s come with rear parking sensors, cruise control with speed limiter, hill-start assist, tyre-pressure monitoring system, front and rear curtain airbags, speed-limit warning and more, while the now standard Advanced Safety Pack adds blind-spot alerts (which we appreciate) and lane-keeping interventions (which we don’t) among its many and various features. You only have to climb half a branch up the trim tree from Performance Line to Performance Line Plus to get front parking sensors and a reversing camera added. Fancy new ‘Pixel LED’ headlights are standard on this updated model and help take the stress out of driving after dark, while the ‘Light Veil’ running lights and LED rear lights create an eye-catching visual ‘signature’ for the car. In short the DS 7 offers a lot of bang for your buck compared with the competition when it comes to safety tech.
Expert rating: 5/5
How comfortable is the DS AUTOMOBILES DS 7
“The rear-passenger experience in the DS 7 is lovely; quiet, light, with a cushioning ride and deep, plush seats to sink into”
The DS 7 is a Citroën at heart. As much as they don’t want you thinking about the brand that way, it’s a good thing when it comes to comfort, because Citroëns are about the plushest cars out there. The rear-passenger experience in the DS 7 is lovely; quiet, light, with a cushioning ride and deep, plush seats to sink into. Standard on all E-Tense hybrid versions, the signature ‘Active Scan’ suspension adjusts automatically to the road surface, as detected by a forward-facing camera and various sensors. The result is a wonderfully floating ride, reminiscent of Citroëns of old.
In terms of space many comparisons list the DS 7 against the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 or Volvo XC40 but in space terms for rear-seat passengers it’s more like vehicles from a class above. There are deep pockets for storage in the doors, a decent boot and it’s a wide car meaning generous seats and storage between them. Tactile faux-suede is standard from entry models up, increasingly fancy grades of leather replacing it on more expensive versions. We love the watch-strap inspired Nappa leather design on the top-trim Opera seats.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the DS AUTOMOBILES DS 7
“You have to shin up that trim tree all the way to Opera to get wireless charging for your phone, massaging seats or the electric tailgate”
The infotainment system is better than the one featured in the previous generation, thanks to a much higher resolution and increased sharpness of the camera and digital graphics. However, the sat-nav is still pretty useless when compared with that in VWs or its related brands and lags behind the Google-powered systems in equivalent Volvos. All versions get wireless smartphone mirroring, a USB-C port up front and defrosting door mirrors, but you have to shin up that trim tree all the way to Opera to get wireless charging for your phone, massaging seats or the electric tailgate. Just one jump up to Performance Line Plus, however, gives you electric and heated front seats.
Expert rating: 3/5
Power for a DS AUTOMOBILES DS 7
“DS claims a maximum 43 miles of electric range but expect about 30 miles in everyday driving, which is 10 more than the previous model gave us over six months of ownership”
Given that hardly anyone will buy the 1.5-litre diesel version let’s concentrate on the E-Tense plug-in hybrid models, which come with either 225, 300 or 360 horsepower, the last two with 4x4-branded all-wheel drive. DS claims a maximum 43 miles of electric range but expect about 30 miles in everyday driving, which is 10 more than the previous model gave us over six months of ownership. Select ‘B’ on the automatic transmission to regenerate the energy lost in braking (DS reckons you can recover 20 per cent more power this way) and choose the Hybrid drive mode to maximise your range. You can put the car into electric driving if you enter a low-emission zone, too.
The DS 7 feels wide on the road, but the steering is light with a tight turning circle. Unless you require hilarious acceleration from your family SUV, or are a farmer or towing person and need all-wheel drive, stick to the entry-level 225 E-Tense with front-wheel drive. The car always starts in electric mode and that initial spurt of acceleration is all most people will need for some driver enjoyment.