Company Car Today

First Drive

First Drive: DS9

The story: This is the third of what will eventually become a six-model DS line-up. The DS 9 is an executive saloon coming with PHEV or petrol power.
Key rival:Volvo S90
On sale:October 21

The French premium brand DS is expanding its line-up this year, with the DS 4 hatchback coming by the end of 2021, following on from this new DS 9 executive saloon.

The new flagship is being offered with 225hp petrol or 225hp plug-in hybrid power, the latter of which comes with big BiK benefits that will make it the more popular choice for company car drivers that will make up the majority of DS 9 customers.

First Drive - June 2021 - DS 9 - Image 9The brand says it has tried to go the extra mile in terms of interior quality, and it shows. The standard of materials stretches across the entire cabin, rather than reverting to harder plastics for some of the areas out of eyeline. It’s a cabin that can take on the best premium executive saloons, and is part of DS’s plan to exceed rival brands on the car’s specification.

The only thing about the cabin is that some of the detailing is a little form over function, lovely though it looks, and it isn’t always the easiest to find your way around. Ditto the infotainment system which comes via a 12-inch touchscreen that would have benefited from being angled slightly towards the driver.

First Drive - June 2021 - DS 9 - Image 5There is an abundance of space for rear passengers, and the boot is shallow but goes back a long way, and offers 510 litres of space, a figure that of the PHEV premium saloon rivals, only the Volvo S90 can get within 100 litres of.

The 225hp combination of petrol and electric power is potent enough when pushed, and the transition between the two is impressively hard to detect. Otherwise, the driving experience is a slightly more relaxed one that fits with the ethos of the car.

Importantly for company car drivers, the DS 9 has an EV-only range of 33-38 miles, meaning an 11% BiK band that matches all bar Audi’s A6 PHEV, which can offer a range of more than 40 miles.

According to KeeResources, the DS 9 will have a residual value of 32.3%, which isn’t as high as its Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo rivals, although all are covered by 5.5 percentage points.

The DS is commendably quiet on the move, with acoustic and laminated glazing doing an excellent job of muting road and wind noise in particular. Its ride quality is on the softer side, but although it’s generally impressive it can get unsettled by joins in the road.

It’s not exactly at home on twisty roads, although the DS 9 certainly doesn’t feel its expansive size from behind the wheel.

paul barker


First Drive: Volvo XC40 Electric


The verdict

Classy and understated with a lovely interior, refined powertrain and good company car BiK thanks to the PHEV powertrain. The competition is fierce, but the DS 9 has a shot at taking a few sales from the bigger premium manufacturers.