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
The DS 7 Crossback’s interior looks unlike anything you’ll find in the more predictable BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC. Sure, the quality of its soft-touch plastics isn’t really anything to write home about, but the sweeping design of its dashboard, massive infotainment display and lovely knurled buttons and switches make it feel much more special than most German alternatives.
Unfortunately, not all these fashionable features come as standard. Entry-level models don’t get any particularly plush trims and make do with a rather small eight-inch touchscreen. However, you do still get some cool LED mood lighting.
Pay extra for a Performance Line car or above and you’ll get a 12-inch touchscreen, suede-like Alcantara trim on the dashboard and doors and a high-resolution digital driver’s display instead of conventional analogue dials – just like in the Audi and BMW.
You also get some Performance Line badges and colour-coded contrasting stitching on the upgraded front seats. These also come with more adjustment than the standard car’s items to help you get comfy on long journeys.
High-spec Prestige and Ultra Prestige models ditch the Performance Line’s faux suede in favour of real leather on the dashboard and doors and add a set of aluminium pedal trims for good measure. These are also the models to go for if you want a huge panoramic glass roof, an expensive-looking analogue clock on the dashboard and crystal-like controls instead of the standard car’s chrome items.
In the past, French cars were cheap, disposable runabouts, but the DS 7 Crossback feels every bit a premium product. It’s certainly more foie gras than fried chicken…
Pick an entry-level Elegance model and you’ll have to make do with a rather small eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It’s reasonably bright and its menus are clear enough to read without squinting, but it looks slightly out of place in the Crossback’s otherwise high-class cabin.
You can’t get it with satellite navigation but, thankfully, both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring systems come as standard. These let you use your favourite navigation and media-streaming apps from your phone through the car’s built-in display.
Go for a Performance Line car or above and you’ll get a much more impressive 12-inch touchscreen. It doesn’t just look better, its large icons and illuminated shortcut buttons make it easier to use on the move, too.
Unfortunately, while there’s a lovely metal dial for the stereo volume, all the car’s other features are controlled through the touchscreen. This means you’ll have to poke and prod your way through a number of menu screens just to tweak the fan speed or temperature settings.
Switch the system on while the car’s off and, rather unhelpfully, the shortcut buttons don’t light up. As a result, adjusting any of the Crossback’s settings feels a bit like playing ‘pin the tail on the infotainment system’.
Still, at least you get satellite navigation as standard and a large on-screen keyboard that makes it a doddle to punch in a postcode. Unfortunately, adding a waypoint isn’t quite as easy as using BMW’s excellent iDrive system and the maps feel slightly slow to respond when you use the touchscreen to swipe or zoom in.
Much better is the 12.3-inch digital driver’s display you get on all but entry-level Elegance cars. Sure, it might not come with the same gorgeous Google maps as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system, but it displays plenty of handy info right in your eye line – including sat-nav directions and which song is currently playing on the stereo.
Speaking of stereos, the Crossback’s standard eight-speaker system is reasonably loud and crisp, but you can get an upgraded Focul unit in top-spec Ultra Prestige models for a bit of extra punch.