DS 7 Crossback
Performance Line PureTech 225
some ooh la-la to brighten
up your driving day? Then what you
need is a Crossback, from DS...
AVANT-GARDE is definitely on the menu with the new Crossback from French carmaker
DS. If you don't know the shorthand, then Crossback stands for 'compact SUV'
and it could be just what you crave.
In case you hadn't heard, DS is a stand-alone luxury brand spun off from the
Peugeot-Citroen Group, so no surprise that the DS 7 sits on the same platform
used by one of Peugeot's best crossovers and that power comes from PSA engines
in the case of the Performance Line DS 7, that means a PureTech 225hp
(221bhp) turbocharged petrol engine.
Looks-wise the Crossback stands out proudly in a market sector already crowded
with premium British, Swedish and German SUVs. The DS 7 is a bigger than normal
'compact' SUV with a similar body mass to an Audi Q5, but bold design flourishes
guarantee that the DS is more distinctive than its classmates: touches such
as individual LED elements within the lights that rotate sequentially and glow
purple as the car is unlocked plus, providing extra visual interest at at the
tail, glistening 3D-style diamond-pattern LED rear light clusters all
these dandy design tweaks are brought into focus by the bodyshell's smooth and
delightfully UN-sculptured surfacing.
the DS 7 is an imposing hexagonal grille flanked by slim light units that bleed
into the upper front wings above vertical 'strip' daytime running lights. Along
the DS 7's clean flanks a high beltline is capped by a sleek glasshouse, while
black wheelarch cladding is a token reminder of its SUV DNA. Dramatic 20-inch
diamond-cut black alloy wheels finish off the ensemble.
saying about there being
no substitute for
horsepower proves true
with the pokiest
powerplant currently available in the DS 7,
221bhp 1.6-litre turboed
petrol unit and it
makes quick work of
chores such as
overtaking and joining
That old American saying about there being 'no substitute for horsepower' proves
true with the pokiest powerplant currently available in the DS 7 the
range-topping 221bhp 1.6-litre turboed petrol unit that also generates a muscular
221lb ft of torque. Other engine-bay options are a 181hp 1.6 petrol and two
diesels; 130hp 1.5-litre and 180hp 2.0-litre. More power (and four-wheel drive)
is due in 2019 when a 300bhp E-Tense plug-in hybrid version reaches the showrooms.
The 221bhp petrol-drinker is a sweet-revving inline four-pot; work it hard and
it stays smooth, staying audibly in the background even under strong acceleration
and only really becoming noticeable at the upper end of the rev range. Throttle
response is good and it always feels willing, making quick work of bread-and-butter
driving chores such as overtaking and joining motorways.
The eight-speed autobox is also a polished operator, shifting ratios both up
and down in a fluent manner. Should you wish to take full control of the change
points there's a manual mode using paddles-shifters. Overall the 221bhp DS 7
has a confident and relaxed gait although you do need to watch the digital speed
read-out as it's all too easy to think you're not travelling as fast as you
actually are. Zero to 62mph is done and dusted in a brisk 8.3 seconds and maxed
out you'll see 141mph.
The surprise is the highly respectable 44.7mpg (the official combined cycle
figure is 47.9mpg) we recorded at the end of a hard week's driving. With its
14.53-gallon fuel tank, this DS 7 is good for a convenient 650-mile range between
While DS offers a high-tech ride-enhancing suspension it's not standard-fit
on the 221bhp Performance Line model. Not a problem because, even rolling on
20-inch alloy wheels, our test car served up a comfortable and relaxing ride.
The driver can also choose from three drive modes: Eco, Normal, and Sport.
front-wheel drive set-up sends enough feel to the helm to keep the high-riding
and relatively softly sprung DS 7 honest; it can be cornered quite keenly and
tidily even though comfort is clearly its primary mission statement. Suffice
to say that it's happy to be hustled along when the call comes. The brakes,
too, are reassuring discs (ventilated at the front) at each corner ensure
all slowing and stopping is managed without any drama, the car remaining reassuringly
composed no matter how hard you stamp the pedal.
set-up sends enough feel
to the helm to keep the
high-riding and relatively
softly sprung DS 7
honest; it can be
cornered quite keenly
and tidily even though
comfort is clearly its
statement. Suffice to say
happy to be
hustled along when the
they say, are a girl's best friend, and you'll find plenty of them well,
diamond-shapes actually in the DS 7's upscale cabin where they're a recurring
theme; there's diamond-shaped switchgear, virtual dials and screen graphics.
Fortunately, the DS's stylists knew where to draw the line and they've kept
it all very chic and not at all blingy.
There's the expected infotainment and navigation touchscreen dominating the
centre of the dash a crystal clear 12-inch widescreen HD display (with
five easily-switched themes: driving, active navigation 3D mapping, personal,
minimal, and just 'dials') through which most of the DS 7's features, including
the climate, are easily controlled; underscoring it is a row of touch-sensitive
menu shortcut buttons. Navigation is foolproof and much appreciated are the
timely audible and visual speed camera warnings alerts.
The multifunction controls and knurled roller switches on the flat-bottomed
steering wheel are beautifully finished and ensure you rarely need to take your
hands off the perforated leather rim when driving.
Overall the well-fitted and smartly-appointed cabin exudes a premium Gallic
charm, enhanced as it is by the tasteful deployment of luxurious suede
cladding the fascia, central console, doors and seating further embellished
by stylised metal finishings. The shapely and well padded front seats both feature
quick-acting three-stage heating and look seriously inviting.
Another big 'plus' is the abundance of inner space: knee-room is very generous
(plus there's extending under-knee support and powered lumber adjustment), and
there's plenty of headroom too; better still, if you're the one driving you
won't be banging elbows with whoever's riding shotgun.
the Start button (intelligently sited top-dead-centre of the dash) not only
fires up the engine but activates the 'easy entry and exit' seat action, powering
it forward several inches to its last used position (there's a two-setting driver's
seat and mirror memory recall). The driver sits commandingly tall in the saddle
and enjoys an excellent view of the road ahead.
cabin exudes a premium
Gallic charm, enhanced
as it is by the tasteful
deployment of luxurious
suede cladding the
fascia, central console,
doors and seating,
embellished by stylised
Equally satisfying is the Star Trek-style selector lever. It's set at
just the right angle and is foolproof to use with a Manual mode and paddle-shifters
close to the wheel rim. There's also an easy finger-operated electric parking
brake and a left-foot rest set at a restful angle particularly useful
in an automatic, and not just when cruising.
storage is plentiful with a very accommodating 'box' under pop-up split centre
armrest sections and a good-sized lift-out top tray, air-conditioned glovebox
and practical door bins, siamesed dual-use cupholders, and a deep tray ahead
of the selector lever along with a drop-down sunglasses case above the driver's
With its gloss black grille and blacked-out exterior trim the Performance Line
is the sportiest-looking Crossback in the DS 7 line-up. Slotting in above the
entry-level £28K Elegance, it comes very well appointed and with plenty of premium
kit including the 12-inch Infotainment and SatNav HD touchscreen, 12.3-inch
customisable digital instrument panel, voice recognition, Bluetooth handsfree,
MirrorScreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB digital radio with eight
speakers, and emergency and assistance systems.
You also get BI-zone automatic AirCon, keyless start, Alcantara upholstery,
heated front seats, dark-tinted rear windows, aluminium sport pedals with a
matching left-foot rest, rear parking sensors, one-shot power windows (all four),
defrosting and powerfolding door mirrors (on demand and auto on locking and
leaving), frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, electric parking brake, adaptive
cruise control with speed limiter, acoustic tinted and heated windscreens, automatic
drive-away door locking, and a set of 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels.
kicks off from the high ground with a full five-star EuroNCAP rating and core
safety and assist systems such as automatic emergency braking, Lane Departure
warning, Speed Limit Recognition warning, and Driver Attention warning. DS active
LED headlights (multi-mode adaptive lighting with automatic switching between
town, country, motorway, and adverse weather condition settings) with high beam
assist, LED daytime running lights, LED front fog lights with cornering function,
and 3D LED rear lights. Added to that is an electronic stability programme,
Trailer Stability Control, Hill Start assist, tyre pressure monitoring and a
full suite of airbags front and rear plus height-adjustable front seatbelts.
length the DS 7
fits in a longer
wheelbase than many of
its competitors so
passengers travelling in
the back benefit from
decent amounts of
legroom; even a third
adult sitting between the
two outer passengers
will be able to relax,
and the flat rear floor
means playing footsie
Optional 'extras' number headline features such as Night Vision (the DS 7 is
the first compact SUV to offer this), DS Active Scan Suspension, a clever ride-enhancing
suspension feature that uses a camera to analyse the road up to a twenty metres
ahead of the car and then adjusts the dampers (stiffer or softer) to best accommodate
the surface the wheels are about to roll over. And then there's a semi-autonomous
motorway driving system that lets you 'drive or be driven' on tiresome motorway
trips as well as an Advanced Traction Control system for getting to grips with
snow, mud and sand.
its 4,570mm overall length the DS 7 incorporates a longer wheelbase 2,740mm
than many of its competitors so passengers travelling in the back benefit
from loads of leg and foot room with more than a fist of headroom; even a third
adult sitting between the two outer passengers will be able to relax, and the
flat rear floor means playing footsie is optional, not compulsory. The deep
windows are fitted with privacy glass and there are dedicated air vents, two
USB ports, usable door pockets, mesh magazine pouches, and two cupholders built
into the comfy central armrest. Getting in and out is easy and parents will
be glad of the Isofix child seat mounting points and driver-operated childproof
door and window locks. All in all the rear cabin is very restful and comfortable,
especially on long trips.
Access to the deep boot is though a wide opening; there's a lift-up rear shelf
that rises with the tailgate to cover the luggage instead of a roller blind,
an arrangement many owners prefer. The DS 7's generous 618-litre boot trumps
those of a number of its rivals and it also features a useful ski-hatch. Folding
the rear row's 60:40-split backrests (they fold perfectly level) creates a versatile
1,752-litre loadbay. For those with a need to tow, the 221bhp DS 7 will haul
an unbraked 1,550kg.
Desirable and stylish, the charmingly laid-back DS 7 is as satisfying to own
and live with as it is to drive and comes well specced with all the important
kit and useful driver assists plus, of course, that informal elan that
the French have made their own. ~ MotorBar
DS 7 Crossback Performance Line PureTech 225
Maximum speed: 141mph | 0-62mph: 8.3 seconds | Test Average: 44.7mpg
Power: 221bhp | Torque: 221lb ft | CO2: 134g/km