DS has launched its new DS3 and DS7 Crossback models to the Ireland market and we’ve driven them.
Initially DS was a Citroen sub-brand that had been around for a couple of generations of cars until 2017 when it became a stand alone brand. Despite the passage of time the acceptance of DS as a rival to BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz etc. has be slow. It is fair to say it is no easy task to become a premium player. With the recent formation of the giant Stellantis group the DS brand has its place at the table and more importantly the backing of the World’s fourth largest car maker. DS is aimed squarely at the premium market and while DS cars are on sale globally Ireland has never been an important market. This is reflected in the tiny size of the DS network and the way its cars have and will be sold.
The ultimate plan is to generate a certain wow factor with boutique sales outlets called DS Stores. The first DS Store will be located at Gowan Motors on the Navan road in Dublin. To borrow a word my late Mum would say it will be a ’Swanky’ showroom with an emphasis on stressing teh DS brand’s luxury elements and ethos. Convincing traditional buyers of premium cars will be a hard ask but impressive looking DS product is on the way. The difference with DS this time is Stellantis is a huge automotive conglomerate with bags of cash to invest in its premium brand. DS will have a core four car strategy for Ireland by 2022: DS3, DS7 Crossback, DS9 and DS4 on sale. A badge to get familiar with on DS cars is ‘E-Tense’, which is the name DS uses for its electrified versions (PHEV/EV).
The smallest DS in the range is the DS3 Crossback. The urban crossover has been around the block before and the interesting thing with the latest version (launched in 2019) is the availability of multi-fuel variants. Petrol power will be most popular with diesel available too – but the electric version is most intriguing. I drove an early prototype of the DS3 ‘E-Tense’ on a French Army base a couple of years ago – and its underpinnings now feature in the other Stallantis Group small EVs. The DS3 E-Tense is a great car for the city. With 136hp and a 320km (max) driving range from a full charge of its the 50kWh battery car, the E-Tense has similar driving range to its sister car the Peugeot e208. It looks smart on the outside and inside there are some nice touches but some materials could be of a higher quality to really impress premium buyers. Irish prices for DS 3 Crossback start from €28,990 (on the road price, including delivery charges, exc. metallic paint).
The DS7 Crossback is a mid-sized five seat SUV with lots of cabin space and a great amount of street presence. The DS7 feels more premium than its smaller sibling with more bling available. DS7 has a strong emphasis on comfort and ease of use. Petrol, diesel and PHEV plug-in hybrid versions are available. The PHEV we tested instantly impressed us with smooth effortless power (225hp) and its high quality interior trim grade (Prestige). Like many of the latest PHEVs on sale the big machine is really quite green – falling in to motor tax band A1 with its 32g/km CO2 figure. A 300hp all wheel drive PHEV version is also available. Irish prices for DS 7 Crossback start from €42,695 (on the road price, including delivery charges, exc. metallic paint).
Des Cannon, Managing Director at Gowan Distributors, DS Automobiles Importer in Ireland said: “The DS Automobiles brand has a strong investment in electrification, offering customers a 100% electrified range from its inception in 2019, and from 2025 DS Automobiles it will sell solely E-TENSE models (BEV and PHEV). I am certain that a strong product line up, coupled with our committed retail partner – Gowan Motors, will see the DS Automobiles brand excel in the Irish market over the years to come”.
The imposing DS9 saloon and compact DS4 models will arrive for early 2022. Keep an eye on Motorhub for individual model reviews. The revitalised DS brand seems focussed on taking on a disrupter position in the premium sector.