PSA’s Puretech petrol engines typically offer good mechanical refinement, and the same is true of the one in the DS 7 Crossback. Full throttle acceleration is met with a mild hum that only becomes truly noisy as you reach the top end of the rev band.
Not that you’ll be inclined to allow the tacho needle to stray that far north too often anyway, since the engine starts to run out of puff from above 5000rpm. We measured the 1.6-litre motor’s vocality, at max revs in third gear, at 78dB, and at 68dB at a steady 70mph cruise.
By comparison, the Toyota C-HR hybrid we tested in 2016 measured respective figures of 73dB and 67dB – the latter, allowing for the effect of the Toyota hybrid transmission, being quite flattering on the DS 7.
There isn’t a great deal separating the acceleration figures we recorded on the car from those claimed by DS. According to the French manufacturer, its new SUV will hit 62mph from a standstill in 8.3sec; on a dry track with two occupants on board, we measured the 0-60mph sprint at 8.6sec. While the Crossback’s Puretech engine pulled strongly once up and running, the 235/50 front tyres did momentarily struggle to find purchase off the line.
Next to diesel-powered rivals such as the Volvo XC40 D4, however, the DS 7 did ultimately deliver a measurable performance advantage, proving a second-and-a-half quicker from 30-70mph, and almost five seconds quicker from rest to 100mph.
As the figures suggest, while the Crossback certainly isn’t electric in the manner in which it accelerates, it is fairly brisk, and managed the everyday tasks of accelerating up to motorway speeds and performing overtakes easily.
There’s reasonable throttle response here, too, and while the automatic transmission can display a touch of hesitancy when it comes to downshifting at lower speeds, generally it swaps cogs in a smooth, timely fashion. There’s a manual mode for those who prefer to wield greater control over the powertrain, and ratios can be swapped via steering column-mounted paddles, although even here you can detect a touch of lethargy from the transmission, while the paddles themselves feel a little flimsy and aren’t pleasingly tactile to operate.
Ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes help the DS 7 Crossback come to a halt from 70mph in 46.5m, which is a creditable result for any SUV. While stable enough under braking, there is a significant degree of forward pitch as the SUV’s weight shifts forward, as you might expect there to be in a relatively softly sprung, high-riding car – but it stops just short of becoming destabilising or alarming to experience.