Read Caroline’s DS7 Crossback review for everything you need to know about the brand’s flagship plug-in hybrid SUV in Ireland.

It’s just over ten years since DS landed in Ireland in the shape of a number of Citroen DS models, including the cute and compact Citroen DS3. The cars were essentially Citroens with some more exclusive badging and opulent trim.

By 2014, DS Automobiles was spun off from Citroen. But it wasn’t until 2019 that we got the first brand-specific model, the DS7 Crossback, which I reviewed shortly after it arrived in Ireland.

DS is now owned by motoring behemoth Stellantis. The French premium car brand has found a new home in Ireland with the Gowan Group, who import a suite of Stellantis brands to Ireland including Peugeot, Opel, Citroen, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Fiat.

The new DS 7 Crossback on test for Changing Lanes!
The new DS 7 Crossback on test for Changing Lanes!

What’s so special about the DS7 Crossback?

The DS7 Crossback is special. It’s the best of what the DS brand has to offer right now. Designed as a large premium SUV in the brand’s ‘spirit of avant-garde’, it is everything DS wants to be known for. French luxury, opulence, avant-garde design and the most magnificent detailing inside and outside the car.

The DS7 also leads with the brand’s ‘E-TENSE’ plug-in hybrid technology, as well as other petrol and diesel options. Front wheel drive and four wheel drive models are available. With pricing starting from €44,995 rising to €63,200, the DS is up against some well-established competition in the busy large family SUV segment. But the DS7 Crossback is a considerable car.

DS is still a relative newcomer to the Irish market. The brand does not have a massive presence here yet. But a new DS Store opened in Dublin in 2021 at Gowan Motors on the Navan Road. So the DS7 will give its owner the gift of being different for the moment until the brand gains more visibility on Irish roads.

This car is a beauty with a large imposing presence set off perfectly in the Nera Black of the test car, and the Performance Line+ trim. Wheels are 19″ as standard. That big grille has beautiful detail with the jewel-like DS badge in the centre. Flanked on either side by magnificent headlights with DS Active LED vision as standard. Each contains three rotating modules and a main LED projector, which unwrap themselves like beautiful diamonds every time you unlock the car. The light show is spectacular at night.

The DS 7 goes on sale in Ireland in 2022 from €44,995
The DS 7 goes on sale in Ireland in 2022 from €44,995

Inside the DS7 Crossback

The signature diamond motif features from the grille to the rear lights and the theme continues inside.

Inside the cabin of the DS7 Crossback is covered in swathes of luxurious Alcantara – the seats, the door cards, the dashboard. It suits the sporty feel of the Performance Line perfectly. It gives a feeling of luxury and quality to the cabin. All this standard on the Performance Line entry point into the DS7 range. There are some harder plastics lower down in the doors but generally the overall impression is good. The car is packed with high end features.

The centre console sports an intricate collage of metal buttons to operate everything from the controls for the powered electric windows to the electronic handbrake. It is beautiful detail and very distinct for DS, though takes a bit of getting used to. It’s anything but conventional.

The cabin feels modern with a full digital instrument cluster for the driver and a large 8″ touchscreen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The DS7 is a five seat SUV – there is no seven seat option. It’s big inside. The rear bench is very accommodating with large footwells. This SUV has a longer wheelbase than competitors so rear seating space feels much more generous. The boot is also very large and practical considering the price of the vehicle. There’s 555 litres available and a powered tailgate.

The interior of the new DS 7 Crossback
The interior of the new DS 7 Crossback Performance Line

What are my options?

In Ireland, DS offers the DS7 with a range of petrol and diesel engines, and a plug-in hybrid. The petrol option is a 1.2-litre unit with 130 hp (from €45,795). The DS7 1.5-litre diesel has 130 hp and goes on sale from €44,995. All models are automatic for a premium touch.

The DS7 plug-in hybrid is badged ‘E-TENSE’ and is available from €52,295 for a front wheel drive model and from €61,700 for a four wheel drive model.

So while the hybrids are the most expensive of the range, they offer considerable more power with 225 hp from a 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor. They also sound and feel more refined. The 13.2 kWh battery means you can charge the DS7 Crossback hybrid and drive on a pure electric range for up to 58 km. This is ideal in urban environments, where potentially the car could be ran on electricity alone, only dipping into the fuel tank on longer runs.

Driving the DS 7 Plug-in Hybrid

Without charging, my average fuel consumption was 7.0 litres per 100 km so it’s certainly advantageous if you can charge frequently and run on electricity for the battery range on trips around town for example. It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to charge from a 7 kW home charger.

Elsewhere, the DS7 E-TENSE hybrid does impress with a suitable amount of power and performance for a flagship SUV.

The DS7 Crossback is built on the EMP2 (Efficient Modular Platform), which is used by other Stellantis models. The flexible rear beam was replaced by a multi-arm arrangement to obtain a smoother ride and minimise noise. DS engineers also extended the wheelbase by 5.5 cm and widened the front track.

There is also high-end insulation between the engine compartment and the cabin, in the wheel wells, beneath the bonnet, in the door panels, in the roof lining and underneath the carpeting.

Power is delivered to the road smoothly, with a premium quality to the ride quality. The Active Scan Suspension is standard on the E-TENSE hybrid models. It monitors the road ahead using a camera and adjusts the four shock absorber settings accordingly, making them firmer or softer in response. So what you have behind the wheel is a large SUV that handles tight twisty country roads with a professional finish, as well as motorway tarmac, and the rough and tumble of road surfaces around many Irish towns and cities.

The DS 7 is available as petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid
The DS7 is available as petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid

Did you like it?

The DS7 Crossback is an intriguing vehicle. For a while at least it will still be a mysterious but rare presence on Irish roads. The car looks the part. The devil is in the detail. There is a sophistication and elegance to this car that does demand attention. The spirit of avantgarde!

The petrol and diesel models form a more affordable entry into the DS7 range. And buyers will enjoy the salubrious spec of the Performance Line models, with that beautiful interior swathed in Alcantara. This is a spacious family SUV, with a huge boot and very comfortable seating.

But the hybrid somehow fits the bill for a flagship SUV with a power output that the DS7 seems more worthy of. It won’t suit everyone, and will be at its best in urban environments where it can zip around on electric power. But with the DS Store in Dublin, DS are strategically placed for this customer.

DS is hitting its stride now with a new distributor, DS Store, and the upcoming arrival of the exciting new DS4 and DS9. So backing a DS has never looked so good.

The DS 7 Crossback is a new French premium SUV priced from €36,000
The DS7 Crossback diesel on test for Changing Lanes in 2019

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: DS7 Crossback E-TENSE Performance Line+
Price:
€57,245 (Range from €44,995)
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power:
225 hp
Torque:  320 Nm
0-100km/h: 
8.9 seconds
Top speed:  225 km/h
CO2 emissions:
31 g/km
Motor tax: 
€140  per year