360 La Premiere
DS is on a mission to become
PREMIUM, PRESTIGE. PRECIOUS. These days, that's what every car maker
is desperate to express. The Germans have done it so well for decades; Toyota
succeeded with Lexus; Nissan didn't quite with Infiniti; and the jury's still
out on Hyundai's premium badge, Genesis.
Arguably, the French have the highest mountain to climb. It seems a lifetime
since Citroen wowed the world with its SM described at launch in 1970
by one car magazine as "the best car in the world". However, the French carmaker
is now fielding a new player in its upmarket DS brand to reclaim prime position
and regain the crown.
Alongside Alfa Romeo and Lancia, DS is one of Stellantis' stable of 'premium'
brands. For the uninitiated, Stellantis automobile brands include Abarth, Alfa
Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati,
Mopar, Opel, Peugeot, Ram, and Vauxhall.
The French DS marque majors on comfort, luxury and adventurous design. The freshly
revised and facelifted DS7 FYI no longer badged 'Crossback' is
DS's plush mid-size SUV that expresses everything the brand stands for.
design is the first thing to hit you. Yes, it's an SUV isn't every new
car launched these days a Sports Utility Vehicle? but its sharp-edged
looks really do make it stand out.
its recent facelift
the DS7 is fronted by
some striking new
Light Veil daytime
running lights that look
like incisor teeth growing
out of the headlights.
Its the same story when
you climb aboard. The
massive centre console
swoops down to hive
off the driver and
passenger into their own
After its recent makeover, it shows off some striking new 'Light Veil' front
daytime running lights that look like incisor teeth growing out of the headlights.
It's the same story when you climb aboard. The massive centre console swoops
down to hive off the driver and passenger into their own 'cocoons'.
I love the angular shapes that abound everywhere you look, while the 12-inch
touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster are both uber-clear. The
milled metal look of the switchgear is superb, too, but… as soon as you touch
the switches, disappointment hits: they're clearly made of plastic. And cheap,
hard plastics can also be found elsewhere in the upmarket cabin.
This, I feel, is symptomatic of the DS7's upscale issues. It's not just the
cabin that has a skin-deep, stretched-thin feeling. Even from a driving perspective,
it doesn't feel quite at ease in such rarefied company as the Audi Q3 and Volvo
I tested the E-Tense 360 version, the plug-in hybrid that tops the range (its
£62K asking price places it seriously into luxury territory). Sure, the on-paper
stats look great: a healthy 355bhp power output, plenty of torque, and an official
fuel consumption of 156.9mpg. Trouble is, it doesn't really feel fast. As the
0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds indicates. Even in its zestiest 'Sport' driving
mode, it feels sluggish probably explained by its weight of close to
Nor is the DS about sharp handling. Other brands definitely do this better,
and the DS7 feels somewhat boat-like around corners and suffers from numb steering.
Not a problem because the DS brand is all about comfort and relaxation... Perhaps,
but even here the DS7 doesn't quite hit the spot.
Switching to 'Comfort' mode gives you the best ride because a camera scans the
road ahead and tweaks the damping in anticipation if you're travelling
at the 'right' speed, that is. At low speeds the ride quality is much less convincing
and you always feel the weight of the large alloy wheels. Then at motorway speeds
the DS7 starts to wallow and float although the E-Tense version's unique
suspension settings do partially alleviate this.
the DS7 is truly good at is interior space. There's loads of legroom and headroom
all round, and the lack of a transmission tunnel in the rear eases entry and
exit for the middle-seat passenger. The boot is massive, too, at 555 litres
(expanding to 1,752 litres with the seats folded). And these figures apply whichever
model you buy, hybrid or non-hybrid. Boot access is also easy.
legroom and headroom
all round, and the lack
of a transmission tunnel
in the rear eases entry
and exit for the middle-
The boot is massive, too,
at 555 litres; fold the
rear seats and it
transforms into a 1,752-
litre cargo bay...
Another strong card is the DS7's standard equipment. Even entry-level DS7s are
plush, but the E-Tense 360 only comes in top-spec trims (Rivoli, Opera, and
La Premiere) which offer increasingly opulent levels of kit.
All have a splendid BRM clock in the dashboard, while the Opera adds ventilated
seats, adaptive cruise control, electric tailgate, panoramic sunroof, and wireless
charging. The top-spec La Premiere has 21-inch wheels, 360-degree camera, high-spec
audio, 'night vision' and a hands-free tailgate but then it costs £63,940.
At that price the DS7 really needs to feel more special than it does
and drive better. It certainly stands out with its sharp looks and plush cabin
ambience but it's no great shakes in terms of driving dynamics, and it needs
to do a bit better to fulfil its brief to be the Numéro Un choice of
buyers seeking comfort and refinement. ~ Chris Rees
DS7 E-Tense 360 La Premiere
Maximum speed: 140mph | 0-62mph: 8.9 seconds | Economy: 156.9mpg
Power: 355bhp | Torque: 384lb ft | CO2: 40g/km