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. 

Kerb appeal 

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. 

Conclusion 

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   

Power: 300bhp   

Transmission: 8-speed Automatic  

0-62mph: 5.9 secs   

Top Speed: 149mph   

Combined Economy: 188.32mpg   

C02: 34g/km 

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