Unique styling, luxurious touches and impressive tech justify the DS 7 Crossback's premium badge - but it comes at a cost
Strengths & weaknesses
- Individual design
- Comfortable ride
- Hi-tech options
- Likely to lose value fast
- Interior won't appeal to all
DS is Citroen’s upmarket brand, which offers the comfort of a standard Citroen, combined with the style and quality of a French fashion house - if you believe the marketing team.
The company hasn’t been shy in highlighting its haute couture ambitions, designing an interior that’s kitted out with well-finished materials, some slightly bizarre colour palettes and a general ambience that sits somewhere between a luxury hotel and a boutique handbag shop.
Within these surroundings, you’ll find up-to-date technology, including a high-definition touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard and another screen behind the steering wheel that replaces the speedometer with digital dials. The Peugeot 3008 has the same hi-tech interior and uses mostly the same parts, but isn't as nicely finished with high-end materials.
It’s up with the most sophisticated cars in this crossover class which use the mechanical parts from conventional hatchbacks - for low running costs and smooth, stable performance - and add a higher driving position, as well as a bit more room inside. There is plenty of cutting edge technology too, including some rather fancy 'Magic 3D' LED projector headlights that perform a fashionable twirl every time the vehicle is unlocked, an optional night vision system (the first of its kind in this segment) and autonomous parking abilities.
But despite DS playing on its 'avant garde' roots, the exterior styling is what we've come to expect from many modern SUVs: a pumped-up ride height, wider arches and a rather bland silhouette are all present and correct here. It's far from avant garde but more likely to sell because of it.
There is also no all-wheel-drive version currently offered, meaning this is one luxury crossover that feels more at home on the road than it does exploring country lanes.
In fact, most models ride well and everything above the most basic Elegance trim level comes with DS Active Scan Suspension, which incorporates a small camera to constantly monitor the road ahead and adapt the suspension settings accordingly.
The result is a very soft, very wafting ride when the electronic controls are left in 'Comfort' mode, even when the alloy wheels tickle the 19-inch mark. Those looking for a sportier, more aggressive drive will have to look elsewhere, as DS 7 Crossback disappoints when placed in 'Sports' mode. The steering becomes bizarrely heavy, a synthetic (and rather ugly) engine note is piped into the cabin and the optional automatic gearbox clings onto cogs far too long.
To further ram home its individuality, DS will introduce 60 new 'salons' to the UK in which to peddle its models and future plans see it further distancing itself from the rest of the Citroen group.
|Warranty||3 years/60,000 miles|
|Boot size||555 litres|
|Tax||£160-£200 for the first year|
Best DS DS 7 for...
Best for Economy – DS 7 Crossback BlueHDi Manual Elegance
The cheapest DS 7 Crossback in the range emits the least CO2, so falls in the lowest first year VED tax band. Alas, that small diesel engine does feel underpowered.
Best for Families – DS 7 Crossback PureTech 225 Automatic Prestige
Laden with goodies and sporting a powerful but refined petrol, this vehicle will appeal to those regular drivers and impress passengers.
Best for Performance – DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE hybrid
Available in Spring 2019, this powerful plug-in hybrid variant will develop 300bhp and will be able to drive 37 miles on electricity alone.
One to Avoid – DS 7 Crossback BlueHDi 130 Manual Prestige
This lower powered diesel engine model is not only expensive, it is also noisy and struggles to shift the Crossback's mass. The overly chunky gear lever in manual models can also be tricky to deal with.
- 2014: Divine DS Concept car hints at design direction
- 2014: DS Automobiles begins selling luxurious versions of Citroen models
- 2017: DS 7 Crossback model is revealed at the Geneva motor show
- 2018: DS 7 Crossback goes on sale
Understanding DS DS 7 names
There are four trim levels offered, ranging from Elegance, through Performance Line and Prestige to the range-topping Ultra Prestige.
Engine BlueHDi 130
Diesel engines are marked BlueHDi and consist of two power output options in the UK: 130PS (128bhp) or 180PS (178bhp). Petrol engines are labelled PureTech and just one unit is available here with a 225PS (223bhp) output.
Gearbox 6-speed manual
6-speed shows that the car has six gears in manual versions, while automatic gearboxes feature eight gears.
DS DS 7 Engines
BlueHDi 130, BlueHDi 180 and PureTech 225
PSA, the French automotive group that owns both Peugeot and Citroen (and recently acquired Opel and Vauxhall) won engine of the year in 2015 and 2016 for its PureTech petrol unit, and for good reason.
It is quiet, refined, efficient and perfectly powerful enough to propel even mid-sized SUVs like the DS 7 Crossback along the road with little fuss or complaint.
The PureTech 225 engine when paired to the automatic gearbox is beautifully smooth and whisper quiet, perfectly complimenting the DS 7 Crossback's wafting suspension and generally relaxed demeanour.
It is a shame, then, that both the diesel engines kick up such a stink under hard acceleration, with the less powerful 130PS option proving to be the noisiest.
This feeling is exacerbated when automatic models are flicked into sports mode, where the gearbox decides to hold onto cogs for an unfathomably long time.
Neither of the options is particularly rapid, with the most powerful petrol engine still taking a relatively lumbering 8.3 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph.
However, the new eight-speed automatic transmission is a great fit with the vehicle, as it generally aims to keep engine speed as low as possible to prevent noise and vibration leaking into the cabin.
The auto box option also offers fuel savings of 4 per cent over the standard six-speed manual, which can feel a little awkward to operate thanks to an oversized and odd shaped gear lever.
Despite both diesel engines being a little too vocal, they offer good fuel economy figures, with almost 70mpg on the combined cycle available to those who purchase the BlueHDi 130 engine.
The more powerful petrol engine is understandably thirstier, returning around 50mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 134g/km of CO2 - the highest number in the range.
DS DS 7 Trims
Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige, Ultra Prestige
The DS 7 Crossback is billed as a luxury proposition and with prices starting at a heady £28,050 for the most basic models, customers will naturally expect a good level of equipment as standard.
Luckily, the DS badge hasn't failed to deliver on that front and the base Elegance trim comes with slick 18-inch alloy wheels, gloss black door mirrors, chrome DS wings, LED front lights and eye-catching 3D LED rear lamps.
Inside, there's a sharp 8-inch touchscreen display to greet driver and passenger, Mirror Screen with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, DAB Radio and keyless start, while hill start assist, an electric parking brake and rear parking sensors also come as part of the package.
The interior itself is eye-catching to say the very least, with Black Basalt & Bronze Peruzzi cloth seats, a leather steering wheel, chrome controls, a bronze dashboard and door panels all present. Customers can also specify the DS Night Vision Pack, which costs between £1,100 and £1,600 depending on trim level and adds a night vision camera that beams a feed of the road ahead to the virtual dashboard. Animals, people and other moving objects are picked up by the camera and highlighted in yellow, turning red and emitting a beep when they are coming dangerously close to the vehicle.
Step up to Performance Line and the DS 7 Crossback gets a more purposeful exterior look, with larger 19-inch alloy wheels, a bespoke DS Performance Line badge on the bonnet and dark tinted windows affording the car a much sportier road presence.
This trim level also adds the DS Active Scan suspension, which aims to iron out creases in the road by minutely adjusting suspension settings on the fly, as well as the all-singing, all-dancing DS Active LED Vision lamps at the front.
Inside, the entertainment system is upgraded to a 12-inch HD touchscreen unit and the excellent 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster replaces the analogue instrument binnacles. The general interior ambience is also slightly more sporting and purposeful in this line, with aluminium sports pedals, Alcantara dashboard and door panels and a perforated leather steering wheel with contrast stitching.
Prestige trim sees most of the additional niceties of Performance Line with the added bonus of wireless charging for smartphones, front parking sensors, a reversing camera and keyless entry and start. There's also an advanced safety package that includes blind spot detection, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition and driver attention alert.
The interior steps away from the sportiness of Performance Line and introduces even higher levels of French luxury, with a B.R.M R180 timepiece that rotates into position upon ignition, heated and massaging front seats, Claudia and Nappa leather dashboard and door panels and a premium leather steering wheel.
Finally, the range-topping Ultra Prestige models see everything thrown at the DS 7 Crossback, including enormous 20-inch alloy wheels, an electric panoramic sunroof with LED lighting, a remote opening tailgate, PolyAmbient interior lighting and a powerful Focal Electra hi-fi system.
Expect even more leather to grace the interior, gloss black door handles and DS Connected Pilot, which sees adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist bundled together for semi-autonomous driving functionality.
DS DS 7 Reliability and warranty
It's a fairly standard 3-year/60,000 mile warranty that comes with all new DS models, with the manufacturer committing repair or replace any faulty parts completely free of charge within the first three years of your car’s life.
Also, should a DS breakdown under warranty, the company will recover it to a dealership of the customer's choosing.
That said, both Peugeot and Citroen (the companies from which most parts of the DS are borrowed) failed to make it into the top ten of the Auto Express Driver Power Survey last year, with only the Peugeot 2008 receiving an accolade for Best Small SUV.
In short, it is far too early to comment on the reliability of the DS 7 Crossback but the fact that it shares many common parts with established products should bode well.
Used DS DS 7
The DS 7 Crossback is still new and it won’t sell in huge numbers, so don’t expect to find many on the used market just yet.
Buying used is a savvy way to save money though. One of the negative points about buying a DS 7 new is that it will depreciate quickly, however, this does mean it will be a bargain on the used market. So expect massive reductions soon.