Oozing French flair and style
I AM a sucker for a flashy feature, so the DS 7 Crossback Prestige model’s natty designer clock made an immediate impression.
Made by luxury French watchmakers BRM it rotates into view in Bondlike fashion when the ignition button is pressed.
In this day and age when potholes and traffic jams rule the motoring roost, anything that brings a smile to your face has to be welcomed.
And indeed, if the DS 7 sported cooking facilities and a bathroom I would happily move in as the interior is definitely the high point of a motor which has its sights set on the premium end of an SUV market populated by the German giants of BMW, Audi and Mercedes.
With a price- tag edging towards £ 40,000, it is just as well the DS brand was given its independence from parent Citroen in 2014 as the waters it is charting are largely alien to the French firm.
At that price there should be opulence and sitting in the comfortable leather seats you can’t help but be impressed with the first wholly DS car – rather than adapted Citroen – the offshoot has produced.
There is a flamboyance and a flair about the DS flagship that flaunts French style, with all but the entry level models fitted with a 12- inch touchscreen infotainment interface as well as a 12.3- inch customisable digital instrument display.
It is clear that DS has let the designer have some fun as the switchgear, dials and screens are all inspired by the landmarks and haute couture of Paris.
The Prestige version features diamond stitching on the leather upholstery and trim while the glass pyramid of The Louvre is also invoked.
Once you’ve got past the glitz and the glamour the interior also passes muster as a practical family motor with a 555- litre boot plus lots of cubby holes leading the charge.
There is more than enough room for five adults as the floor in the back is flat allowing three full- sized humans to be seated in comfort with plenty of head and leg room for all.
Long journeys are treated with disdain thanks to a cutting edge suspension system that relies on cameras reading the road ahead to achieve the smoothest ride possible for the SUV’s occupants.
It is decent to drive with a comfortable seating position easily achieved at the push of a couple of buttons. When you turn the ignition off the driver’s seat retracts, allowing more room to get out of the car.
When you switch it on the memory function puts you back in your ideal spot behind the multi- function steering wheel. The front seats also offer a massage function.
As well as the Prestige model, three other well- equipped trim levels are available – Elegance, Performance Line and Ultra Prestige – and, depending upon model, petrol or diesel engines and manual or automatic transmissions.
The PureTech 225, 1.6- litre turbocharged petrol engine is linked to a reasonably slick eight- speed automatic transmission. It is a willing beast powering the DS7 from 0- 62mph in a shade over eight seconds on its way to a top speed of 141mph if you’re lucky enough to be on a track.
An average fuel economy figure of 47.9mpg is claimed by the manufacturers although I found it closer to the 40 mark during several miles of mixed motoring with this engaging individual.
The exterior looks good with nice features including an eye- catching grille, natty daytime running lights aided and abetted by striking 19- inch alloy wheels plus black cladding to inject the necessary SUV robustness into proceedings.
It all adds up to a premium package that should attract its fair share of fans looking for a bit of luxury, innovation, flair and family practicality.