Ooz­ing French flair

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

IAM 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 Bond-like 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.

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