Today, it’s time to start with similarities between our two
test cars. Because, there are a lot of them. Both cars are equally sized and they both have a new hybrid
drivetrain producing 300 horsepower, which lets them both… sprint from 0-100 km/h in around six seconds and enables them
to drive around 50 km’s fully electric at a maximum of 135 km/h. Charging them is done with some sort of extra fuel filler cap
on the left side of the car. Again, in both cases. Then, there are the exterior similarities. They might not show from this
angle, but if we look at them from this way, it’s a lot clearer. Take the bootlid for example, which houses the rear lights in both cars.
That means an extra light unit in the rear bumper was necessary. But, when we open the tailgate, the first big difference becomes apparent.
The DS 7 only has 401 litres of luggage space, whilst the Audi fits 465. Another difference is the fact I’m not able
to stand underneath the bootlid, whilst I can with the Audi. However, what the DS does have and the Audi doesn’t, is this double
floor. Good to see that the E-tense still has that storage space. It does come with this charging kit, which doesn’t fit underneath the floor
because it’s a tad too high. On the other hand, the Audi has a similar kit. On the rear seat, the space is – again – very similar in both cars.
However, the headroom isn’t very royal, especially in the DS. On the other hand, the DS 7 does have a fully flat floor, whilst the
Audi has a big middle tunnel which hinders the middle passenger. Also, the DS scores points with this very version having an electrically
adjustable back rest on the rear seat. However, the headrest does poke… in your back, something lots of PSA-products suffer from.
This DS 7 unfortunately is no exception. So where the numbers are pretty similar, the way those
numbers are produced, aren’t. The DS 7 has two electric motors, one per axle so it has
four-wheel drive. The Audi however, has only one electric motor. It’s placed between the engine and the gearbox, and the engine
we’re talking about is the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine. And it’s connected to a double-clutch seven speed automatic
gearbox, and they work together perfectly. Sure, you can hear the combustion engine kicking in,
but you won’t feel it at all. I do have to say that the car drives at its best when its fully charged,
like most plug-in hybrids. That way you can drive it on electric power… which makes it quieter than with
the combustion engine turned on. Despite this drivetrain making it a rapid car, it doesn’t make it sporty.
A familiar story if you’ve seen other Audi’s being tested by us. Again, this just isn’t sporty. It has distant steering, it’s pretty heavy
because of the drivetrain… I mean, we’re talking 2.000 here. You’ll notice that, but because of the air suspension, it won’t cause any
problems for you. Instead, it reminds you it’s a car built for comfort… and not for slamming around corners and such. This generation of Q5 was released in 2016, so it still has the old
MMS-system. No double touchscreen like in the A6, but a singular screen on the dashboard which is operated by a
turning knob in the center console. Personally, I really like that, but opinions are split. If you ask me,
it’s handy because you don’t have to raise your hand to find a certain… function while you’re driving. You do notice it’s kind of an aged system.
The screen is relatively small according to today’s standards, and because the amount of functions is limited compared to newer cars.
Something which isn’t limited at all however, is the digital instrument cluster. We already know it from other Audi’s, and it shows so much information
that it’s almost too much. You can configure it however, so you can choose for a more relaxed layout, but as a whole,
it’s a tad too much for me. Still, that has its advantages, because you’ll… always know how much charge you’ve got left and how much
petrol you still have. Always handy. In the DS, the atmosphere is totally different than in the Audi.
No strict German, boring looks, but a true free-range designer-paradise. And it’s something you like, or you don’t. I can imagine lots of people
choose this over a Q5, which is a tad boring, but DS does go a little far… in designing their interiors. Almost as if they overdesign it. Take this
little clock which appeas when you start the car. Is it good looking… or is it a bit too posh? It’s up to you. On the other hand,
it does give you the feeling you’re driving something special. At the same time, it’s not great when we’re talking ergonomics.
We’ve complained about the window controls before, which are over here. You can have an opinion on that,
but it does look special. I also don’t like the seating position. The pedals are too much towards
the seat, or the steering wheel is too far away from me. It kind of forces me in a position which isn’t really nice to sit in. Then there’s the touchscreen. It’s bigger than in most PSA-products
and it looks a tad more premium, but that’s because it shines a tad more. However, you’ll quickly know it’s the same system found in other PSA-cars.
Maybe it’s a tad more comprehensive, but it’s pretty much the same. That also means it has the same disadvantages, with the biggest being
the slowness of the system. Especially annoying because you have to… get into the touchscreen for lots of functions. The Audi just has a button
for the heated seats, whilst in here I first have to touch the seat-tab, then I can set the heated seats to my preference and then I have
to go back to the original menu. Quite a lot of moves, which becomes annoying in time
because of the slow system. Of course, it has a digital instrument cluster as well, and the
remarkable thing is that it’s clearer than in the Audi. Quite the achievement, because it has a more creative design. However,
that also has a drawback. You can’t show as much information at once. The electric motor and combustion engine work together nicely
in here as well. You almost don’t know when they switch. However, the brakes sometimes feel a tad unnatural and a bit
spongy, but that’s because it has to regenerate. The combustion engine I’m talking about isn’t a 2.0-litre however,
but a 1.6-litre used in lots of other PSA-products as well. It’s connected to another well-used product by PSA,
an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The combination makes sure this is the quickest DS 7 available,
by quite a distance. It even feels a tad quicker than the Q5. However, when you put your foot down, the car shakes a little bit.
That doesn’t feel very good, so you won’t be motivated to do that often. That isn’t a big problem, because this car is purely aimed at comfort.
Something DS admits by saying there won’t be any sporty versions of this. DS has always been about comfort. And for this, they won’t use air
suspension. Instead, they have the unique DS Active Scan Suspension. That system scans the road ahead and changes the dampers accordingly.
Something you don’t really notice when you’re driving along, but it’s clear the DS is a car which processes imperfections very well.
Although, it sometimes heaves a little bit too much if you ask me. So that the DS 7 is a tad less refined than the Audi should mean
the Audi takes the victory right? The Audi is the better car, objectively. Well, not quite. There’s more than that. First of all, it’s a very
big matter of taste. If you like the looks of the DS, you’ll probably… won’t like the Q5. And then there’s the biggest difference. The price. This
DS 7 E-Tense has a lower entry price than the Q5, but when you equip them similarly, the difference is bigger