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UK Drive: The DS7 Crossback packs head-turning styling, but what else can it offer?

Reviews | Published:

The DS7 Crossback is the largest car in the French manufacturer’s line-up. It’s been designed with style as a priority, but has it got substance to back the looks? Jack Evans finds out

(DS Automobiles)

What is it?

The DS7 Crossback is another entry into the constantly expanding SUV market – but it’s one designed to stand out from the crowd a little more than your conventional offering. It’s based on the same platform successful and well-made Peugeot 3008, but whereas the Pug is all about practicality, the DS leans more on the stylised side of things. It’s why you’ll find styling touches both inside and out that rarely feature on road cars. Of course, it’s backed up by economical engines and decent interior space, too – but we’ll come to that later.

What’s new?

The DS7 Crossback is another entry into the flourishing SUV segment
(DS Automobiles)

What’s under the bonnet?

Our test car, in Performance Line trim, was powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine, sending 178bhp and 400Nm of torque through an eight-speed automatic gearbox to the front wheels. Performance is decent enough, with the sprint to 60mph taking 9.6 seconds before reaching a top speed of 134mph. Economy is the most impressive though – DS claims 57.6mpg on the combined cycle, with emissions of 128g/km CO2.

A sloping roofline gives the DS7 Crossback a sleek look
(DS Automobiles)

There’s also the option of a lower-powered 128bhp diesel, or a high-output 221bhp petrol – with emissions and economy the best in that less powerful unit.

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What’s it like to drive?

The DS7 Crossback has been geared towards comfort, rather than a sporty drive. Even this Performance Line specification car, riding on large 19-inch alloy wheels feels on the softer side of things. The steering is relatively light at low speeds and weights up nicely as you speed up, while the ride manages to soften off the vast majority of imperfections in the road surface. There’s quite a lot of lean through the corners, but this is a by-product of that softer ride.

The biggest annoyance is the lane keep assistance system. It’s overly keen to alert you, and is particularly irritating on country roads. Very quickly you learn to disable it as soon as you get in the car – and this really isn’t the point.

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How does it look?

We’ve got to applaud DS for the styling on the Crossback – it really looks like little else on the road today. Many passers-by enquired as to just ‘what’ it was, with many mistaking it for cars from far more premium manufacturers. The large front grille and distinctive daytime running lights really do give it a lot of visual impact, while the criss-cross LED rear lights which strobe when indicating are another highlight. It certainly suits larger wheels as smaller ones can appear a little lost in the larger arches.

The large front grille is fringed by daytime running lights
(DS Automobiles)

What’s it like inside?

Step into the DS7 Crossback’s interior for the first time and you’re met with all manner of angles, materials and screens. It’s an impressive cabin from the off, and feels exciting in terms of design. Will it date over time? Almost certainly. But right here, right now, it looks very good. The switches by the gear selector have a decent action to them and, despite the presence of a few harsher plastics on the door handle surrounds and bins, it all feels well screwed together.

The vast majority of the materials in the cabin are of a good quality
(DS Automobiles)

What’s the spec like?

The DS7 Crossback comes with a lot of equipment as standard, with highlights including a 12-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system – which operates well and houses functions such as satellite navigation and media controls – along with an eight-speaker sound system and an impressively large air conditioned central storage area, which is large enough for a two-litre bottle of water.

Verdict

The DS7 Crossback really is a genuinely good-looking offering in the SUV segment. It’s classily designed, has plenty of exciting touches and is solidly built for the most part. It’s just tricky to put that price out of your mind – it’s an exceptional amount of money for a car in this area, and feels just a little too much when you take into consideration the standard equipment and overall driving experience. If this was just a little cheaper, then it would be really competitive – but at this price, it’s a tough one to recommend.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Model as tested: DS7 Crossback
Price (as tested): £38,325
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
Power (bhp): 178
Torque (Nm): 400
Max speed (mph): 134
0-60mph: 9.6 seconds
MPG (combined): 57.6
Emissions (g/km): 128

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