DS 7 CROSSBACK – PERFORMANCE Line BlueHDi 180 EAT8 (8-Speed Auto).
On 22 August 1962, an assassination attempt is made on the President General Charles de Gaulle by the militant French underground organisation OAS in anger over the French government granting independence to Algeria. As the president’s motorcade passes, de Gaulle’s unarmoured Citroën DS car is raked with machine-gun fire, but the entire entourage escapes without injury. And so began one of my favourite films The Day of the Jackal, which when I first watched it as child on TV, may well have been the first time I caught site of a black Citroen DS, which 40 years later, I unashamedly consider to be the greatest car of all time.
Although DS became a stand alone franchise in 2014, all of the models in the range were based on existing Citroen models. What the marque lacked was a DS model of it’s own. And that is exactly what DS has done, with the launch in 2018 of the DS7 Crossback, which was launched as a brand new original DS model. Burt, the DS7 is a Crossback, not a saloon like the original DS & has been built to target customers in the highly lucrative crossover market. In what is an increasingly competitive sector, with the addition of new models from Jaguar, the E-Pace & Volvo, the XC40, joining sector heavyweights the Range Rover Evoque, BMW X3 & Audi Q5, DS will be up against it. However, rather than shirk away from the competition, DS has hit the ground running, with 60 DS sites due to open over the next 12 months & DS Automobiles launching in the UK its ‘Only YOU’ collection of privileges, which includes DS at your Service anytime support, DS Assistance, DS Delivery & Service Valet, DS Club Privilege & DS Rent, offering something a little bit different & upmarket to further entice customers to the marque.
CC&V were given the opportunity to test drive this new premium crossover & we were excited to see if it would be in any way as different as the original DS & whether it would be up to carrying France’s current President, Emmanuel Macron, in comfort & safety like the DS’s of old.
Trying to design a mid-size Crossover that looks different to it’s competitors, must be a thankless task, but the designers behind the DS7 have at least tried to think outside the box. Launched with four trim levels, Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige & Ultra Prestige, the Performance Line model we tested looked fantastic in black & in this trim, will definitely appeal to business customers. These cars get 19″ ‘BEIJING’ diamond cut alloys, Art Black Basalt Nappa leather dashboard & door panels, a 12.3″ HD touchscreen, Inox Roof Rails, LED Front fogs with cornering function, Manual ‘Follow me home’ lighting, LED Daytime Running Lights, DS Active LED Vision, DS 3D LED rear lights, High beam assist & full LED interior lighting.
Climb aboard & you’ll notice that DS have added some nice touches inside as well & most are not at all boring. Triangle shaped air vents at each end of the dashboard are noticeably different, as is the location of the starter button, smack bang in the top centre of the dash, flanked by the two central air vents. The landscape touchscreen is also a highlight & the angular electric window switches set in the centre binnacle also add to ” le difference ”. Even the graphics on the PSA Group’s 12.3″ digital instrument cluster in front of the driver, can be configured with rhombus shaped graphics, something I have not come across before. Elsewhere, the dashboard switches, door fittings, seats & steering wheel are satisfyingly all top notch, with only the lightweight plastic used on the glove box, letting things down a touch. Overall, the ambience within the cabin is just right & the drivers seat in this new DS is great place to be.
Customers usually buy an SUV or Crossover for practical reasons & the designers at DS have included some useful storage in the cabin. There is a flip cover space in front of the gear stick, good for keys & your mobile phone, with the USB socket also accessible here. The centre binnacle features a pop-up open & close arm rest with storage space within. There are two cupholders in front of this plus decent sized door pockets as well. Front passenger head & legroom is excellent & in the rear there’s a flat floor, which coupled to the generous space on offer, means that you could fit five adults in the DS7 if required. There’s also a rear armrest hidden in the centre rear seat, which also features two cup holders. When open this also reveals a ski flap, which I utilised with the purchase of a 1.8m piece of treated wood. With all five seats in place, 555 litres of boot space is on offer & when you fold the rear seats down this goes up to a quite considerable & class leading 1752 litres, plenty of space as I discovered, to fit my MTB bike into. The automatic tail gate is a useful addition as well.
The 2.0 litre Blue HDI 180 8-Speed auto comes with 400Nm’s of torque, which means that even when four adults are on board, the DS7 performs well. especially when accelerating on the motorway. Around town the engine isn’t noisy & feels quite smooth when compared to some other diesels out there. Top speed is 134mph & acceleration feels quicker when you’re in the DS7, than the claimed 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds. The steering is light & precise & as a motorway cruiser it’s very impressive. The DS’s suspension, like the original, makes for a comfortable ride & there is little or no body roll, even around sharp bends. We utilised two of the four driving modes Eco & Comfort, with Eco our preferred choice. Sport mode is on offer if you’re feeling rakish.
We tested the on board tech & are pleased to report that connection your mobile phone to the car’s Bluetooth Hands-Free telephone is straightforward, as is linking to Apple-Car-Play. The SatNav works well, but I found the graphics a might confusing compared to other systems I’ve experienced. Like many other models, the DS7 features climate controls located in the touchscreen. Whilst you can adjust the temperature without having to leave the radio or SatNav screen, to adjust the fan speed you do need to enter the climate screen which means selecting the climate toggle underneath the screen, than touching the screen which whilst on the move & this like this sentence, can be a little fiddly.
We were lucky enough to have the DS7 over the May Bank Holiday weekend when the sun shone. This meant a couple of longish motorway journeys with all of the family plus the dog & it didn’t skip a beat. Despite the usual Bank Holiday traffic chaos, the DS7 kept it’s cool & so did I. The 8-speed auto box was a joy, especially in heavy traffic & the excellent rear passenger space meant that my adult children had room to stretch out. In a sector stuffed with contenders, the DS7 does a really good job of being just different enough to warrant your consideration. It’s more spacious than the Volvo, especially in the rear, looks far nicer & rides better than the BMW X3, is more interesting than the Audi Q5 both inside & out & feels far more substantial than the Range Rover Evoque, which is closer to a BMW X1 or Audi Q3 in size. Add in the brands desire to look after new customers & some unique design detail & the DS7 is a serious player. It may not quite have the uniqueness of my favourite DS, but at least DS has tried. In a sea of tranquility, the DS7 offers more than few ripples & is definitely worth a look.
A Macronesque 4/5