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DS 7 Crossback has lots of French flair 

page 23 DS 7 CROSSBACK B

IT’S not often that any of my neighbours ask what make my test vehicle is.

Despite DS Auto-mobiles being founded in Paris in 2014, the model in my driveway easily stood out as something new on the scene.

I’ve had a number of DS models parked outside my house but they could quite easily be viewed as up-market Citroens – despite their DS badges.

The PSA group introduced its premium DS brand to offer buyers a higher-luxury car than its Peugeot and Citroen range.

But it is just this year that a new generation of DS vehicles is taking to the roads.

And I was able to inform my neighbour that the gleaming SUV sitting on my driveway was the brand’s new flagship model – a DS 7 Crossback.

This is a big SUV that won’t go unnoticed and looks capable of gaining a slice of the sales in the premium sector.

It certainly stands out from the crowd with its huge front grille featuring DS wings in the middle, long creased bonnet, big 19-inch Beijing diamond cut alloys, Inox roof rails, sharp lines and one-piece light clusters at the rear.

There are four trims – Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige and Ultra Prestige – with a choice of diesel and petrol engines.

My test model was a Performance Line BlueHDi 180 and it didn’t fail to impress during my first drive of a DS 7 Crossback.

Interior quality is impressive and features Black Basalt Alcantara and leatherette seats, perforated leather steering wheel with contrast stitching, leather gear knob and aluminium sport pedals and footrest.

There’s lots of room up front and in the rear.

Boot capacity is enormous at 555 litres, rising to 1,752 litres with seats folded down, and you also get plenty of stowage compartments in the cabin.

The high driving position allowed good all-round vision and the height-adjustable front seats with electric lumbar adjustment provided excellent comfort – ideal for long journeys.

There’s a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and at the centre of the dash sits a12-inch touchscreen that allows easy connection to all the latest high-tech features.

These include Bluetooth, DS Connect Nav, Mirror Screen and emergency and assistan-ce system.

Powered by a 2-litre turbocharged 180PS diesel engine, this model was no slouch.

A new eight-speed automatic transmission was perfectly suited to the engine and the power came through smoothly or rapidly when required.

It wasn’t too noisy when fired up with the push button start and offered a fair sprint time of 9.9 seconds from zero to 62mph.

And with a top speed of 134mph, the revs were always low when cruising along at maximum legal speeds.

There are two driving modes – normal and a sport that provides a firmer, more dynamic drive.

This front-wheel drive SUV handled potholed roads pretty well, assisted by its active scan suspension.

This system scans a number of sensors on acceleration, speed, steering wheel angle and includes a windscreen-mounted camera that scans road surface 20 metres ahead.

It then adjusts the damping to suit the conditions to provide a smoother ride.

The Crossback is a big vehicle but it handled well on winding roads with good road holding.

Excellent sound-proofing added to the driving pleasure as this model purred along the motorway ever so quietly.

And a high list of safety equipment included lane departure and speed limit warning and adaptive cruise control.

Fuel economy figures, assisted by stop start, are also excellent – 57.6mpg combined, 50.4mpg urban, and 64.2mpg extra urban.

The DS 7 Crossback brings lots of cutting-edge technology and one of these, available as an option, is DS Connected Pilot.

The system works in conjunction with the car’s adaptive cruise control and acts on the steering to position the Crossback within its chosen lane.

There are also dynamic LED headlights that produce a sweeping beam that adapts according to road conditions and vehicle speed.

The DS 7 Crossback features plenty of French flair in its styling, luxury and technology, and is certain to raise the awareness of the DS brand.

A 4×4 plug-in hybrid version – DS 7 Crossback E-Tense – will be added to the range next year.

On-the-road price of the test model is £36,380.