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.
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.
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.