First Drive Review: DS 9 E-TENSE

Independent review by Maxine Ashford

5-minute read

Silver DS 9 Exterior Side Static

First Drive: DS 9 E-TENSE

Explore the key features of the DS 9 E-TENSE in our expert first drive review

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The DS 9 E-TENSE is one of the finest executive cars on the market, offering a spacious interior, advanced technology, and a variety of premium touches.


  • Super stylish
  • Practicality
  • Top level of refinement
  • Multiple driving modes for different experiences
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A new flagship model has been launched into the DS range, bringing Parisian flair and chic to a segment that's generally dominated by German manufacturers.

The DS 9 is a stylish 4-door saloon with plenty of panache inside and out. And with plug-in hybrid technology, which the French carmaker calls E-TENSE, it brings added appeal to the mix.

At launch, there are two power options available – a 222bhp petrol unit or a 222bhp petrol-hybrid option. Customers can also choose between Performance Line+ or Rivoli+ trim levels, both of which are generously equipped.

The DS 9 E-TENSE with plug-in hybrid technology provides a 1.6-litre petrol engine that works in tandem with a 108bhp electric motor.

Driving Experience

The high-end Rivoli+ trim completes the 0 to 62mph dash in 8.3 seconds, tops out at 149mph, and delivers combined fuel efficiency of 176mpg with carbon emissions of 34g/km.

Obviously, the official fuel figure would only be achievable if the car was driven for extended periods of time in EV-only mode, which is limited to approximately 34 miles between charges, depending on the driving style. But with its low CO2 figure, it would make very good sense for the business drivers who complete plenty of miles each year.

When it comes to performance, the DS 9 is beautifully refined, with the petrol-hybrid technology working seamlessly together in the background to deliver the best driving experience.

The acceleration out of the blocks is good, and this car cruises effortlessly, eating up the motorway miles. It does feel quite large in busier town centres, but the DS Park Pilot introduces automatic parking to assist with trickier manoeuvres.

Drive modes called Electric, Comfort, Hybrid, and Sport alter the reactions of the car and the 8-speed automatic transmission is well-timed with steering wheel-mounted paddles for added driver engagement.

There's a real emphasis on comfort within the DS 9 and refinement levels also impress with excellent insulation protecting occupants from engine, road surface, and wind noise, while the efficient suspension set-up smooths out bumps and dips along the way. It does get a little more aggressive in Sport mode, but it’s nice to be able to switch across to Comfort for a more relaxed experience.


There's no denying the DS 9 is a real head-turner.
Maxine Ashford

It oozes style, but not in a garish way, with sleek streamlining, chrome DS wings, dark tinted rear windows, flush fitting door handles, a 3D-effect grille, E-TENSE badging on the bonnet and an E-TENSE monogram on the tailgate, gloss black door mirrors, DS Active LED Vision headlights that follow the direction the steering wheel is turned, and 19-inch Versailles alloy wheels.

Moving inside, the interior is quality and elegant throughout, with fine power-operated leather seats that can be heated and offer a massage function for added comfort.

There's a real sense of premium styling, and creature comforts are plentiful too with the likes of a 12-inch high definition touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 14-speaker sound system, Mirror Screen for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, DAB radio, voice recognition and plenty more besides.


The DS 9 is a large family saloon stretching 4.9 metres in length and 1.8 metres across, so with those dimensions there's plenty of space for back seat passengers to stretch out and bags of storage room too.

The boot can swallow 510 litres of luggage, and the rear seats can be lowered to increase the storage capacity even further. Elsewhere, there's a glovebox, central cubby bin, front and rear cup holders, seat back nets, and door pockets.

The car’s 11.2kWh battery (on E-TENSE variants) is stored beneath the rear seats and can be charged from 0 to 100 per cent in one hour and 45 minutes from a domestic 7kW wallbox.

Although the car is yet to be tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating, it boasts a wealth of safety features and driver assistance aids. These include an extended emergency braking system, blind spot detection, lane keep assist, cruise control with speed limiter, a full suite of airbags, hill start assist, front and rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition and a DS Connect box emergency and assistance system.


All in all, the DS 9 is a welcome newcomer to the bustling executive saloon sector, bringing with it luxurious styling and comfort, impressive handling and a competitive price-tag too. With a range of powertrains on offer, and plenty of interior space for passengers and luggage, the DS 9 is seriously worth considering if you're looking for an alternative to common German rivals.