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Review – DS 7 E-Tense 4×4 300 in the winter

February 23, 2023

As if the door rubbers were padded with snow, the door plopped shut so softly. The snow slides off the side window and the smooth metal. The start button at the top center of the dashboard flashes its red-lit surround, begging for a touch. One finger pressure is enough. The DS 7 E-TENSE’s 1.6-liter gasoline engine goes into sub-zero work while it’s -10 degrees Celsius outside.

Heat Comfort

Remarkable how quickly heat is already radiating from the grilles along the windshield and melting ice on the outside. This is comfort as well! In the case of the DS 7, it clearly goes beyond the much springier suspension. Comfort is also in the trim, such as the warm-feeling and looking alcantara trim on the dashboard and seats.

And it can be really hot!

Oh yes, seat heating, do we have that too? It appears to be more or less hidden in the menu. Via the large central touch display, it can be found under the climate control control control field. A drop-down menu appears on the left, and in spot three is “chairs. Touching it gives you full-screen graphics of both seats with the option of choosing from three heating modes. The highest one, which is really hot!

The fully electrically adjustable seat is minutely maneuverable into position. The seat is even tiltable and the adjustable front upper leg support allows the seat to be adjusted to thigh length. Move the transmission lever to the D (Drive) position and drive. The DS 7 moves slightly and slips sideways. That’s disappointing! 4×4 is on it anyway, so where is that four-wheel drive? Or is it just too slippery?

Four-wheel drive DS 7 E-TENSE

The all-wheel drive is there, but for maximum effect, simply select 4WD driving mode. That works. The DS 7 gets off the spot without any of the 21-inch wheels slipping. The front wheels are driven by the 147 kW (200 hp) 1.6-liter gasoline engine and the rear wheels by 81 kW (110 hp) electric motors. The combined maximum power is 221 kW (300 hp), hence E-TENSE 300 as the type name.

Empty battery

So much for the numbers. In practice and especially in snow, there is absolutely enough power. Yes also pulling power, as the maximum torque is 520 Nm. There is a condition: when the battery is empty, the electric motors will not always assist to the maximum. Then they will help if needed. Such as, for example, when pulling away on slippery surfaces and in 4WD driving mode.

Plug-in hybrid and cold

A battery? Yes, because you can charge the DS 7 E-TENSE 4×4 300 with a 7.4 kW onboard charger. The plug-in hybrid powertrain allows a purely electric range of 63 km with full battery. At -10, it doesn’t work. The cold limits that to somewhere between 40 and 45 km. Then you shouldn’t turn on the heater briskly either, because you’ll see the range decrease even faster on the road.

Battery management in winter

How do you tackle that battery management in winter and during winter sports? Charging can be done at almost all parking lots at the bottom of the slopes, especially in Switzerland, Austria and France. The facilities are good and the advantage is that you are then also close to the elevator with your car. That saves a lot of walking with those clunky ski boots.

e-Save savings function for electric driving

Is charging not possible and you still want to take advantage of the electric motors, if only to make maximum use of the all-wheel drive? For that, there is the e-Save function in the menu. Then enough battery charge is guaranteed to allow 10 to 20 km of electric driving. Charging is then done en route by the gasoline engine. By the way, the DS 7 also recharges its battery when braking and going downhill with the transmission lever in the B position. Then you don’t have to use the brake pedal to apply the brakes every time. Braking is done on the “motor. A long descent can provide up to 5 km of driving range!

Also read: driving test with video of the DS 7

Help and light for low vision

The DS 7 is generously equipped with driver assistance and safety systems. All very pleasant and especially comfortable in worse weather conditions, although snow-covered sensors, cameras and radar do give up. Then the systems don’t work and you get to see that as a warning on the instrument cluster. So you have to take that into account. What is perfect, however, is the LED lighting with pixels, because even in snowfall, the road in front of you is as well lit as possible, especially the roadsides.

Night vision camera a plus

In low visibility conditions, Night Vision is also a godsend and one of the best ways to increase safety for vulnerable road users. The system makes pedestrians visible on the infodisplay well before they are visible to the eye in the glare of the headlights. This is possible thanks to an infrared camera that records “heat” emitting objects such as people and animals. In the picture, they are nothing more than white moving shadows, but you can see them and anticipate them. In each case, you take your foot off the gas and start braking in advance.

Comfort of rocking carpet

Suspension and shock absorption are the basis of a comfortable car, that’s how. With a French brand like DS Automobiles, you automatically raise the bar automatically. In Comfort, Hybrid and Electric driving modes, the DS 7 moves like a swaying carpet over large bumps and speed bumps. On more flat road surfaces, ridges and pebbles do not seem to exist. In Sport driving mode, the suspension is a bit tighter, but certainly not yet rock-hard and Spartan. Contrary to what this mode suggests, there is no sporty handling like a sports car. It is not the model for that either. The DS 7 is an SUV! A very fine one even and one that stands out for its very good damping of driving noise such as from the tires and from the wind. A comfortable aspect that you appreciate on hours-long rides. You get out less tired. If you use the plug-in hybrid in the most efficient manner, then favorable fuel economy is quite possible, especially on long distances.