Test Drive: DS 7 E-Tense 4×4 300: Lateral thinking

Faced with the German onslaught on the SUV segment, French brands are fighting back doing things their own way. The DS7 was launched in 2017 as the DS7 Crossback. Last year, it was renamed DS7 for the second half of its career and received a number of aesthetic and technological improvements. We enjoyed getting another taste of the DS7 and took it as a pleasure.

Our colleague Dimitri Urbain drove the restyled DS7 last year, and we refer you to his review to discover the 2022 model-year changes. As a reminder, the front grille now sports more angular lines, with daytime running lights featuring four LED lines on both sides. At the back, the tailgate also features sharper lines and  the taillights were modernized too.

I like it

It’s always a pleasure to get into the DS7. The interior has a character all of its own, featuring welcoming and beautifully designed leather seats while the dashboard is still pleasing, even more so  when it’s covered in Nappa leather. Unfortunately, its lower parts are made of lower grade plastics. The heating and massaging seats still take some getting used to and the central screen controls for them are not yet up on par with some of its German rivals. At the back, legroom is good, even for the central passenger as the floor remains perfectly flat.

Quite clever

Compared with the first version of the 7, DS didn’t change much under the bonnet. However, a new bigger 14.2 kWh battery replaces the 13.2 kWh one. This won’t have much impact on the all-electric range, but we did manage to cover 53 km before the 1.6 turbo kicked in. Our route mixed city and dual carriageway driving and even though we didn’t go faster than 100 km/h, we weren’t a moving obstacle for other motorists either.

I don’t like it

Once the DS 7 battery is empty, making the most of it requires quite a fair quantity of unleaded petrol. The rather small 43 litre fuel tank will need to be refilled on a regular basis during long journeys. Being a portly 1,836kg, the 300bhp version is rather sluggish in tight bends. Any attempt at very dynamic driving  will quickly bring marked understeer. Anyway, the DS 7 was never designed to be a racing car.

Why I buy it

Among its bland and anonymous competitors, DS’ mid-size SUV is that little bit different. Firstly, through its lines, marked by a chiselled front end with new daytime running lights. However, it’s the carefully designed and cosseting interior that truly sets it apart. Some of the materials used are high quality ones and fully justify its status within the Stellantis group. On-road comfort is exactly what you’d expect from a French car. Bad road surfaces are perfectly filtered while the excellent noise insulation puts your mind at rest.

Why I don’t buy it

This must surely be the most relevant version in the DS7 range but it still has a few flaws.  The electric range lags behind some of its German rivals. Even though equipment levels are much higher than most of its competitors, the DS 7 features some unattractive low quality plastics inside. The car is genuinely quiet on the motorway but in some situations the engine can become raucous and loud. This 300bhp version is available from €56,300 in Bastille trim and rises to €66,200, in Opera trim. (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)

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