GROW ROAD TEST: DS DS-7 CROSSBACK
Content & Photos by Joff Alexander-Frye
It is very rare that a car surprises me nowadays. Yes, some of them have more gadgets than others but most make promises they don’t quite deliver on and I can’t help but feel that most don’t quite live up to their sizeable price tags. Not so with the DS DS 7 Crossback.
“Wait a minute. You’ve just typed DS twice in a row.”, I hear you say. Yes, that’s right. DS is the name of both the manufacturer (DS Automobiles) and the model. Historically linked with Citroen, many people even call them ‘Citroen DS’ but, I am reliably informed, that is incorrect terminology.
So, when I recently went down to the DS Salon, within Yeomans Citroen on Hennock Road, Marsh Barton, I was immediately impressed with the sleek and sophisticated design of the DS 7. Design is clearly ‘front-and-centre’ when it comes to DS Automobiles. Every aspect of the design seems to have been carefully thought through and planned out; with a real sense of ‘joined up thinking’.
From the moment you turn the engine on, the car is set up to wow you. Each headlight casing holds three individually mounted DS Active Vision LEDs which swivel 180° when turned on, the 3D LED rear lights are so unique that they almost look like the scales of a reptile moving as you brake and the signature chrome DS Wings allow the hexagonal rim of the front grille to blend seamlessly with the headlights. The DS 7 has a truly sculpted and muscular appearance; with sharp lines and attractive lighting. A truly beautiful SUV.
The interior of the car showed no signs of letting up on the relentless pursuit for quality materials and design. I was driving a DS 7 with the Rivoli spec interior, including Black Basalt Grained leather upholstery, backlit door handles and ‘Clous de Paris’ embossed inserts. Diamond and hexagonal shapes dominate the design and almost every button, surface or material has one or both shapes within their design. Again, the type of joined up thinking that makes for a stunning driving experience.
The DS 7 is also absolutely rammed with technology which is both functional and innovative including its 12” central HD touchscreen, impressively advanced Sat Nav and even DS Night Vision (which uses an infrared camera in the front grille to detect animals and humans up to 100 metres away in the dark). The DS 7 also implements DS Connected Pilot, controlling your steering and distance from other cars and DS Park Pilot, which selects suitable car parking spaces whilst driving up to 18mph and then parks for you, without you even having to touch the pedals or steering wheel. See…I told you it was innovative! And that isn’t even mentioning the Active Scan Suspension, 360° reversing camera, Active Lane Departure Warning or Active Blind Spot Monitoring systems. So many features, so little time!
All of this would be pointless without a car that matched the quality design and innovative technology with a superb driving experience and, you guessed it, the DS 7 didn’t disappoint here either. With a 1.6 litre petrol engine, 225 bhp under the bonnet and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, this car revealed a slightly ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ personality; with the ability to be both smooth and savage. I have never driven a car with a more active ‘Sports Mode’ which, when engaged, suddenly made it feel like you were driving a different, much sportier car.
With this most recent iteration of the DS, DS Automobiles have truly put the French cat amongst the German pigeons of Mercedes GLA, BMW X1 and Audi Q3.
Watch out, there is a new cat in town!
Why not head down to your local DS Salon to see for yourself what all the fuss is about.