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An interesting new alternative in the MPV/SUV crossover market. Are you tempted?

PROS

  • An elegant alternative in a the premium crossover market
  • Funky lights and interior will set it apart from rivals
  • Should be good to drive and economical to fuel

CONS

  • Although the tech is tested, DS is an unknown quantity in this market
  • Nice detailing inside and out does not overcome generic styling
  • Will the premium be worth it over a Peugeot 5008?

Verdict

Citroen’s quasi-premium DS division will launch its first family-friendly crossover in spring 2018 with this - the new DS 7 Crossback.

To date, the French brand has concentrated on posher versions of existing hatchbacks; hence the DS 3 is a snazzier C3. But the new SUV is the first of a new generation of DS products, built with bespoke bodywork and a smarter, upmarket focus.

What is the DS 7 Crossback?

Think of the new SUV as a rival in cabin and luggage space to the Audi Q5, but at Q3 prices. The company claims it is targeting the Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1.

You get two rows of seats for five passengers, and it should be noted how roomy the rear seats are; thanks to a flat floor, there’s plenty of space for feet. You can even recline the two outer seat backs electrically - perfect for napping on the move.

The boot is a decent size, at 555 litres with the rear seats up or 1,750 with them stowed flat. The tailgate is electrically operated.

Specs, engine choices

Pick from the following six engines and transmissions on the DS 7 Crossback (S&S stands for stop-start, killing the engine at traffic lights to save fuel):

  • PureTech 130 S&S petrol six-speed manual
  • THP 180 S&S petrol eight-speed automatic
  • THP 230 S&S petrol eight-speed automatic
  • BlueHDi 130 S&S six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic
  • BlueHDi 180 eight-speed automatic
  • E-Tense Hybrid eight-speed automatic

All models are front-wheel drive, apart from the hybrid, which has an electrically powered rear axle to drive all four wheels for improved traction on slippery surfaces.

What’s the DS 7 Crossback like in the cabin?

Parkers has sat in the new SUV and can report it’s very roomy in both rows. Just watch out for the optional glass sunroof, which significantly impacts rear headroom for taller passengers.

The interior is fresh and modern, with lashings of premium materials; DS claims nearly a square metre of leather adorns the quilted doors, armrests and dashboard, considerably more than any German rival. It feels smart, chic and modern.

We’ve tested the large 12-inch touchscreen, too, and found the infotainment to be user-friendly. Most minor functions are controlled through the screen, leaving only a smattering of smart, metallic switches around the gearlever.

A lighting techfest

Perhaps the biggest party piece of the DS 7 is its lighting system, standard fit on higher trim levels. Traditional bulbs are banished in favour of LEDs and they’re active beams that swivel 180deg on start-up in an unusually arresting start-up routine.

Lost your car in a car park? The beams light up and do a merry dance, strobing to help you locate your car or settling to a deep purple glow. On the move, they massage the beam shape to suit the environment, weather and type of road.

Further technical innovations include night vision, a powerful 14-speaker stereo, hushed double glazing and a new adhesive used in the factory in addition to welding, giving the crossover an unusually stiff - and quiet - structure, to improve refinement, safety and handling.

Parkers will be driving the DS 7 Crossback in autumn 2017, so come back later in the year for our full review.

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