Why we ran it: To see if Citroën’s luxury offshoot has finally built a car with the right mix of integrity and premium feel to take on the German, British and Swedish elite
Life with a DS 7 Crossback: Month 5
DS has its eyes on the wealthy uplands of the premium-loving buyer. Has this SUV been the vehicle to take DS there? - 4th December 2019
Ever found yourself staunchly defending one of your offspring while knowing full well they’ve done something wrong? That’s what running the DS 7 Crossback for a few months has felt like.
With the odd exception, everyone who borrowed the big DS for a short period always came back with something to complain about, rather than a glowing report. Whether this is more indicative of the inherent need to critique (or just plain cynicism) of my colleagues or something fundamentally wrong with the car is up for debate, but it certainly wasn’t universally loved.
Although I initially shared many of my peers’ criticisms of the car, I found the foibles softened through familiarity. Part of that could be because of the generally more positive reactions of friends and family, particularly when they’d climbed aboard and experienced the car’s best asset – its interior ambience.
With a 110-mile town and motorway round-trip commute to contend with each day, its ability to relax you was always welcome. The soft, watch-strap leather seats were superbly comfortable and endlessly adjustable, with little touches such as electrically reclining rear seats and multi-mode massaging on our Prestige model aiding this.
More subjectively, everything looked and felt significantly more premium and, for that matter, special than something like a Nissan Qashqai, which it should, given the price. The DS is not a cheap car, but whenever I asked anyone how much they thought it was, most said something in the region of £50k. Passenger space was excellent, too.
There was loads of room for all sizes in the front. I also found that three adults could get comfortable enough for a couple of hours in the back before needing a break – and the same can’t be said of a Jaguar E-Pace. The boot also proved easily capable of swallowing luggage for a week away and, in one instance, me, when I slept across the folded back seats after a music festival.
The flip side of DS’s design-led approach is that the ergonomics are less than perfect, which was my colleagues’ main complaint. After 8000 miles at the wheel, I adapted to such things as the odd placement of the window switches in the centre console, the hidden-away cruise control stalk, the fussy layout of the digital dials and the need to press and hold the lane keep assist button on every drive to turn the system off and avoid infuriating steering interventions. But I never warmed to the infotainment, a clear and large screen spoiled by often laggy menus, irritatingly fiddly touch-sensitive function buttons and the DAB signal, which dropped out when switching back to it from another source.