Restyled DS 7 (2022) E-Tense 4×4 360: does the French sports premium have its legs?

IN SHORT

360 hp, 520 Nm plug-in hybrid engine

0 to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds

57 km of autonomy in 100% electric

1.8 l/100 km and 40 g of CO2 per km

From €68,700

The DS 7 Crossback was DS’s best seller in France, before the arrival of the new DS 4, the brand’s compact sedan. In 2022, it remains behind it in terms of sales, and it is an important model for the very young French premium brand, which is still struggling to carve a brand image, although there are product that, in our opinion, is suitable today. more than yesterday.

In any case, this DS 7 Crossback comes to a little more than the middle of its career, and it is time to give it a few strokes of the scalpel. Finished today. By the way, it lost its name “Crossback” to become DS 7 for short. We are told that in any case, almost no one expresses this qualitative…

But it has also won the transmission of a state-of-the-art version, which takes the mechanics already seen under the bonnet of the flagship of the DS 9 range, but also under … the Peugeot 508 PSE (Peugeot Sport Engineering). After testing the 225 hp plug-in hybrid version, which is the best seller, here is the test of this “sporty” model, or rather GT we should say, with 360 hp and a 4×4 transmission.

The DS 7 Crossback before restyling.
The DS 7 in a nutshell, after the restyling.
The DS 7 in a nutshell, after the restyling.

For the playground, the small streets of the hinterland of Nice. The road of Napoleon in particular, a real potential that reveals the qualities or faults of the chassis of the car, by winding it, narrow, sometimes mountainous side. And the views are even more beautiful.

But first we start from Nice at the wheel of this modified and corrected DS 7. Passers-by will then observe that it is undeniably modern. This is no small change in the face we are dealing with. At the front, the grille has been enlarged, and there are “diamond point” inserts, the improved DS wings, the modified shield. And the optics adopt matrix LED technology, called “Pixel vision 3.0” by DS.

At the front: grille, optics, shield, daytime running lights, everything has been changed.
At the front: grille, optics, shield, daytime running lights, everything has been changed.
At the rear, the tailgate has been redesigned, the lights have been refined, the mention
At the rear, the tailgate has been redesigned, the lights have been refined, the words “DS cars” can be seen between the lights.

But most of all, the daytime running lights have completely changed. A small vertical garland of LEDs gives way to the “DS light veil”. Clearly, this laser-engraved surface, painted on your body inside but allowing the light of 33 LEDs to pass through 5 translucent spaces on each side, gives personality. We don’t want it or we don’t like it, but it’s noticeable, like the Z-shaped daytime running lights of the little sister DS 4.

The new daytime running lights
The new “DS Light Veil” daytime running lights are a very distinctive feature of this restyled DS 7.

At the back, and this is hardly noticeable, the tailgate has been redesigned (but not the bumper, for once). It is not very smooth, the folds of the body are visible under the bezel and under the lights, themselves refined.

Inside, the changes are more subtle. The multimedia screen, still 12 inches, has an enlarged usable surface and a new operating system called “DS Iris system”. We already know it, it equips DS 4. More fluid, more reactive, configurable, it actually improves the multimedia experience, with more improved voice recognition. Of course, it offers full connectivity. As for the digital instrumentation in front of the driver, it shows better graphics.

There are no major changes in the cabin.  The presentation is still luxurious, the extended skin has a new and attractive relief embossing, the screen has an enlarged useful surface.  But the ergonomics are still very special.
There are no major changes in the cabin. The presentation is still luxurious, the extended skin has a new and attractive relief embossing, the screen has an enlarged useful surface. But the ergonomics are still very special.

We still rail against the ergonomics of the controls, which have many actions to perform to adjust the air conditioning, the window lift buttons still located on the central console, or the volume buttons on the steering wheel which is located on the left, while the controls for the radio are on the right, go figure…

The rear room is still very high for the size, and the boot volume shows 541 liters with the seat back and 1,752 liters with the bench seat folded, very good values.

The back seat is comfortable, the leather is of good quality, and the legroom is generous for the size.  The easement tunnel is a bit cautious and a bit inconvenient.
The back seat is comfortable, the leather is of good quality, and the legroom is generous for the size. The easement tunnel is a bit cautious and a bit inconvenient.
The trunk volume of 541 liters with the seat back in place is also generous.  The chair is folded, the floor is uneven.
The trunk volume of 541 liters with the seat back in place is also generous. The chair is folded, the floor is uneven.

A larger hybrid battery

But we don’t curse too much against the joy of driving on 100% electricity. This way we start our test, in an urban area. In the program, silence, response, enough power offered by the two electric motors with which this version is equipped. It is the same as the E-Tense 4×4 300, which is an electric block in the gearbox (110 hp) and a block in the rear axle (113 hp). In 4×4 drive mode, selected by a button on the center console, they work together. In comfort mode, the rear axle is deactivated.

The autonomy promised at 100% electric is 57 km for this E-Tense 360. And good news, with the restyling, the gross capacity of the hybrid battery has been improved, from 13.2 to 14.2 kWh (from 11.9 to 12.9 useful kWh) . It recharges at best in about two hours in a suitable socket, thanks to the integrated 7.4 kW charger. However, there is no fast charging in the program.

This 57 km, is difficult to achieve in real life. We saw about 45 km before restarting the thermal, the well-known 1.6 Puretech, here in the 200 hp definition.

If the 3 engines work in concert, as it happened before, once outside the city, the cumulative power is 360 hp, the cumulative torque of 520 Nm (as in the 300 hp version). And the show is no laughing matter. 0 to 100 km / h is shot in 5.6 seconds, 1000 m standing starts in 25.4 seconds, the maximum speed is set at 235 km / h. It is very close to an Audi Q5 55 TFSI e of 367 hp, which informs 5.3 s. for 0 to 100 km/h, and 239 km/h.

By the way: this athlete has legs!

But this DS 7 with the heart of an athlete also works its legs. In fact, the chassis is specific, and sharper than others. The tracks are widened, by 24 mm at the front and 10 mm at the back, the suspensions are strengthened, including in comfort mode, the ride height is lowered by 15 mm and the brakes are raised. Its diameter is from 330 to 380 mm. The anti-roll bars have also been revised for a better compromise with body maintenance.

On the road, the DS 7 E-Tense 4x4 360 shows more dynamic behavior and consistent performance.  But he was not a sportsman.  It is typed as GT.
On the road, the DS 7 E-Tense 4×4 360 shows more dynamic behavior and consistent performance. But he was not a sportsman. It is typed as GT.

Finally, the 21-inch rims are fitted as standard with the excellent Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, which offers a formidable grip.

We saw this by speeding up the winding route of the Ruta Napoléon. Now, yes, the legendary comfort of the DS 7 is stronger. The suspensions knock the fittings a little. The “flying carpet” effect in other versions is no longer relevant here. But to be honest, it’s still very livable, not comfortable, just sturdy. And this is especially the case in the Sport mode, while the comfort mode remains slower for the seats.

Pushing 360 hp is not violent. Like the 300 hp version, it still feels like a few horsepower is missing. We already noticed this in DS 9, it doesn’t change here. But the fact remains that the needle of the speedometer still rises with great ease, accompanied by a noise that unfortunately has nothing flattering about it. On the contrary.

The behavior is precise, the body roll is controlled, the braking is powerful.  This revised chassis level DS 7 is a joy at the wheel.  We can drive fast and well.
The behavior is precise, the body roll is controlled, the braking is powerful. This revised chassis level DS 7 is a joy at the wheel. We can drive fast and well.

In any case, the grip is impressive, you go through the curves at surprising speed, especially for an SUV with a higher center of gravity. In 4×4 mode, the overshoot when exiting a curve is more relaxed, with a trajectory that is wider than in comfort mode, where the DS 7 tends to pull straighter.

Braking is powerful. However, it is necessary to use strong pedal pressure, because at the start of the race, the braking is very light. The steering is soft at low speeds but firms up nicely as the pace picks up. He is very accurate. The platform, which is also used for the Peugeot 3008 for example, has always been known for that. He is dynamic. And the Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC suddenly appear heavier and less nimble.

Consumption is hard to measure, but it seems about right

And consume it all? Well, it’s not easy to measure. As we said, we traveled 45 km in all-electric mode. Then we switched to hybrid mode. And with a hard trip, it settles the empty battery at more than 8 liters per 100 km.

After the lunch break, and leaving with a 100% charged battery and staying in hybrid mode, we found more than 5 liters on average. Numbers that will still depend on your routes, and the frequency of your recharge.

Finally, we finish the equipment. Our trial version in Opera finish is billed at €74,800. It is expensive, very expensive in absolute terms. But it must be said that the endowment is more complete: all driving aids are available, including level 2 autonomous driving. electric tilt, hands-free electric tailgate, inductive phone charging, connected navigation, smartphone connection of course, the chassis is controlled by a camera that scans the road and automatically adjusts the damping (in comfort and 4×4 mode), the panoramic sunroof, the 360° reversing camera, the BRM rotating watch, etc, etc.

So if you put the competition at the same level of equipment, it’s more expensive, which helps pass the pill.

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