Car review – DS 9 E-Tense 225

French premium between two segments

The DS 9 is as large as an Audi A6, but prefers to take on the BMW 3-Series and consorts, while almost boasting the comfort of an S-Class.

 

Original doubter

With its 2,900mm wheelbase and total length of 4.93 metres the DS 9 fits perfectly in the E-segment. Still, DS claims the 9 should rather be seen as a competitor in the premium D-segment, where the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C-Class hold sway.

When it comes to looks, the DS 9 doesn't have to acknowledge the superiority of its German rivals. Its silhouette is perhaps a bit plain, but the diamond-inspired snout features a lot of nice design touches that make it something rather special. In profile it resembles an elongated four-door coupe, although you needn't fear a lack of headroom in the back.

 

New and yet recognizable

The stately and sophisticated look of the body is reflected in the interior by chic materials, striking accents and a large central display. Most things are operated digitally, but fortunately there are still a few physical buttons.

Certain PSA ingredients clearly come to the surface, such as the infotainment. It is certainly up to the task, but in terms of speed, graphics and ergonomics it doesn't distinguish itself from the Peugeot 508’s and therefore can't match the latest systems from Germany. Also, the control satellite for the cruise control is still on the left side under the steering wheel, so you have to operate it by touch.

 

The ultimate grande routière

Apart from that the DS 9 is very pleasant to drive. In the Rivoli version with Opera Pack, the cabin is lined with Nappa leather as far as the eye can see. The seats - with built-in heating, cooling and massage in the front and rear - feature a very graceful watch strap motif, while the door panels and dashboard are adorned with fine stitching.

Truly amazing is the level of comfort achieved by the DS 9. The interior is very quiet and the seats are a blessing for your bum and your back. The astonishing filtering capability of the suspension also does its part. An S-Class with air suspension is the nec plus ultra, but this much more modest Frenchman digests cobblestones, transverse seams and speed bumps almost as easily thanks to the standard Active Scan Suspension.

PHEV only

On most European markets the DS 9 is only offered as an E-Tense Plug-in hybrid. You can choose between 225hp (front wheel drive) and 360hp (all-wheel drive). The E-Tense 225 fits perfectly with the rather sedate vocation of the DS 9. Thermal power is provided by a 1.6 turbocharged petrol engine, which is supported or relieved by an electric motor in the eight-speed automatic transmission.

The battery is 11.9kWh in size and provides 48 emission-free kilometres according to the WLTP. The CO2 emissions are at least 33 g/km according to the same standard. This makes the DS 9 fiscally interesting. It is a pity that the petrol engine with its 180hp comes with a BIV (TMC) of €2,478, though.

Those who want a chic plug-in hybrid saloon with more space than a BMW 320e or with more equipment than a BMW 520e should definitely consider this unique French limousine. Only the infotainment is sub-premium.

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      +Amazing comfort

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      +Luxurious, spacious interior

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      -Sub-premium infotainment -Ergonomic choices