The DS 7 model is officially the oldest in the portfolio of the separate DS Automobiles brand, and it must be added that it is also the best-selling car. With the recent modernization, when small things were picked up in the car and a better info system was deployed, a new engine saw the light of day, which was previously intended exclusively for the flagship sedan DS 9 – the spiritual successor of the divine DS 19.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

After the facelift, the car received more significant retouches at the front and rear.

It is a 4 × 4 plug-in hybrid system consisting of a 200-horsepower, turbocharged 16-liter gasoline engine, which scores together with two electric motors of 110 and 112 horsepower. However, the performance does not add up, but the default value is 360 horsepower and mainly 520 Nm of torque, which is ready from low revs through the automatic eight-speed transmission.

In practice, this means that when you step on the gas pedal, the car shoots forward quite briskly. Thanks to the fact that its accumulator keeps a certain energy reserve just for these situations, a similar acceleration can be achieved even in cases where the digital instrument panel shows 0% juice.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Two plug-in hybrid motors are offered as part of the top. One has 300 horsepower, while the other has 60 extra horses.

Although the automaker also offers a cheaper 300-horsepower 4 × 4 variant, which achieves the same torque of 520 Nm, the tested top-of-the-line version with 360 horsepower behaves a little differently during standard driving.

Usually, other DS 7 plug-in hybrids begin to recover weakly after you take your foot off the gas, but the 360-horsepower model, on the other hand, relies on inertial driving and sometimes lets the internal combustion engine run (as needed) to charge the battery more efficiently. However, this difference probably won’t interest you when choosing the top specification called E-Tense 360 ​​4 × 4, but the design changes might.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The wider stance of the car is complemented by a chassis lowered by 15 mm.

These move this otherwise comfortable SUV into the luxury-sport category, as the car will offer a 15 mm lower chassis, a 24 mm wider wheel track at the front and 10 mm at the rear. There are also larger front brakes with a diameter of 380 mm and four-piston calipers from the workshops of the DS Performance racing studio.

Elegant in high heels

The result is immediately visible. You can already see with the naked eye that the car sits proportionally more low to the ground and has a wider track, which is further enhanced by the giant 21-inch alloy wheels with low-profile 245/35 tires.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The car wears large 21-inch alloy wheels.

This concept has a difference both in its unconventional appearance, especially when we add the already avant-garde design of the DS 7 itself, and also in its driving characteristics, as it transforms an otherwise comfortable SUV into something that is far more confident in corners regardless of higher speed.

In short, the chassis allows the driver to go into wilder maneuvers, more dynamic passes, gives him a greater sense of control and greatly reduces rocking. But it also has a dark side. Although the stiffness of the shock absorbers in comfort mode is controlled by a camera scanning the road, the car loses comfort. In short, it is harder, stiffer and shows more unevenness. And in general, reducing the chassis goes against the original SUV philosophy, which generally applies to comfortable cars.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Chassis? Noticeably harder than the standard model. You know, big wheels and lowering.

On the other hand, with their boom, various variants of SUVs began to appear, so it is actually not surprising that a clientele has been found that sacrifices part of the comfort in the name of agility. After all, even Ferrari or Lamborghini ventured into this world and took their sports utility vehicles to extremes.

Driving reality

We also looked at the 360-horsepower DSka in terms of consumption (September, October), when with regular charging it was possible to achieve a combined fuel appetite of around 4-5 liters per hundred. In pure electric mode, thanks to the innovative battery (supplier LG Chem) with a gross capacity of 14.2 kWh (usable 12.9 kWh), the car can travel between 35-45 kilometers per charge (during the test period).

Photo: Jiří Cermák

You can charge your car from an AC station or wallbox in less than two hours, from the mains (14A) it will take 4 hours, i.e. 8 hours (8A mains).

If we were to reach optimal conditions, according to the WLTP homologation tests, it is possible to drive 100 km with full batteries for 1.8 liters of gasoline, or up to 57 kilometers on electricity alone.

On the other hand, the actual range of 57 kilometers on a single charge is not unrealistic, but it does require driving skill, some downward gradient, sometimes also limiting the functions of comfort appliances and frequent coasting.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Director Béatrice Foucher herself pushed the most powerful drive into the DS 7.

After the modernization, the DS 7 thus brings a new top-of-the-line variant intended for fans of sportier SUVs, which DS director Béatrice Foucher herself pushed into production. And as it seems, it was a good move, even in the Czech Republic.

If we look at the sales composition of the DS 7 in our country, half of it consists of four-cylinder 1.5-liter diesels and the other half of the plug-in hybrids E-Tense 4 × 4 300 and 360, with the fact that the clientele is switching to the brand primarily from Mercedes. Another direct rival of DS Automobiles in our country is Volvo, which shares a similar philosophy, but also Lexus, which, like DS, bets on craftsmanship.

However, a look at the domestic statistics will show which of these four is leading this year in the Czech Republic in terms of total sales of new passenger cars. For 1-9/2023, according to SDA statistics, it is Mercedes-Benz (6,486 units), the second is Volvo (2,077 units), the third is Lexus (1,079 units) and the fourth is the young, since 2014 independent brand DS Automobiles (181 units ).

In any case, the cheapest way to buy an avant-garde seven with a diesel is from 1.1 million crowns. Furthermore, only plug-in hybrids are now available for Europe, namely the E-Tense 225 front-wheel drive from 1.45 million, the E-Tense 300 4 × 4 four-wheel drive from 1.6 million crowns and the top-of-the-line E-Tense 360 ​​4 × 4 from 1.88 million crowns.

Specifications DS 7 E-TENSE 360 EAT8 4×4
Motor turbocharged gasoline inline four-cylinder
Electrification 2x electric motor
Displacement volume 1 598 ccm
Performance 147 kW (200 hp) at 6,000 rpm.
Torque 300 Nm at 3,000 rpm.
Front electric motor 110 is 320 Nm
Rear electric motor 112 is 166 Nm
The combined performance of the hybrid system 360 hp and 520 Nm
Transmission automatic, 8 degrees
Tree 4×4
Operating weight 1 960 kg
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 5,6 s
Maximal speed 235 km/h
Combined consumption (standardized) 1.8 l/100 km
Fuel tank volume 43 l
Battery capacity 14.2 kWh (use 12.9 kWh)
Electric range 57 km
Charging AC 7,4 kW
Wheels and tires 245/35 R21
Dimensions (length/width/height) 4 593/1 906/1 625 mm
Wheelbase 2 738 mm
Trunk volume 555/1 752 l