The new DS 7 Crossback

2019 DS 7 Crossback 2.0 Diesel Review

The new DS 7 Crossback
The new DS 7 Crossback

2019 marks something of a new era for the DS brand in Ireland. DS is not 100% new to Ireland, since Citroen did market a number of DS models here since 2010.  But at parent group PSA, DS has now been spun off into its own standalone, premium French brand. And that means that the 2019 DS 7 Crossback is the first DS to be developed ‘from the ground up’ as a contemporary French premium vehicle.

DS has chosen to make this grand entrance in the form of a very on trend, large SUV. Priced from €36,000, the DS 7 Crossback has presence, making it a suitable flagship for the brand. The new SUV gets the latest engines and technology from the PSA Group, yet the design is distinctly new and different also. The DS motto is 'the spirit of avant garde', and a lot of detail has gone into the design of the car. The signature diamond motif features from the grille to the rear lights and the theme continues inside. Some might call it busy, but there's no doubt that the DS 7 will not be mistaken for any other SUV.

Available as a five seat SUV only, the DS 7 Crossback is still very, very rare in Ireland - the DS brand will not be immediately recognised! The  Performance Line model I had on test is the sportiest of the trims and is distinguished by 19" 'Black Onyx', diamond-cut alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, and a large gloss black front grille. The striking LED light signature adds menace to this car, and the Black Perla finish gives the car just the right attitude!

The interior of the new DS 7 Crossback
The interior of the new DS 7 Crossback

Inside the new DS 7 Crossback

The interior of the 2019 DS 7 Crossback is a real treat in that you probably have never seen anything like it. The diamond motif synonymous with the new generation DS features heavily in the switchgear and textiles. Performance Line models get swathes of expensive-looking Alcantara, probably the most Alcantara you will find this side of €50,000! The DS 7 Crossback is a step up in quality and design on what has come previously from DS.

There are four interior ‘themes’, with different materials and finishing: Bastille, Performance Line, Rivoli and Opera. This is a highly detailed interior that might take you some time to find your way around. For example, while the metal buttons either side of the centre console look cool, it takes some fiddling to find out what they all do! The cabin is well kitted out in terms of digital technology with a full digital instrument panel and an 8” touchscreen display.

In Ireland the new DS 7 Crossback is offered in four trim levels: Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige and Ultra Prestige. Standard features include 18" 'Black Onyx' diamond-cut alloy wheels, LED rear lights, gloss black exterior door mirrors, 8” touchscreen display, electric parking brake, lane departure warning, driver attention warning, rear parking sensors, LED front foglights with cornering light function, 'Follow me Home' lighting, Active Safety Brake, Android Auto / Apple CarPlay, Bronze Harmony cloth, dashboard and door panels, and a leather steering wheel.

The Performance Line model on test added high beam assist, 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster, the DS Active Scan Suspension (2.0-litre diesel only), front parking sensors, reversing camera, Alcantara® dashboard and door panels with stitching, and an AGR–certified ergonomic driver’s seat.

The DS 7 Crossback is a new French premium SUV priced from €36,000
The DS 7 Crossback is a new French premium SUV priced from €36,000

How practical is the DS 7?

In terms of size, the new DS 7 Crossback straddles the C and D segment. It has a longer wheelbase than competitors so rear seating space feels much more generous. There's loads of headroom and large footwells. The boot is also very large and practical considering the price of the vehicle with 555 litres available.

DS is a sister brand to Peugeot and Citroen, which means that the brand has access to some popular and well proven engines. The DS 7 Crossback is available with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with 130hp, a 1.6-litre turbo petrol with 180hp, 1.5-litre diesel with 130hp or a 2.0-litre diesel with 180hp. There is a 6-speed manual gearbox or 8-speed automatic.  A DS 7 Crossback plug-in hybrid with 300hp and four wheel drive is on the way in 2020. Motor tax for the DS 7 ranges from €190 to €280 depending on engine and transmission choice.

My test car was a DS 7 Crossback Performance Line BlueHDi180 Automatic with a list price of €49,745. This model is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel and uses an 8-speed automatic.

Rear legroom in the DS 7 Crossback
Rear legroom in the DS 7 Crossback

Driving the 2019 DS 7 Crossback

The DS 7 Crossback is built on the EMP2 (Efficient Modular Platform), which is used by other PSA Group models. However, DS has made some changes for their new DS 7. The flexible rear beam was replaced by a multi-arm rear suspension for a smoother ride and less noise. The wheelbase was also extended by 5.5cm and the front track is wider. High-end insulation is laid between the engine compartment and the cabin, in the wheel wells, beneath the bonnet, in the door panels, in the roof lining and underneath the carpeting. Some models also feature DS Active Scan Suspension as standard. This system improves ride comfort using a camera to anticipate defects in the road ahead and adjusting the four shock absorbers to make them firmer or softer in response.

On the road the DS 7 is agile for its size and holds the road well, though it could not be described as a sporty vehicle. The diesel engine has plenty of power with 180 hp, though the automatic gearbox is not the silkiest of transmissions. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 6.2l/100km. My test car had the Active Scan Suspension. The ride on the suspension is mostly good and the car reacts well in bends and changes in direction.

The DS 7 Crossback is the best product DS has produced to date with a significant enhancements in design and quality. The premium billing of the car raises standards considerably. In that regard, the DS 7 still has some way to go in terms of refining the driving character. Yet the DS 7 makes all the right moves in terms of a charismatic road presence - it is something distinctly different in the large SUV segment. DS 7 offers value in terms of space and specification, with some great petrol and diesel engines on offer. The DS 7 Crossback for now will be a more off-beat choice compared to traditional premium SUV rivals, but early adopters will find a stylish, bespoke SUV.

DS cars are exclusively sold from DS Airside in Swords, County Dublin, with two more stores planned.

Pricing for the 2019 DS 7 Crossback ranges from €36,000 to €60,245.

The DS 7 Crossback is a stylish new option in the family SUV market
The DS 7 Crossback is a stylish new option in the family SUV market

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: DS 7 Crossback Performance Line BlueHDi180 Automatic
Price:
€49,745 (Range from €36,000)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
180 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
0-100km/h: 
9.9 seconds
Top speed: 216 km/h
Fuel economy:
6.5 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
173 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year