WITH parent company Citroen producing some well-appointed and high spec motors these days their luxury DS brand cars have to go that extra mile to stand out from lesser siblings.

So I was looking forward to spending a week with the 2023 range-topping DS 7 in La Premiere E-TENSE trim.

The whole DS 7 range has had a mid-life upgrade including a massive new radiator grille and unusual ‘waterfall’ daytime running lights. Its PHEV systems have also been boosted with a larger 14.2kWh battery pack improving maximum electric range from 34 to 43 miles.

And as part of the overhaul DS also introduced our test car, a performance-focused E-Tense 4×4 360 model with 355bhp.

As a result this large SUV has a 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 146 yet, say DS, can return up to 161mpg. There are two other plug-in hybrid systems to choose from with the cheapest front-wheel drive PHEV having 222bhp and the mid-range option with twin electric motors 296 plus four-wheel drive.

There are also diesel versions with 129bhp from a 1.5-litre four-cylinder Citroen/Peugeot sourced unit found in many of their lesser vehicles including vans with prices starting from a little under £37k.

With plenty of premium fittings equipment includes sumptuous leather seats heated and cooled all round with massage features up front plus a pair of screens, including a wide 12-inch central swipe able touchscreen unit for infotainment.

As well as quality switchgear there are a few nice individual touches like a diamond-shaped start button in the middle of the dashboard and a classy analogue clock which rises from the dash top on start up.

With lots of space for passengers and luggage it is all very civilised – especially due to the DS having Active Scan Suspension, which uses a camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror to monitor the road ahead for imperfections sending data to the dampers which iron out bumps and improve ride quality.

The E-Tense 4×4 360 is undoubtedly quick and can see off more sporty cars easily, especially if you use the gear shift paddles behind the wheel – but driving in sport mode gets through the battery power much faster than in comfort setting.

Because the E-Tense 4×4 360 is so much faster than other variants it has lowered suspension, bigger brakes and larger 21-inch alloy wheels with low profile tyres. The brakes are also impressive and handling good for a large SUV.

Taking the DS 7 on a 200 mile round trip to a car launch event in North Yorkshire proved it to be a comfortable cruiser which really does have impressive performance and economy – providing you keep the battery charged so its twin electric motors can help out the 1.6 turbocharged petrol engine.

Every version of the DS 7 is roomy and well-equipped including features like sat nav, smart cruise control, power tailgate, wireless phone charging, 360 degree camera system, auto lights and wipers and a raft of the very latest safety systems.

So it is a lot of car – but for quite a lot of money. Our range topping La Premiere E-TENSE 4×4 360 is a shade under £64,000, but when compared with other premium SUV offerings that’s not bad for this level of performance and luxury.

DS is now well established on UK roads and with this upgraded 7 they are aiming at another segment to win over – I expect we will be seeing them in some numbers in the near future.

For more information see www.dsautomobiles.co.uk

By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth