The cars that the DS7 will ultimately be judged against, the likes of the X3 and Q5, are all known for their capabilities out on the road, and DS has credentials of its own. This DS7 360 model has been lowered by 15mm, which is not a lot, but it’s coupled to a sophisticated suspension system (MacPherson at the front, multi-arm at the rear), and the result is a car that begins to feel surprisingly capable for its size.
It's instantly recognisable that this is a far better car through the corners than the standard DS7. It feels more composed and far more stable through corner entry, and you can rely on it to stick all the way through. Despite its heft as a plug-in hybrid, it feels light on the road. If it's cornering performance that you're after, this is one of the best-handling SUVs you’ll find in the market.
There are five drive modes: Electric, Comfort, Hybrid, Sport and 4x4. Electric gives the entire car a more relaxed feel that carries over into Comfort mode. You’ll notice a softer ride, softer brakes, lighter, less direct steering and a reduced throttle response. Hybrid mode is a middle ground of power from the petrol engine with a similarly laid-back experience through wheel and pedals. Sport mode is where things begin to tighten up. The steering gains a wonderful tactile feel with an ultra-snappy response, while the reaction from throttle inputs becomes more abrupt. In 4x4 mode, you of course gain the benefit of power being sent to all four wheels for a noticeable improvement in stability under braking and on throttle.
Power delivery is smooth and approachable, with plenty of it on tap too thanks to that turbocharged four-cylinder producing 355PS (265kW) and 520Nm (384 lb-ft), it’s easy to keep up the momentum in this car, and long-distance cruising is an absolute pleasure. We will say, however, that there’s very little character coming from an engine that is there to do a job and nothing more.