The DS 7’s petrol and diesel engines are reasonably perky and don’t drone loudly on the move, but many alternatives are sportier and will be cheaper to run
You can get the DS 7 with one petrol and two diesel engines and – depending on which engine you choose – with either a manual or an automatic gearbox.
The six-speed manual comes exclusively on 130hp 1.5-litre diesel models, although this engine is best avoided unless you’re on a tight budget. Although it’s slightly more efficient than the more powerful 180hp diesel (DS claims it’ll return 68.9mpg), it’s slower and noisier when you accelerate hard. In real-world driving conditions, you can expect it to manage around 55mpg.
The 2.0-litre 180hp version is the best bet if you do lots of long journeys. Not only is it noticeably more nippy than the 130hp version, it’s also more relaxing to drive, quieter at motorway speeds and fast enough to keep up with motorway traffic without feeling overworked. It’ll return around 43mpg in real-world conditions compared to DS’ claimed 57.6mpg.
There’s also a 225hp 1.6-litre petrol model that’ll suit you better if you do mainly short journeys. It can’t match the diesels’ fuel economy at motorway speeds, but it’ll be cheaper to run if you rarely venture out of town. It’s also the quickest DS 7 model you can buy – it’ll sprint from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds, 1.6 seconds faster than the 180hp diesel.
There aren’t any particularly sporty models in the DS 7 lineup but you can get it with ludicrous fake exhausts that would put a Ferrari’s pipes to shame…
Both 180hp diesel and 225hp petrol models come with a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. It’s impressively smooth at slow speeds and changes down quickly when you want to accelerate to overtake slow-moving traffic.
Unlike some SUVs, the DS 7 doesn’t try to feel like a sports car to drive. Instead, it focuses on being as comfortable as possible. You won’t hear too much unpleasant wind or tyre noise at motorway speeds and it irons out bumps around town better than most mid-size SUVs.
It’s especially relaxing to drive if you pick a Performance Line model or above. These come with a clever adaptive suspension system (called Active Scan) that uses hidden cameras to read the road ahead and adjust the suspension accordingly to help it best deal with potholes.
At motorway speeds, this system makes the DS 7 feel especially comfy, but the price you pay for its relaxing cruising ability is how soft it feels in fast corners. Even with Sport mode engaged, its tall body leans more than a BMW, Audi or Mercedes.
If you‘re not interested in sporty handling, you’ll be pleased to hear that the DS is fairly easy to drive around town. Its raised driving position gives you a good view over other cars and the pillars between the windscreen and doors don’t produce any particularly annoying blind spots at junctions.
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to park. The thin rear windscreen makes it tricky to judge how close you are to parked cars and the low-definition reversing camera isn’t a patch on the slick 360-degree surround view system you can get in an X3. At least you get rear parking sensors as standard.
That means the DS 7 doesn’t have the fanciest on-board tech around, but at least you get plenty of high-tech safety kit as standard. Even entry-level cars come with lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and an automatic emergency braking system that’ll hit the brakes if it detects an obstacle ahead. In fact, it’s so safe that the DS 7 earned a maximum five-star safety rating in strict tests by Euro NCAP in 2017.