DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE engines, drive & performance

The DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE is a fast and comfortable long-distance cruiser, but it's not as impressive on a twisty backroad as some rivals

DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE
0-62mph Top speed Driven wheels Power
5.9s 149mph Four 296bhp

With almost 300bhp to call on from its 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and dual electric motors combined, the DS 7 Crossback is not short on power and its official performance figures back this up. The presence of two electric motors (one on each axle) means there's a four-wheel-drive mode, which can be turned on and off as needed, although this isn't a genuine off-roader in the mold of a Land Rover Defender by any stretch.

DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

The DS 7 Crossback is an undeniably fast car, with a near-300bhp power output, sub-six-second 0-62mph time and a top speed just a shade under 150mph. Those numbers may well seem like overkill for a family SUV, but they do make sure the French contender isn't left behind by its premium Audi, BMW and Mercedes rivals.

They also mean it deals with a full load of passengers and luggage with ease, and will get up to speed on a motorway slip road, or overtake a slow-moving vehicle, very swiftly. The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox's shifts are smooth, if not the very fastest we've experienced.

A cheaper and less powerful (222bhp) front-wheel-drive version of the hybrid DS 7 is set to join the range by November 2020. We haven't driven it yet, but in similar fashion to the front-drive versions of the closely related Vauxhall Grandland X and Peugeot 3008 hybrids, it could turn out to be a more suitable option for many buyers.

Handling

Plug-in hybrids can sometimes suffer in this department due to the additional weight they carry compared to their purely diesel and petrol counterparts. That issue isn't entirely absent here, but the presence of heavy battery packs mounted low down in the E-TENSE does serve to improve the car's ride quality compared to the standard version, which can get too unsettled by bumpy roads.

Citroen's clever 'Active Scan Suspension' system – which surveys the road ahead with a camera and prepares the suspension to absorb what's coming up – is standard on the DS 7 E-TENSE. We found the technology doesn't work quite as well as claimed, with truly bumpy rural or urban roads tending to overwhelm it a bit; it's very effective on faster main roads or motorways, however, making this car an excellent long-distance cruiser.