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DS 7 Crossback – Test Drive Review

DS 7 Crossback – Test Drive Review


Ex-motor racing driver and award winning Motoring journalist, John Swift, takes the new DS 7 Crossback for a spin.

IF you don’t know the DS brand yet, it‘s a division of Citroën which caters for those who want a more extreme experience of its performance or luxury cars.

The new DS 7 Crossback is firmly in the luxury camp with some hi-tech touches, but enters among the most competitive of all markets and with newcomers from Jaguar and Volvo throwing their hats into the ring, alongside established names from Audi and BMW the Crossback has a battle on its hands.

DS7 Crossback in metallic orange driving through the country

Styling: 4/5

It is not so much the overall shape which is pure big SUV as the little `surprise and delight’ details which catch the eye.

For instance, the three individual elements of the LED headlamp unit swivel round as you start the car. I’m not sure what the point is, but a DS press officer said it was about the car `coming to life and greeting you.’

LED headlights on the new DS 7 Crossback

In fairness these will move slightly up and down or sideways if the car is in a dip or a corner, giving you more light, so there is a good reason for their mobility.

If there’s one styling theme then it’s angularity and diamond shapes. You’ll notice the Audi-esque radiator grille and very clear cut and precise finish to the lights, front and rear. It’s what the car trade calls the `jewellery’ effect and you find it too on some of the switches inside.

Interior: 4/5

By now you will be getting the idea that the DS 7 Crossback is aiming to push itself upmarket and make its occupants feel they are in something, and somewhere, rather special. By and large it succeeds.

My test car had the range-topping Ultra Prestige trim which was luxury on four wheels. Lovely soft leather covering the super comfortable seats and the fascia and mood lighting set the tone and it’s a very nice place to sit in.

The dashboard is hi-tech and what may at first be mistaken for a home cinema is in fact a giant touchscreen dominating the fascia with all the expected functions. A smaller, secondary one sits below it and between them you can connect to the outside world, control various car functions, use Sat Nav, and so on, to your heart’s content.

Leather interior of the new DS 7 Crossback

Just as the LED headlight units swivel to say `hello’ or `goodbye’ the tech-look BRM clock in the fascia does the same trick. As I said, `surprise and delight’ features abound in this DS.

Oddly, and despite its size and name, the DS 7 Crossback has only five seats and not the seven you may have thought, but those five people can sit in absolute luxury and with masses of room behind for shopping or luggage.

One very small niggle, which made me mark it down a point, perhaps harshly, is that what at first sight appears to be chromed switchgear and trim inserts in the door, is in fact plastic.

Driving: 5/5

Comfort is the dominant experience here and it comes courtesy of a rather hi-tech system normally found only on cars costing a lot more.

My Ultra Prestige version has something called Active Scan. Essentially, a camera behind the windscreen analyses the road ahead and `talks’ to accelerometers keeping tabs on changes in the car’s ride height (in dips or over bumps), steering inputs and a few other parameters. From that the AS adjusts the suspension, in less than the blink of an eye, so the body is kept as level as possible and you and your passengers roll smoothly on.

DS 7 Crossback driving away on a country road

Does it make a difference? Well, I drove the car over a ferocious ripple in the road that would have thrown other cars up against the top and then down to the bottom of their springs, but in the DS you could barely feel it.

It’s smooth, it’s quiet and the 2.0 diesel has more than enough poke to let you cruise along on a wave of torque and if the handling is not the sharpest, well this is a big SUV, not a sports car. I found it to be fine in this regard.

Specification: 5/5

As I said at the start, the DS brand starts with Citroën/Peugeot cars and adds either a lot more performance or luxury. This is a luxury model and really does have everything, bar the kitchen sink; probably one of them too if I’d looked for it!

I can’t think there’s much more you’d want, or need, to pay for that’s not already in the car, so while it may look uncomfortably close in price to rivals which are more established you should bear this in mind.


Good, in fact, very good in parts, but needs just a few more tweaks.


From £28,050.

Car tested: Ultra Prestige 2.0 £43,535.

 0 to 60: ten seconds.

Max speed: 134 mph

Average mpg: 58

CO2: 128 g/km