We drove the new DS 7 E-Tense: elegance, comfort and power, the French way…

DS Automobiles is going from strength to strength: it succeeds admirably in making cars with a very distinct character and style, with French “savoir faire” and bold, elegant design of both bodywork and dashboard and interior, creating a unique proposition in today’s car market. They also embarked into electrification: their model range is virtually completely electrified.

The new DS7 shows this again: it is available with not less than three so-called “E-Tense” plug-in hybrid versions, but then also still offered with the well proven BlueHDI 130 Diesel engine… fit for those who drive long distances on a (very) regular basis. We tested here for you the E-tense plug-in version, fit for electrified mobility. Read more about it here below…

The latest version of the DS 7, dubbed the “New” DS 7, has a restyled front with sharper lines, adding indeed further panache and “noblesse” to its stance. The work was carried out in close cooperation between the team of the Paris DS Design Studio and the production team at the Mulhouse factory.

Special attention has been given to refining the light signature. The headlamps – DS calls them DS PIXEL LED VISION 3.0 – are slimmer, and the daytime running lights are also seamlessly integrated. DS calls them LIGHT VEIL, and this consists besides the classic daytime running light also of four vertical luminous bands with not less than 33 LEDs. DS used an innovative process here: the laser-etched polycarbonate surface is only painted on the inner side. This results in a look alternating between light and body coloured parts, and gives the lighting effect of a piece of jewelery. Very refined indeed…

The Pixel Led Vision 3.0 headlamps have pixel modules which optimize the light output. For example the lighting in corners is controlled by the exterior LED’s of the pixel modules, depending on the steering angle. The LED rear lights are slimmer, boot lid and badge have been restyled and the “DS Automobiles” name is now wide lettered on the rear, adding a premium touch…

Our test car, in Opera trim and painted in a very fitting Eclipse Blue, had 20 inch “Tokio” alloys, which suited the car fine.

Interior with panache

We absolutely loved the styling and finish of dashboard and interior. The commands for the windows are neatly lined up on the centre console, are uniquely elegant and at the same time very ergonomic indeed. The central 12 inch instrument panel is intuitive to use and can be totally personalized.

We also loved its graphics, and the sound volume control in its center, a finely chiseled tube which one rolls up and down, marvelously simple and ergonomic. Of course we loved the clock in the centre of the dashboard. All round visibility is also greatly en enhanced by new high-resolution digital cameras. We also loved the comfortable seats, which have also – noblesse oblige – a high quality Nappa leather upholstery inspired by the metal bracelet of a luxury watch.

Also the steering wheel has the unique “feel” which custom made leather stitching offers, and adds to the overall sense of refinement this DS 7 evokes. We also loved the superb Focal Electra sound system.


The DS 7 has standard a formidable camera controlled damping system, called DS ACTIVE SCAN SUSPENSION. It has to be experienced to be believed. Electronics make it possible. Indeed, the camera scans the road surface ahead, and then adjusts each wheel independently to deliver this unique “carpet” ride. We just loved it, and it makes this DS 7 really stand out.

We left the drive mode throughout the test mostly in “comfort” mode, and it was a dream to drive the DS 7 like this. This comfortable setup does not impair handling, and indeed you can drive this DS 7 in a spirited manner over winding roads. Stability and surefootedness in the wet is also beyond reproach.

Sound insulation at speed is also top notch, and this makes the DS 7 a true “grande routière”. Wind noise is also absent, and motorway cruising with the DS 7 is literally an undisturbed pleasure. It remains completely smooth and silent at speed, and it is rather easy to surpass the speed limits, so one is well advised to use the cruise control on motorway journeys.


The DS 7 “E-Tense” we tested was the 225 HP version, which has a 180 HP 1,6 litre petrol engine driving the front wheels through an 8 speed automatic, as well as a 110 HP electric motor. A very smooth combination, with imperceptible transitions from combustion to E-power, offering the delightful feel of E-power in urban traffic, and a smooth power flow of the petrol engine on the open road.

Of course, plug-in hybrids need to be charged frequently to enjoy this (urban) electric propulsion, good for the environment and your car loving heart. The cost of this depends greatly on your charging situation, public charging stations tend to become rather expensive, and this rather sooner than later. The battery is new, with a 14.2 kWh capacity. This means that you can charge it in about 2 hours on a 7.4 kW charger. The range is – according to WLTP AER combined – a good 65 km. Acceleration is of course excellent with all this pulling power. The petrol engine is rather sporting when more power is called for, but otherwise is almost inaudible. The DS 7 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h is 8,9 seconds, the top speed is an impressive 225 km/h.


This is the thing with plug-in hybrids. The E-power possibility distorts the consumption figures of course, and they can be seen as largely theoretical, but then again, they form a basis of comparison. The DS 7 225 HP E-tense has officially 28 g/km of CO2 emissions and the fuel consumption is homologated at 1,2 litre/100 km.

 When the battery is flat, then the real life petrol consumption becomes important. Much – if not everything -depends here on how you drive. We achieved a consumption between 7 and 8 litres/100 km, adopting a fluent, anticipative driving style with nevertheless a lot of urban traffic included. One should always keep in mind that this is a 1,7 tonne SUV, and there is no escape from the laws of physics…


The DS 7 offers a good array of electronic driving assistance systems; of course one can also enjoy Apple Car Play. Our test car was also equipped with DS Drive Assist, an adaptive cruise control with stop and start without driver intervention. The DS 7 has ample room for five, boot space is also adequate with a volume of 555/1712 litres. The petrol tank is rather small with 42 litres, reminding you to recharge the battery of your plug-in Hybrid. The DS 7 is also a fairly good tow car, with 750 kg weight allowed unbraked, and 1275 kg braked.


The DS 7 appeals to customers who are looking for refinement, elegance and individuality when it comes to choosing a car. They also get a good portion of “savoir faire” Français, the Gallic way of doing things, and this makes a DS automobile really stand out. Then there is the fabulous comfort of this DS7, which is also unique in its segment. Performance and economy also tick all the boxes, and the plug-in hybrid layout gives you all the liberty of movement one could wish for in our Europe where the E-energy providers are hardly certain that they can supply enough electricity to cope with a fast transition the coming years towards full EV, and the availability of charging points still needs a massive effort from the EU member states, except the Netherlands…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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