DS 7 Review 2022 | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear
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The facelifted DS 7 looks smart, rides well, and has a useful electric-only range, but a premium could dissuade many

Good stuff

Facelift has improved looks, interesting cabin style, supple ride

Bad stuff

Not the most engaging to drive, no pure petrol option, rather expensive

Overview

What is it?

The new DS 7. Not new new, because you might recognise it as the DS 7 Crossback, as it was called when it was unveiled in 2017. Since then it's been lightly facelifted, and now goes about its business minus the Crossback badge.

Unfamiliar with DS? Formerly part of Citroen, a few years back the French conglomerate decided to spin it off into a separate brand. Why? Premium players pocket the plumpest profits. Cue some badge engineering, followed by the DS 7; the first DS conceived from the word go to _be_ a DS.

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Rivals include the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes GLA, Jaguar E-Pace, Volvo XC40… you get the gist. None have quite left-field appeal of the DS 7, though.

WHAT’S NEW ABOUT IT?

Well, it wears a rather smart-looking new face, including slimmer LED headlamps and those five vertical light bars on the front corners. A light veil, DS calls it. 

The back end has also received the same treatment, with slimmer LED rear lights and a redesigned boot lid, plus DS lettering in place of the Crossback signature. New alloy wheels complete the uniform, one we reckon it wears rather well.

Inside, the cabin has also had an upgrade with new materials along with a refreshed instrument panel and improved infotainment system, plus voice recognition.

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WHAT’S BEHIND THE FRESH FACE?

The big news here is there’s no longer a pure petrol engine. Instead, you’ve the option of an entry-level 128bhp diesel, plus three plug-in hybrids with 222bhp, 296bhp and 355bhp respectively. That’s your lot.

The lesser-powered PHEV is front-drive only and pairs a 1.6-litre engine and single 109bhp electric motor, while the middling- and upper-powered engines are all-wheel drive and get an additional 110bhp electric motor. All three get a higher-capacity 14.2kWh battery, good for around 40 miles of electric range, with charging taking an hour and 45 minus from a 7kW wallbox. Or seven hours from a three-pin socket.

There’s plenty of tech as standard, including Active Scan Suspension, a camera-controlled damping system that adjusts each wheel independently according to imperfections in the road for improved comfort. It works reasonably well, best on medium-smooth surfaces, though the payoff is increased pitch and roll through corners. Full details over on the driving tab.

DOES IT FEEL PREMIUM?

Well, inside some of the trims, materials and switches are a bit bling, though others rather gorgeous. Materials are fine: leather, metal, hi-res widescreens. The whole confection somehow has the air of a boutique hotel bar. Or maybe bathroom. Minus the porcelain. Head to the interior tab for more.

Don’t expect any sporting pretentiousness: minus the range-topping 355bhp 4WD variant, it’s clearly been designed with comfort in mind, from the plush cabin, that squishy road-reading chassis and the driver aids. It's all the better for it.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Prices start at £36,760 for the diesel DS 7, but if you’re wanting the plug-in hybrid – and the 12 per cent BiK tax rate – you’re looking at £44,190, or £51,890 for the four-wheel drive variants. Head over to the Buying tab for the full lowdown.

What's the verdict?

The facelifted DS 7 looks smart, rides well, and has a useful electric-only range, but a premium could dissuade many

The DS 7 is well-enough executed as a vehicle to barge its way into the mosh pit of rivals. It looks premium (particularly so now given the mid-life facelift), feels premium, and drives pleasingly enough, while its striking, plush cabin and relaxed nature are a relatively distinctive proposition.

The biggest issue is the asking price, which will surely put it out of reach compared to most of its mainstream rivals. Then there’s the depreciation, whether your friends will take it seriously, and whether the DS name has even got the awareness to find the buyers it needs. No pressure.

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