DS 7 Crossback Review
The DS 7 Crossback is a stylish alternative to more conventional German SUVs. It’s practical and comfortable to drive, but the infotainment system may send you loopy and you can’t get it with seven seats
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The DS 7 Crossback might not have quite the same badge kudos as big-name models from Audi, BMW and Mercedes, but it certainly has the style to match these more established alternatives.
Jump inside, and you’ll find the DS 7 Crossback’s interior is a very nice place to sit. There’s a variety of interior finishes to choose from, but you’re best off with a Performance Line model. The suede-like Alcantara on the dashboard, doors and seats gives fancy German models a serious run for their money.
All but Elegance versions come with a 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle and a 12-inch central infotainment screen that has clear and colourful graphics. The latter can display a multitude of things including a huge sat-nav display that makes it a piece of cake to follow directions. However, it’s not the easiest system to use, and the DS could learn a thing or two from the more intuitive infotainment systems in BMWs and Audis.
Take the buttons under the DS 7 Crossback’s infotainment screen, for example. They are touch-sensitive, but they don’t give you any feedback, so it’s hard to know if you’ve pressed them correctly. Meanwhile, the car’s various safety systems beep incessantly at you, with no obvious way to turn them off.
It’s as if the DS 7 was designed at Paris Fashion Week – its interior’s cool mix of shapes and materials make it look and feel like no other car for the price
The DS 7 Crossback does the basic stuff pretty well, though. Getting a clear view of the big driver’s display is easy because you get a height-adjustable driver’s seat (and passenger seat) and a steering wheel that adjusts for reach and height. Both front seats also get adjustable lumbar support to see off backache on long journeys.
The news is just as good for your tall passengers in the back – they’ll have plenty of head and legroom, even if you and your front-seat passenger are more than six-feet tall. Prestige models and above go one step further, with electrically reclining rear seats – just like in a luxurious saloon such as the Mercedes S-Class. Better still, the DS 7 Crossback’s impressively practical boot is bigger than you’ll get in an S-Class and larger than the ones in direct alternatives such as the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC.
You won’t have any trouble driving the DS 7 Crossback, either. You get a good view out, and the direct steering and light pedals make it relatively easy to manoeuvre around town. Basic models do a good job ironing out bumps, but to feel like you’re wafting along on a magic carpet you’ll want to pay extra for the optional active-scan suspension. This monitors the road ahead for potholes and primes the car accordingly. It’s especially good at making long motorway journeys as comfortable as possible.
The DS 7 Crossback’s mid-range 180hp diesel engine also helps make light work of long drives. It’s perkier than the cheaper 130hp diesel and cheaper to run than the range-topping 225hp petrol. This model also comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard and plenty of advanced safety kit designed to prevent avoidable accidents.
The DS 7 Crossback is a good all-rounder, and certainly deserves a place on your shopping list if you’re looking for a stylish SUV that won’t have any trouble standing out in a crowd of less eye-catching BMWs, Mercedes and Audis.
The DS 7’s cabin is roomy and its boot is bigger than in many alternatives but you’ll have to pay extra for features such as an adjustable boot floor in lower-spec models
The DS 7’s plush cabin is like an expensive designer holdall – it looks fantastic and it’s roomy enough to hold more than its fair share of luggage
You might worry that, in a car as style-focussed as the DS 7 Crossback, practicality might have taken a bit of a back seat. Thankfully, that’s not the case – its cabin is roomy and packed with plenty of practical features to make it easy to live with.
There’s loads of leg and headroom in the front – even in high-spec cars with their panoramic glass roofs – and you get height-adjustable front seats across the range. Every DS 7 Crossback comes with adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat to help prevent annoying backache on long drives, too.
The only disappointment you might have in the DS 7 Crossback’s front seats is that you can’t adjust the steering wheel position quite as much as in an Audi Q5. As a result, it might be a bit harder to find your perfect seating position.
Thankfully, it’s a doddle to climb into the back (thanks to the large door openings) and the space in the back seats is very nearly as generous as in the front. Even your tallest friends will find enough head and leg room to get comfortable. Unfortunately, if your passengers are very tall, they might find their knees are uncomfortably bent on long journeys because of the DS 7 Crossback’s low-slung rear seats.
You won’t have to worry about shoulder room or space for your feet, however. The DS 7 Crossback‘s three seats are just about wide enough for three adults to sit side-by-side and its flat rear floor means there’s loads of space for their feet. You even get neat reclining seats in high-spec Prestige models and above to help take the stress out of long journeys.
Fitting a bulky child seat is pretty easy – the DS 7 Crossback‘s high roof means you can lift in the seat without stooping down and the Isofix anchor points for securing the base are clearly marked with plastic tags. It’s still not quite as easy to secure the base as in a car with exposed anchor points like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, however.
The DS 7 Crossback’s interior might look more catwalk kimono than pocket-covered pullover, but it’s packed full of handy storage bins to help you keep it looking tidy. The front door bins are each big enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle and the central armrest opens to reveal an absolutely vast storage bin. In terms of cupholders, you get two large ones in the front and two slightly smaller ones in the folding rear armrest as standard.
The glovebox is pretty small (you can thank the bulky fusebox for that) but you do get a handy tray beside the steering wheel for your sunglasses – it even comes with a felt lining to protect your favourite Ray Bans from annoying scratches. There’s also a similar soft lining in all four door bins to stop smaller items rattling around loudly as you drive along.
The DS 7 Crossback’s 555-litre load bay is five litres larger than the boots you’ll find in the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC. It’s large enough to carry two large suitcases, two smaller cases and as many as three soft bags all at once without removing the parcel shelf.
Frustratingly, the adjustable boot floor is an optional extra in Elegance and Performance Line models and standard only in more expensive Prestige and Ultra Prestige versions. It’s well worth paying extra for, though – in its raised position, there’s no annoying boot lip to lift heavy luggage over and there’s space underneath to store the parcel shelf.
Pay extra for the adjustable floor and you also get a 12V socket so you can quickly hoover out the boot using a portable vacuum cleaner – handy if you regularly carry a dog.
If you prefer DIY to dog-walking, you’ll be pleased to know you can flip the DS 7 Crossback’s back seats down to open up a completely flat 1,752-litre load bay. That’s more than 200 litres larger than in an Audi Q5 and more than 150 litres larger than what you’ll find in a BMW X3 or Mercedes GLC – perfect for the occasional trip to B&Q.
If you need to carry some long luggage and a few passengers in the back at once, you can fold the rear armrest down and flip open a hatch that’s wide enough to accept a few pairs of skis.
The DS 7 Crossback’s petrol and diesel engines are reasonably perky and quiet, but many alternatives are sportier to drive and cheaper to run
There aren’t any particularly sporty models in the DS 7 Crossback lineup but you can get it with ludicrous fake exhausts that would put a Ferrari’s pipes to shame…
You can get the DS 7 Crossback with one petrol and two diesel engines and – depending on which engine you choose – with either a manual or an automatic gearbox.
The six-speed manual comes exclusively on 130hp 1.5-litre diesel models, although this engine is best avoided unless you’re on a tight budget. It’s slightly more efficient than the more powerful 180hp diesel (DS claims it’ll return 68.9mpg) but it’s slower and noisier when you accelerate hard. In real-world driving conditions, you can expect it to manage around 55mpg.
The 2.0-litre 180hp version is the best bet if you do lots of long journeys. Not only is it noticeably nippier than the 130hp version, it’s also more relaxing to drive, quieter at motorway speeds and fast enough to keep up with motorway traffic without feeling overworked. It’ll return around 43mpg in normal driving conditions compared to DS’ claimed 57.6mpg.
There’s also a 225hp 1.6-litre petrol model that’ll suit you better if you do mainly short journeys. It can’t match the diesels’ fuel economy at motorway speeds, but it’ll be cheaper to run if you rarely venture out of town. It’s also the quickest DS 7 Crossback model you can buy – it’ll sprint from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds, 1.6 seconds faster than the 180hp diesel.
Both 180hp diesel and 225hp petrol models come with a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. It’s reasonably smooth at slow speeds and changes down quickly when you want to accelerate to overtake slow-moving traffic.
Unfortunately, you can’t get any DS 7 Crossback model with four-wheel drive. If you live somewhere prone to icy weather, you might want to consider a BMW X3, Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC instead.
Unlike some SUVs, the DS 7 Crossback doesn’t try to feel like a sports car to drive. Instead, it focuses on being as comfortable as possible. You won’t hear too much unpleasant wind or tyre noise at motorway speeds and it irons out bumps around town nicely well.
It’s especially relaxing to drive if you pick a Performance Line model or above. These come with a clever adaptive suspension system (called Active Scan) that uses hidden cameras to read the road ahead and adjust the suspension accordingly to help it best deal with potholes.
At motorway speeds, this system makes the DS 7 Crossback feel especially comfy, but the price you pay for its relaxing cruising ability is how soft it feels in fast corners. Even with Sport mode engaged, its tall body leans more than a BMW, Audi or Mercedes.
If you‘re not interested in sporty handling, you’ll be pleased to hear that the DS 7 Crossback is fairly easy to drive around town. Its raised driving position gives you a good view over other cars and the pillars between the windscreen and doors don’t produce any particularly annoying blind spots at junctions.
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to park. The thin rear windscreen makes it tricky to judge how close you are to parked cars and the low-definition reversing camera isn’t a patch on the slick 360-degree surround-view system you can get in a BMW X3. At least you get rear parking sensors as standard, however.
So, the DS 7 Crossback doesn’t have the fanciest on-board tech around, but at least you get plenty of safety kit as standard. Even entry-level cars come with lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and an automatic emergency braking system that’ll hit the brakes if it detects an obstacle ahead. In fact, it’s so safe that the DS 7 Crossback earned a maximum five-star safety rating in strict crash tests by Euro NCAP in 2017.
The Crossback’s cabin brings a taste of high-class French fashion to the typically staid SUV market, but some features – like the huge central touchscreen – are reserved for high-spec cars