DS 7 Crossback E-Tense SUV: second plug-in hybrid revealed

New DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 225 promises 34-mile electric range

  • E-Tense 225 is front-wheel drive
  • More powerful four-wheel-drive E-Tense 300 also available
  • E-Tense 300 is expensive but offers low running costs

The DS 7 Crossback is getting a second plug-in hybrid powertrain called the E-Tense 225. It comes with 222bhp and front-wheel drive, and sits below the 296bhp E-Tense 300 four-wheel-drive version. Prices for the 225 version have yet to be released, but we’d expect it to be significantly less expensive than the E-Tense 300, which starts at £47,725.

The DS 7 is the range-topping model from DS Automobiles – a brand positioned as PSA group's most prestigious marque, placed upmarket of the Citroen, Peugeot and the Vauxhall/Opel brands. On sale since early 2018, the DS 7 has enjoyed considerable exposure providing transport for French president Emmanuel Macron at his inauguration.

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DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 225

A new addition to the range, the 225 uses a detuned version of the same 1.6-litre engine as the 300 and one electric motor instead of two. Total power stands at 222bhp, so this powertrain should be one of the quickest options in the line-up, despite the extra weight of the 13.2kWh battery.

You can drive on electric power at up to 84mph but doing so will quickly deplete the quoted 34-mile range. DS says the car can manage up to 44 miles of range at low speeds, while 201.8mpg and 31g/km are the official efficiency figures - although achieving these in real driving depends on using battery power as much as possible. When the battery has run out, you’ll probably achieve MPG figures in the mid-40s.

Chargers for both a standard plug socket and a 7.4kW wallbox are included, and using the latter sees the battery fully recharged in 1 hour 45 minutes. Like many electrified cars, you can use a smartphone app to preset the cabin temperature before you start your journey.

Thanks to the WLTP test’s favourable official economy figures for plug-in hybrids, the DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 225 offers company-car drivers Benefit-in-Kind tax costs that are about a third of those for the petrol and diesel versions.

DS 7 Crossback E-Tense plug-in hybrid engine and performance

The DS 7 Crossback E-Tense uses a 1.6-litre PureTech petrol engine that develops 197bhp. It's familiar from other models in the DS 7 range, but the E-Tense combines it with two 108bhp electric motors. When all three work together, 296bhp is sent to the wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

That's enough for a claimed 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds, which will be quicker than the 225, but its range and CO2 emissions figures are very similar. Up to 31 miles of range is possible, and it offers a similarly low tax figure for business users.

DS says that it has drawn on expertise gained through its involvement in Formula E racing, particularly in the regenerative braking technology that the E-Tense employs to recover energy that would otherwise be lost during deceleration. This is converted into electricity and then fed back into the battery to extend all-electric range. There's also an 'E-Save' mode that reserves a supply of power to allow the final six or 12 miles of a journey to be completed in electric mode.

It's claimed that the hybrid batteries of the DS 7 Crossback E-Tense can be charged to full power in two hours using a 6.6kW charger, or in eight hours via a traditional mains socket.

Rivals

There are now quite a few plug-in hybrid SUVs on sale, and three of the DS’ rivals come from elsewhere within the PSA Group. The Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid, Peugeot 3008 GT Hybrid and the Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid all get versions of the same hybrid powertrain. Other rivals include the BMW X1 xDrive25e, the MINI Countryman S E All4 Hybrid and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Prices and specifications

DS hasn’t revealed the price for the E-Tense 225 but it has said the car is available with plenty of high-end features, such as level 2 semi-autonomous driving capability, night vision and Active Scan suspension, which uses feeds from the car’s cameras to continuously control each wheel. There are Business and Executive trim levels aimed at company-car drivers, plus So Chic, Performance Line, Performance Line+ and Grand Chic trims. As standard, the rides on 19-inch alloys but 20-inch ones are available optionally.

The E-Tense 300 is only offered in Performance Line, Prestige and Ultra Prestige trim levels, with the latter costing an eye-watering £56,000.

Read our reviews of the DS 7’s main rivals, the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.

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