What's it like?
On the whole, the new power plant suits the laid-back, cruisy character of the DS 7 Crossback well. Acceleration is smooth, though not particularly hurried, while the engine note is largely refined - until you stray above 4000rpm or so, at which point it does become fairly loud and intrusive.
However, as its 221lb ft is available from just 1900rpm, the occasions on which you’re required to really rev the engine out are limited mostly to overtaking manouvres and motorway slip-roads. Once you’re up to speed though, it returns to its default hushed setting.
The eight-speed transmission is for the most part smooth, although sudden throttle inputs can give way to a bit of shunt, particularly at low speeds. Fixed paddleshifters are mounted on the steering column and allow for manual gear changes; helpful when you’re travelling downhill and need to engine brake, although it’s unlikely you’d use them at any other time. The DS 7 just doesn’t feel as though it’s been set up to compliment a more enthusiastic driving style.
That’s okay, though. It’s focus has always been more on comfort than outright dynamism, and as with the diesel-powered versions it fulfills this brief nicely. The ride is soft and cosseting - perhaps feeling slightly under-damped at times - but for the most part it irons out imperfections in the road surface nicely.
This is largely down to its active suspension, which, when set to ‘Comfort’ mode, uses a camera to analyse the road ahead and prep the dampers accordingly. While there is a degree of lateral roll through bends, as well as vertical travel over undulations, the DS 7 never feels particularly out of line or unbalanced, but it’s spongy nature will dissuade you from really hustling it along.
The steering rack, meanwhile, is relatively slow in its gearing - three turns lock-to-lock - but is precise enough, if lacking in feel.
As for the interior, it maintains its slightly odd blend of luxurious and not-so-luxurious materials, with attractive leather-upholstered and engraved surfaces contrasting against easy-to-find scratchy plastics. The seats are particularly notable for their sumptuousness, although they would benefit from a greater level of bolstering and vertical adjustability. You sit perched a touch too high even in their lowest setting.
Isolation is excellent, though; in our test car there was minimal wind noise, and the 20in alloys generated only a tiny amount of road roar. This may have been a product of the incredibly smooth roads that made up our French test route, though.
Cabin space, meanwhile, is impressive. Those sitting in the rear will find a comfortable amount of leg and headroom, while the DS 7’s generously sized 555-litre boot is easily accessible thanks to a large opening and negligible load lip. By comparison, the Volvo XC40 - our current class leader - offers 432 litres of boot space.