Named after the original Citroen model from 1955, DS has been in the market of producing designer hatchbacks and superminis since the name was revived by Citroen back in 2009.
Now as a standalone, this is DS’s first attempt at an SUV in its eight-year history, and rather than being a rebadged Citroen with different design features, this is a fully original model.
Although DS hasn’t always set the senses racing, the DS 7 is looking to change opinions of the French moniker and with its stylish looks that could well be the case.
But can it compete with other designer SUVs, such as the Volvo XC40 and BMW X3? We find out…
Out of the three engines on offer from launch, we tested the most powerful diesel unit – a 174bhp 2.0-litre that is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. When getting up to speed it didn’t feel particularly refined and felt a bit grumbly at lower speeds. Beyond that however, and the serene nature of the interior is restored as the engine quietens down and feels much nicer to drive.
Acceleration to 60mph takes 9.8 seconds, and it can go on to a top speed of 134mph.
The smaller 1.5-litre diesel offers 128bhp and is paired with an older six-speed manual, while the most powerful engine on offer – a 219bhp petrol engine – also comes with the eight-speed automatic transmission.
Ride & Handling
Although it can be difficult to set, when you get the driving setup just right the DS 7 is a well-balanced, comfortable cruiser that can cope with most road surfaces. With the help of the innovative Active Scan Suspension system – which scans the road ahead to adapt the ride setup – and comfort mode, the DS 7 is superb for long-range driving and handles well, too.
There will be problems if you go for the nicer-looking but larger 20-inch alloys or take the car out of comfort mode, as the ride feels unsettled and not particularly pliant. Body roll can also be an issue, but it usually remedies itself quickly. Just leave the car in comfort and apply it with 18- or 19-inch alloys – that is the DS 7’s sweet spot.
Interior & Equipment
This is where the Crossback shines, as the interior space and finish is up there with some of its top rivals. Yes, we tested the higher spec Prestige model, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is well-designed and well-thought out – with good quality materials to boot.
Although German rivals are still out of reach, DS has improved massively with this model as it comes with quilted leather seats and a central console dominated by two screens – which look brilliant and are very clear.
With the Prestige model we tested, the DS 7 comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, chrome badging and detailing, DS’s advanced safety pack – which includes lane keep assist, blind spot detection and traffic sign recognition – front parking sensors and a rear reversing camera. Inside you get crystal control switches, a leather steering wheel, electric ventilated massage front seats and wireless smartphone charging.
The base Elegance does come with a high trim level considering its starting price, so it doesn’t mean that you have to splash the cash to get a decent DS 7.
Prices for the Crossback start from £28,050, but the Prestige version we tested was £39,335. That puts it in the range of the lower spec Audi Q5 and BMW X3, and in many areas the DS 7 at that price point is a better car to own – although quality is slightly lagging.
Running costs in the one we tested are quite reasonable too, as the top-spec diesel can return 58mpg and emits 128g/km of CO2 – which for an SUV of that size isn’t bad at all.
Although the brand’s reputation may not draw customers in, the looks and drive surely will. It is near the level of the Skoda Kodiaq and even the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 in higher specs. Even though the diesel engines can sound and feel grumbly, they settle down and drive well, and the accessories on offer on the inside help make the DS 7 Crossback a model well worth looking at.