DS 7 Crossback
The DS 7 Crossback is the first all-new model from the marque since it became an independent brand in 2014. It’s a five-door SUV that offers elegant, premium styling along with a wealth of innovative features. It’s a car to turn heads and one that will challenge many premium rivals.
The goodBeautiful interior, excellent lighting effects and comfortable ride
The badEngines lack a little dynamic firepower
DS 7 Crossback – first drive (2018)
I’ve got a confession to make. Occasionally on lengthy night-time journeys when I’m struggling with the boredom I play a little game entitled ‘identify that car by its tail lights’ and it’s been known to keep me amused for hours on end with all sorts of shapes, sizes and special effects on offer these days.
But now that game has taken on a whole new dimension thanks to the introduction of the first completely-new model since the DS marque went independent in 2014. It’s called the DS 7 Crossback, it’s an athletic yet elegantly styled five-door SUV and the illumination front and back is fantastic.
DS describes the vehicle’s rear lights as hypnotic 3D illuminating scales and it’s difficult to disagree with that description as there is a mesh of diamond shapes bonded together. At night, they look amazing and also have dynamic directional indicators.
The view from the front is pretty spectacular too thanks to the DS Active LED Vision headlamps that emit a purple light when the car is unlocked before pivoting 180 degrees. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all just a gimmick because these are state-of-the-art lights that produce a sweeping beam that adapts according to road conditions and vehicle speed. And this, according to DS, is a first for the automotive world.
There are five lighting modes called Parking, Town Beam, Country Beam, Motorway Beam and Adverse Weather. In addition, there are high beam and dynamic bending lights to complete the package.
But the innovative technology doesn’t end there because the DS 7 Crossback boasts a Night Vision feature. An infra-red camera is concealed within the grille and is able to detect pedestrians or animals up to 100 metres ahead. When something is spotted the driver is alerted via a warning on the dashboard prompting them to react accordingly.
These are a just a few of the stand-out features to discover on the DS 7 Crossback which is priced from £28,050 to £43,535. There are plans for a plug-in hybrid model to be introduced next year which will be priced from £50k.
Customers can select from four generously-equipped trim levels called Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige and Ultra Prestige and the engine choice comes in the shape of two diesel and two petrol powertrains, along with the option of manual or automatic gearboxes.
It has to be said the DS 7 Crossback looks classy from any approach and is a clear indication that the brand has distanced itself from its bygone Citroen links. There is a diamond-effect grille housing the chrome DS emblem, a rippled bonnet, striking alloys, privacy glass and horizontal chrome DS wings – all features that give the car its stand-out athletic appeal.
The interior oozes premium branding through and through with two 12-inch screens. The first is where systems such as the sat nav, multimedia and DS Connect functions are found. The second is a personalised screen located behind the steering wheel. This is where the Night Vision set-up is displayed when activated.
DS has ensured the emphasis is on premium with a plethora of soft-touch materials, Nappa leather upholstery, adjustable ambient lighting features and plenty more besides.
Comfort levels are exceptionally good and some versions offer massaging seats which can be a bonus on longer journeys. In the back, a trio of adults can travel with ease and there is ample leg, head and elbow space to stretch out. The boot is also generously sized with a capacity of 628 litres – a limit that can be increased further with the rear seats dropped flat.
From the second you take you seat inside the DS 7 Crossback it’s impossible not to be wowed by the level of on-board technology and the elegant surroundings. We tested a couple of diesel-powered models and they both performed well.
First up was the 1.5-litre 130hp model mated to a six-speed manual gearbox in Prestige trim. This vehicle was priced at £34,435 (£37,685 with options) and could reach 62mph from a standing start in 10.8 seconds, topped out at 121mph and, according to official figures, can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 68.9mpg with carbon emissions of 107g/km.
The DS 7 Crossback proved itself to be an accomplished all-round performer offering plenty of agility in busy town centres yet sufficient fire-power out on the open road. The advanced suspension system makes light work of any bumpy road surfaces and the cabin is well insulated against noise intrusion. The visibility is excellent and my only slight gripe was the over-complicated process of adjusting the temperature within the car which meant going via the touchscreen.
Next up was the 2.0-litre 180bhp model featuring an eight-speed automatic gearbox in Performance Line. Priced at £36,335 (£38,285 with options), it could sprint from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds, maxed out at 134mph, delivered combined fuel economy of 57.6mpg with CO2 emissions of 128g/km.
This version felt more powerful and responsive as it moved swiftly through the gears. There are varying driving modes to alter the car’s dynamics and handling and, once again, it was difficult to find any major criticisms of the car.
We also tested the Night Vision system after dark and it was very effective. The digital instrument cluster displays the area ahead of the car and a red line highlights any potential dangers such as pedestrians. This acts as an excellent early warning system and is yet another high-tech feature on a car packed with world class technology.
Admittedly, you can get caught up in all the somewhat pretentious naming rituals. For example, varying interior design grades are called ‘inspirations’ and are aptly inspired by great landmarks of Paris – the birth place of DS. There is DS Inspiration Bastille, DS Inspiration Rivoli, DS Inspiration Opera and even the clock is referred to as the BRM R180 timepiece – need I say more!
But that aside, the DS 7 Crossback is a beautifully crafted newcomer that oozes premium design styling, is packed with innovative technology, is fun to drive and also competitively priced. Yes, there are more dynamic rivals out there, but this is a very worthy contender for sales especially if someone is looking to steer clear of the German marques. And don’t forget to look out for those tail lights.