From £28,0957

Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

Unlike its exterior, the DS 7’s cabin displays a touch more of the avant garde spirit its maker professes to epitomise. There are four interior ‘inspirations’ (read: trims) to choose from – Bastille, Performance Line, Rivoli and Opera – each with its own colour palette and mix of materials.

Our Rivoli model, named after the Parisian district home to luxury boutiques and the Louvre Palace, made use of diamond-quilted leather upholstery on the seats, dash, fascia and upper door panels as its primary distinguishing feature. In combination with the stylised air vents with their gloss black surrounds, ‘guilloche’-finish aluminium centre console trim and rotating BRM R180 clock mounted atop the dash, the leather upholstery works to create a cabin that seems to embody the luxurious image that DS is chasing – at the upper level, at least.

I like DS’s approach to switchgear design but wish it had spent less here and more on the car’s bigger ‘background’ mouldings

A floating 12.0in touchscreen that juts out of the central dash provides access to and control over most of the DS 7’s features. Diamond-shaped graphics help provide a bit of superficial distinction from Peugeot and Citroën’s systems, although a premium product deserves better from its infotainment set-up.

The software is intuitive enough. There’s a row of touch-sensitive ‘buttons’ that provide useful shortcuts between functions, and the central display is sufficiently clear, yet the graphics are fairly basic and there’s a discernible amount of lag when you switch between menus. The need to operate the climate control through the screen makes for plenty of menu-hopping too.

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A slick-looking 12.3in digital instrument display is also present, and offers plenty of scope for display customisation. As with the touchscreen, though, there is hesitation between input on the steering-wheel mounted controls and digital response — and many of the display modes are overly stylised and not easy enough to read at a glance.

Allow your gaze to wander towards the lower reaches of the interior and you’ll find that plenty of scratchy plastics are still present – somewhat compromising the French SUV’s veneer of luxury.

Practicality-wise, the DS 7’s size advantage over its class rivals translates into creditable passenger space – exactly as it should for a car designed to straddle class boundaries. Those sitting in the rear will find comfortable amounts of head and leg room, while the 555-litre boot trumps that of the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 (which offer 505 and 420 litres respectively), although the VW Tiguan provides a superior 615 litres of cargo space.

One rather irritating flaw, though, is the DS 7’s driving position. Despite the adjustability offered by the almost overly soft seats and the steering column, it’s hard to find a seating position that puts you close enough to the steering wheel without being too close to the car’s pedals – an age-old ergonomic failing of French cars.