It often seems like there are more smallish, posh SUV/crossovers than you shake a stick at on the market. So manufacturers have to make their cars really stand out in a very crowded segment. The DS 7 Crossback takes an overtly design-led approach.

There are more interesting bits of design than there’s space to go through here, but we’ll highlight two of our favourites. The swivelling LED headlights do a gloriously intricate dance when the doors are unlocked at night. And the centre console looks like it was lifted from a concept car.

We think it’s a good-looking thing, even if the underlying shape is a bit generic. The interior looks fantastic too, but some of the ergonomics are a bit haphazard. It took this writer a couple of minutes to locate the start button above the centre screen, rather than on the centre console or steering column as is normally the case.

Still, there are some lovely materials used, the twin 12in screens look great and work well – though I prefer some physical controls rather than just a touchscreen – it’s generously equipped with safety aids, there’s loads of space and the seats are extremely comfy.

The 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine tested here goes about its work with little fuss. It’s not the torquiest of motors and lacks mid-range punch. But the eight-speed automatic gearbox is quick-witted enough to keep the engine in the torque band.  

Ultimately, though, the engine prefers cruising and so does the chassis. The suspension gives a plush ride but the trade-off is less than stellar cornering prowess. Piling into corners with some speed made the DS 7 feel decidedly hop-heavy and a little wobbly on its springs.

Settle down and drive it like the vast majority of owners will, and the DS 7 is a pleasant, interesting place to while away a journey. Refinement isn’t quite up to the standards of Audi and Volvo, but it’s hardly a resonating chamber.

It’s a likeable car, the DS 7 Crossback. It looks great, comes well stocked with gadgets, it’s very comfortable and relaxing, there are lots of little touches that will surprise and delight for ages and it’s different from the Audi/BMW/Mercedes/Range Rover/Volvo norm.

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Model tested: DS 7 Crossback 1.6 PureTech 225 Prestige EAT8 Type: Smallish posh crossover Price: £40,135 (£40,930 as tested) Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol Power: 225hp Torque: 221lb/ft Transmission: 8-speed automatic, front-wheel-drive Performance: 0-62mph in 8.3secs, 141mph top speed Economy: 47.9mpg combined, Co2 emissions 136g/km Length: 4,573mm Width: 1.895mm Height: 1,625mm Weight: 1,425kg Boot capacity: 555l seats up, 1,752l seats down Towing weight: 1,550kg Rivals: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes GLA, Range Rover Evoque, Volvo XC40.

By Graham King

Quick spin: DS 7 Crossback
Performance64%
Ride & Handling69%
Design93%
Space & Safety81%
Value for money86%
Gadgets83%
The Positives
  • Lots to surprise and delight
  • Looks great
  • Plush ride
The Negative
  • Some ergonomic issues
  • Can't be pushed in corners
  • Lacks torque
79%Overall Score
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