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Our new lesser-spotted DS 7 Crossback long-termer

Published: 01 July 2019

► Living with a DS 7 Crossback
► Just what exactly is it?
► Colin is trying to find out

It takes 28 days between this DS arriving at CAR and me seeing my first other DS 7 Crossback on the road. It's quite a moment. I do a double take. My jaw drops a fraction. I very nearly wave. And I'm astounded by how huge it looks.

Now, finally, I understand why so many pedestrians and other drivers react so strongly to the sight of the French crossover. I had thought it was just confusion over the badge – a squiggle that says DS if you know it says DS, but even then still requires a high degree of swottiness to process and position correctly, like when you see a Honda wearing an Acura badge in the US. That's not the main thing, though; the simple, now-obvious explanation is that it's as visually arresting as a Bentley Bentayga or any big current Lexus.

The car-wash team that give it a thorough sprucing up, who see enough cars to get very blasé, are fascinated by the DS 7 – their first, it goes without saying. Seeing it through their eyes, the Crossback is rich in unusual details. Mine is in Prestige spec, which brings 19in grey alloys, a black grille and chromed roof rails and window frames.

Prestige involves a good balance of electronic helpfulness: it will discourage you from drifting out of your lane, but it won't try to drive for you; the cruise control is basic; it doesn't volunteer to park for 
you, but it does have a useful array of sensors and cameras.

DS interior trims have their own names. Mine is Rivoli (named after the Rue de Rivoli, a street in Paris with a high concentration of upmarket frock shops), which involves a lot of stitched leather and machined metal. It's like a gussied-up version of the old Citroën C-Crosser/Peugeot 4007/Mitsubishi Outlander.

DS 7 Crossback front quarter

All bar the most basic of DS 7 Crossbacks has a big central touchscreen and big digital instrument screen, with customisable graphics that go big on diamond motifs and have a strong Art Deco/ancient Egypt vibe that would make Hercule Poirot feel right at home.

Mine also has a ludicrous rectangular analogue clock that swivels into view when you turn the engine on. Ludicrous because it has a 4 and an 8 instead of a 3 and a 9, and ludicrous because the central touchscreen has a big digital time display precisely six inches away.

The least striking aspects so far are the normal car things – the engine, the chassis. Our DS uses PSA's 1.6-litre turbo four in 221bhp form, driving the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It's not particularly quick or particularly economical. You wouldn't want one of the less powerful engines. The imminent hybrid might be the answer.

I like it a lot. I like telling people what it is and why it's not a Citroën, even if my explanation is different every time. If you're DS-curious, or even a DS owner, and can help me understand what the whole DS thing is all about please get in touch so we can compare notes. Meanwhile, I'll be keeping a count of how many other DS 7s I see.

By Colin Overland

Logbook: DS 7 Crossback Prestige PureTech 225

Price £39,530 (£40,280 as tested) 
Performance 1598cc 4-cyl turbo petrol, 221bhp, 8.3sec 0-62mph, 141mph 
Efficiency 36.5mpg (official), 31.2mpg (tested), 136g/km C02 
Energy cost 18.2p per mile 
Miles this month 1902
Total miles 9597

By Colin Overland

CAR's managing editor: wordsmith, critic, purveyor of fine captions