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DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 4x4 review: a worthy X3/Q5 rival?

£56,020 when new

Car specifications

Budget
£56,020
Brake horsepower
300bhp
0–62 mph
5.90s
CO2
33g/km
Max speed
149Mph
Insurance Group
39E

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Woah hang on, is this a £56,000 Citroen?

Well, you won’t find any external Citroen badges on this posh plug-in hybrid SUV, but yeah that’s essentially what we’re dealing with here. And that’s why – spoiler alert – the top spec ‘Ultra Prestige’ DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 4x4 only scores a six out of 10. Prices start at £56,075 and, with just a few optional extras, the 7 we drove was £59,020. Ouch.

There are less expensive trim levels for this E-Tense 4x4 of course, with the ‘Performance Line’ starting at £47,725 and then ‘Prestige’ versions from £50,725. Those are still hefty sums of money though, and no matter what spec you choose you’ll always be paying just under £10,000 more than the equivalent internal combustion-engined DS 7. Plus, the Ultra Prestige trim makes this DS over £5,000 more than the BMW X3 xDrive30e and the Audi Q5 TFSI e. Who’s going to buy this thing?

Crikey. Tell me more about the powertrain then?

Well, it’s a good one. It’s the same system as found in the Peugeot 3008 GT Hybrid4, which means a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to two electric motors (one front, one rear) and a 13.2kWh battery. All-electric range is 34 miles at speeds of up to 80mph, and there’s a useful 296bhp and 384lb ft of torque when all the propulsion systems combine.

That means it does have a fair turn of pace. DS quotes a 0-62mph time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 149mph. As it’s a plug-in hybrid, they also quote between 166 and 235mpg, as well as between 33 and 37g/km of CO2. Efficient. Charging the battery takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes from a 7.2kW wall box and eight hours from a three-pin socket.

That all sounds pretty good to me?

It genuinely is, and the plug-in powertrain suits the 7 to a tee. It’s quiet and refined, even when the combustion engine kicks in, and the eight-speed auto ‘box deals with changes slowly but smoothly.

DS has shunned the traditional sporty approach to SUVs (even though there’s still a completely unnecessary Sport mode) and instead has focussed on comfort. The E-Tense is all the better for it and comes with the firm’s super clever Active Scan suspension as standard.

What does that do, then?

The premise is that the car monitors the road ahead and can individually prepare each wheel to deal with approaching imperfections. It’s genuinely floaty – perhaps a little too much in Comfort mode – but in all other modes it’s supremely well composed, even with 20-inch wheels. That does mean it rolls through corners, but you’re never encouraged to drive the DS 7 in that manner. At motorway speeds there’s a real lack of wind or road noise too. It’s impressively insulated.

In 4WD mode it’ll manage a bit of basic off roading too, although don’t expect full-on overlanding capabilities.

What’s it like on the inside?

Well, the comfort theme continues with huge leather-coated armchairs and plenty of space. The all-out diamond look won’t be for everyone though, and DS has shoved every single feature into the 12-inch infotainment screen. Yep, there’s no manual climate controls here.

It does all look very premium, though, and it’s pretty practical with a 628-litre boot and plenty of space in the rear seats.

What a shame, then, that DS seems to have priced the E-Tense 4x4 out of contention compared to its more mainstream rivals.

6/10

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