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 Ultra Prestige PT 225 Auto
Every day the routine journeys are taking longer with gridlocked roads a common experience. But as you sit in the queues of traffic inching forward bit by bit, it’s the perfect opportunity to take in the surrounding cars. You soon realise we are under siege by SUVs.
They come in all shapes and sizes with all sorts of defining features. There’s 2WD or 4WD, soft roaders or serious mud pluggers, five or seven seaters along with budget models or ultra-expensive versions from the premium marques.
My latest test car was at the higher end of the scale although not outrageously pricey. It was from DS which is the prestige arm of the PSA Group and while the brand once carried Citroen badging and chevrons on its vehicles, it branched out on its own back in 2014.
Our DS 7 Crossback was the first all-new model following that breakaway move and it’s certainly worthy of its flagship title. It looks stunning, is packed with luxurious features and delivers superb driving dynamics too. It’s also a practical car so ticks yet another vital box for SUV hunters.
It was priced at £44,280 which included an extra £550 for metallic paint, and powered by a lively 1.6-litre 225hp petrol engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Our range-topping Ultra Prestige car could reach 62mph from a standing start in a very respectable 8.3 seconds and topped out at 141mph. According to official figures, it delivers a combined 47.9mpg with carbon emissions of 135g/km.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the DS 7 Crossback is a great looking car and is easily recognisable thanks to very distinctive lighting. From the rear, the tail lamps feature 3D illuminating scales with a mesh of diamond shapes bonded together. Up front there are DS Active LED Vision headlights that emit a purple glow when the car is unlocked before pivoting 180 degrees into action. These state-of-the-art lights deliver fabulous visibility at night with a sweeping beam that adjusts according to the road conditions.
Other design cues that help the DS 7 Crossback stand out are a blacked-out grille with the DS emblem taking pride of place, chrome wings leading into the light clusters, a panoramic sunroof, tinted windows and 20-inch Tokyo black Onyx diamond-cut alloy wheels.
Step inside and it’s impossible not to be wowed by the beautifully styled and spacious cabin that oozes elegance and sophistication at every turn. The luxurious quilted leather seats can be power adjusted and heated or ventilated. They have memory settings plus a massage function to take the strain out of a long day in the office.
There are four interior design trims to choose from and our top-of-the-range version was called DS Inspiration Opera which refers to the opulence of the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris, so expect a car dripping with luxury and you won’t be disappointed.
For example, there is ambient lighting with a wide choice of colours and brightness settings, along with plenty of soft-touch surfaces and neatly decorated door inserts. And, of course, there is a wealth of techno treats to explore, including a 12-inch HD touchscreen, an eight-speaker FOCAL sound system, Mirror Screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, plus a really smart BRM timepiece (clock) that folds neatly away into the top of the dashboard when the ignition is turned off.
The touchscreen is easy to use and there is a row of quick-key buttons at the bottom that offer shortcuts to functions such as the climate control, navigation and music options.
Comfort levels within the car are very high and there’s oodles of space in the back for two or three passengers to stretch out in style with ample leg, head and shoulder room. The rear seats can also be power adjusted for extra comfort and the cabin has a bright, airy feel thanks to the panoramic sunroof that allows light to flood through.
So the DS 7 Crossback looks the business and is packed with all the technical wizardry you could wish for. But how well does it perform out on the open road? The answer is very well indeed.
It offers a refined driving experience with very little road surface, engine or wind noise filtering through into the car. The acceleration through the gears is both smooth and responsive with steering wheel-mounted paddles to manually change gear if you want. There are different driving modes called Eco, Normal, Comfort and Sport that alter the way the car handles, with Sport proving great fun out on the faster country lanes where the road holding was ultra grippy and there was little sign of any body sway into bends.
The boot is generously sized and accessed via a powered tailgate. It has a capacity that ranges from 628 litres to 1,752 litres with the 60:40 split folding rear seats dropped flat and there is additional storage room beneath the boot floor. Throughout the cabin, there are further storage options including a deep central bin, a practically-sized glovebox, door pockets, a handy tray in front of the gear lever, nets in the back of the front seats, along with front and rear cup holders.
Safety is vitally important in all vehicles, especially those that will regularly be used to transport the family and the DS 7 Crossback secured a maximum five-star rating when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety score. Features include the likes of lane departure warning, lane keep assist, driver attention warning, blind spot detection, traffic sign recognition, hill start assist, a reversing camera and a full suite of airbags.
All in all, the DS 7 Crossback is another very worthwhile and welcome contender pitching for sales in the bustling SUV sector. It looks fabulous, drives beautifully, is packed with technology and will definitely appeal to anyone who wants to get away from the high-volume sellers.
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.