Given this is a car bearing a DS badge, we should first address ride quality, which is in general very good. Lateral body movements are nicely controlled and a sense of stability and competency pervades, but at the expense of agility (an attribute hardly helped by the oddly heavy steering).
Active suspension comes as standard (apart from the entry-level Elegance model) and isn’t as radical as the hydropneumatic technology not quite pioneered by the original DS of 1955. But it does work – superbly at times. It’s a predictive set-up with a road-scanning camera. Its lens is tucked behind the rear-view mirror and, along with various sensors and accelerometers, it feeds the ECU with data, allowing it to prepare the adaptive dampers for troublesome topography with as little as five metres warning.
Operational only in Comfort mode, it has a tendency to make the 7 Crossback feel under-damped on undulating roads but most of the time removes passengers from the road really rather neatly, both acoustically and physically. It’s certainly an option worth having.
The other prong of the DS attack is the luxury of its interior, which can be trimmed in either Alcantara or nappa leather depending on spec level and boasts a high, wide transmission tunnel and a deep curvature linking the doors to the bulkhead. A 12.3in touchscreen is standard on all but the lowest trim level and there are oversized toggle switches flanking the gearlever.
It’s an interior that exhibits some lovely touches – pearl stitching, guillochage engraving – but it can feel overwrought; in some ways, the cleaner architecture of a generously specified Peugeot 3008 is more authentic. There are also some suspect plastics that you’d have to search harder to find in most rivals.
Given the way the 7 Crossback cossets it occupants, you might think that it’s short on space. In fact, the opposite is true; there is unusually generous space for those on the rear bench and 555 litres of load capacity with all the seats up.
Ultimately, however, there remain too many compromises for a relatively expensive car. The entirely digital, matte-finished instrument binnacle looks fabulous but isn’t easily legible, the seats are sumptuously appointed but under-bolstered and this diesel engine pulls smoothly but is too present too much of the time. Worst of all, removing the bulk of the switchgear may have led to a pleasing aesthetic, but the touch-sensitive substitutions too often seem either overly sensitive or not sensitive enough.
These things aren't what you’d call terminal – they’re fodder for the facelift – but it’s frustrating nonetheless and hard to forgive at this level.