What is it?
THE DS7 Crossback E-Tense 4×4 is a large, premium, French SUV that oozes style and sophistication as well as having a powerful plug-in hybrid powertrain and all-wheel-drive practicality.
It costs from £49,650 for the Performance-Line model, up to £53,700 for the Ultra Prestige model which I’ve been driving.
Yes, it’s a lot of money for a posh Gallic SUV but when you look at the specs and see the level of technology available, then the DS7 Crossback E-Tense starts to make a lot of sense.
Powered by a combination of a 1.6 turbo-petrol unit and 2 electric motors, the E-Tense makes 300 bhp and can whisk you to 62 mph in under 6 seconds.
It will run in pure electric mode for around 35 miles and charging takes just a couple of hours from a 7kWh home-charger. Official figures suggest around 200 mpg, with regular charging, while CO2 figures are a lowly, BiK-pleasing 34 g/km.
The DS7 Crossback E-Tense looks pretty spectacular from any angle with jewel-like headlights that really pop when viewed from the front.
Muscular in the body but with fine-crafted detail, the DS7 Crossback has an overall image of power with subtle charm – and it’s certainly more eye-catching than almost any other large SUV out there.
The Inside Story
I always look forward to climbing inside a new DS model as they’re never boring and the DS7 Crossback E-Tense is no exception – just take a look at the art-deco revolving clock in the centre of the dash.
Contrast-stitched leather is abundant with wacky angles and shapes in every direction. It doesn’t look confused or disjointed though – more contemporary gentleman’s club scaled down to fit inside a spacious SUV. Yes, it has armchairs too that are probably amongst the comfiest seats you’ll find in any car.
There’s a 12.3 in central dash display and a 12in infotainment screen that provides all the toys and functions you could ever possibly want to poke a finger at. Sadly, that includes your climate controls too which would’ve been much better served by physical buttons or knobs.
If I tell you that there is a night-vision mode for the main dash that highlights pedestrians/Cyclists/animals in low-light conditions, then you begin to understand the level of technology available in the E-Tense. It’s more IN-Tense than you’ll find elsewhere . . .
Rear passenger space is good too with plenty of leg and head room – 3 kids shouldn’t find anything to complain about and they’ll enjoy the electric reclining function.
Boot space isn’t compromised by the hybrid powertrain and the E-Tense has an excellent 555 litres – just like its non-hybrid siblings.
On the Go
The DS7 Crossback E-Tense is certainly quick enough when you want it to be and the 8-speed automatic gearbox is intelligent enough to make for smooth progress, most of the time. It never feels sporty though and, especially on quicker A-roads, it wallows a little more than you might expect – even with the weight of those batteries low-down in the chassis.
Of course, comfort is DS’s forte rather than out-and-out performance and in this department the DS7 Crossback E-Tense does not disappoint. Selecting “Comfort” from the drive-mode selector gives an excellent ride over even the most pock-marked of surfaces.
If you want so alleviate some of the suspensions softness you can always select Sport mode, although I suspect Hybrid mode will be most driver’s default which gives a good compromise between the two.
Comfort levels are also enhanced by excellent sound-proofing, including laminated glass and DS Active Scan Suspension which analyses the road ahead and adjusts automatically, improving comfort on the move.
Of course, sound-proofing is even further enhanced if you’re running in electric mode where the DS7 is an absolute joy around town.
On the face of it, the new DS7 Crossback E-Tense seems to be quite expensive when compared to, say the Audi Q5 specced up to around the £50K mark.
However, when you consider the exclusive looks, upmarket interior and cutting-edge tech – along with excellent hybrid fuel economy and 4-wheel-drive, it makes you think seriously about going your own way and not following the crowd. This is French flair at its best.
AT A GLANCE:
DS7 Crossback Ultra Prestige E-Tense 4×4
OTR Price: £53,700
Engine: Petrol/electric Hybrid
Transmission: 8-speed Automatic
0-62mph: 5.9 secs
Top Speed: 149mph
Combined Economy: 188.32mpg