Since we last conversed, dear reader, I have covered more than 6,000 miles in the DS 7 Crossback, ploughing not just across Britain, but around the continent to find out whether this top-of-the-range Ultra Prestige model is worth the premium positioning its maker commands.
This car costs the best part of £50,000 once youíve considered all the options, and it barely has any more equipment than the noticeably cheaper and equally luxurious Prestige model I was driving earlier in the year. So if I were considering a DS 7 Crossback, thatís where my money would go. And with that business taken care of, I can move on to the slightly more important issue of whether you should buy a DS 7 at all.
Well, thereís a number of reasons why you should. For starters, it looks great both inside and out, and while Iíd probably choose the lovely dark red ahead of this bold orange colour, I like the fact DS has put some garish hues in its palette. And despite the ergonomic challenges of the oh-so-French cabin, I think it looks as modern and as stylish as anything youíd get from Jaguar or Lexus. It offers more or less the same solidity, too, although it canít quite yet compete with the likes of Audi and Mercedes-Benz yet.
But the best thing is the way this car eats the miles. Unlike a Porsche or Jaguar 4×4, the DS has no delusions of sportiness, so itís just a big, soft cruiser. Although the squidgy setup is occasionally unsettled by our diabolical road surfaces, a recent trip to France and Germany showcased its long-distance capability perfectly. From 20mph in French villages to 120mph on the German autobahns, it was completely unfazed, and it swallowed our bags, bodies and booze without even flinching.
For all that, though, life with the DS 7 hasnít always been easy, and a couple of concerning reliability problems have sullied the experience. Back when I was running the black Performance Line model, the airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and dusk sensor all failed at the same time, resulting in a fraught trip to the dealership. Then, on a wet and miserable slog to Luton Airport, the orange Ultra Prestige carís engine management light illuminated, followed closely by the AdBlue warning. A quick top-up of the AdBlue tank yielded no improvement in the carís condition, so another breathless visit to a DS dealer was in order. Fortunately, it was only a software issue, and an update of the carís on-board computers promptly fixed the problem. Admittedly, neither of these issues caused any great drama ñ I was never stranded at the side of the road in a cloud of Gauloises-esque steam ñ but they were worrying and inconvenient; particularly in such low-mileage vehicles.
And reliability hasnít been the only issue. The gearbox is a little jerky in traffic, the adaptive cruise control is over-cautious to the point of timidity and the fuel economy has been a bit disappointing, too. Despite warmer weather leading to some improvement in recent weeks, Iíve still only averaged a little over 41mpg ñ not great when the official test says it should do more than 57mpg.
In summary, then, I quite like the DS 7. I love its quirkiness and its looks, and its interior. I like the way itís proven itself to be a great mile-muncher, and I love the little touches like the B.R.M clock and the dancing headlights. This is the most convincing DS yet, and if itís a sign of things to come, then the French manufacturer could have a promising future as a serious premium brand. A case of watch this space…
Date arrived 17th December 2018
Fuel economy 57.6mpg (combined) 41.2mpg (on test)
DS 7 is a great-looking thing, both inside and out.
The price tag is hefty.