The cooler, high-end sub-brand of French manufacturer Citroen began marketing the DS as a stand-alone entity three years ago.
The brand is high on ambition running with the ‘big boys’ and trying to prise owners away from the clutch of their beloved Audis, BMWs and Jaguars, but does DS Automobiles and its newly launched DS7 Crossback SUV have enough vive la difference to make us invest?
We reviewed the DS7 Crossback Prestige model with deluxe nappa leather seating, ergonomically designed to shape and hug your back and give you the ultimate driving experience. Step inside, set your driver profile and the car seat will auto-move to your chosen position.
Look around you and the designers have gone all out to make driving the DS7 a luxe experience. The shape of a diamond is echoed throughout the car from the quilted seat stitching, to the dashboard switches and rear light clusters. It feels as if you could have jumped into the cabin of a much more premium sports car and I particularly liked the styling of the centre console which included a slick automatic gearstick and access to both front and rear electric windows switches. DS have kept it chic and simple which is very appealing to the eye.
Va Va Vroom
I headed down the M4 from Swindon to Bath and felt incredibly safe inside the DS7. It grips the road well and gives it some welly with its 225- brake horsepower engine.
Coming off the motorway at Chippenham and heading down the A roads with many a twist and turn its contents barely moved. I deliberately placed my lipstick in the centre console and it didn’t move a fraction the entire journey. It definitely passed the test.
The cockpit includes a 12-inch central HD touchscreen. It’s immersed into the dashboard and unlike many cars, it doesn’t look like a tablet add-on. It operates various functions from the entertainment system to satellite navigation and services such as SOS and DS Assistance. It also offers both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay technology. As I was only keeping the car for the weekend I didn’t set my phone up properly and used my USB cable to connect, but the Apple CarPlay system was seamless, and it even read my text messages in words that sounded like English!
Worried about adhering to the speed limit? The DS7 clearly displays on the digital dash your current speed and the national speed limit where ever you are. You can also use the DS Connected Pilot, a step closer to autonomous driving it regulates the speed and distance in relation to the vehicle in front. It also positions the car precisely in its lane by controlled steering.
DS have invested in their own DS Active LED Vision technology, designed to give high intensity lighting that adapts to all conditions. The visibility at night is superb and it definitely turns some heads as you’re driving along with its three-dimensional signature cluster design.
Practicality to boot
The boot is a fair size (555 litres) and I managed to fit ten Business Exchange magazine sized boxes within it- so safely fits a lot more than your average weekly shop. The seats also flatten easily at the touch of a button for larger items that may need transporting home.
The rear-view cameras provide excellent guidance for reverse parking, but something to get used to is the very small rear window. It’s so small, it’s almost like driving a van.
The DS7 Crossback has the power to become a cult classic. Much like the Mini or Fiat 500 it will appeal to those who favour design and style when choosing a car. Will it convince the die-hard BMW and Jaguar drivers to switch up their keys? That’s left to be decided.
The DS7 is a front-wheel-drive available with a choice of 1.5 and 2.0-litre diesel engines or a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol. Prices start from £28,095. It’s available to test drive now at the South West’s new dedicated DS Centre based in Swindon.
Visit www.swindonautomobiles.co.uk for more.