Paying €56,790 for a car that the vast majority of people have never even heard of is a big ask. Then explaining that it is the premium-level version of Citroen and you are met by a lot of confused looks. Then try and tell them that this particular model is somewhere between a five-door crossover and an SUV and the puzzlement increases. But we are here to tell you why the DS7 Crossback is worth a giant punt.
Motormouths both got behind the wheel of one of two plug-in hybrid options (badged E-tense 225). It uses a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, a 13.2kWh lithium-ion battery and an 80kW electric motor and they all power the front wheels.
Now don’t be hugely alarmed by the opening price we mentioned at the top. You can actually own one of these stunners for €45,990 (the 1.5-litre diesel 'BlueHDi' 130 model in Performance Line trim).
A smidge up from that is the 1.2 PureTech 130 petrol option for €46,790 and, like the diesel, can be purchased in a Performance Line car or in Prestige guise.
The entry-level hybrid, however, is the E-tense 225 in Performance Line trim, for €53,290 and if you want to go all out you can pump €62,695 for the Performance Line+ spec they call E-tense 4x4 300.
And no matter which version you opt for you should know that it uses an eight-speed automatic gearbox and, other than the top-of-the-range E-tense 4x4 300, are front-wheel drive.
Okay, so now you know what it is and how much it is going to cost. Let’s get to the fun stuff.
Since DS became its own mini brand at Citroen nearly eight years ago it has only produced gorgeous looking cars. The 3, 4 and 7 are great looking cars and the upcoming 9 looks just as appetising.
There is a distinctive grille and the DS designers have not been afraid to take some risks with the chassis design and angles of some of its panels.
The crystalline rear LED lights, big alloys and unique front end, which features three LED light ‘cubes’ in each cluster that turn a full 360 degrees when you start the car up all come with a wow factor. Then you step inside to full appreciate what all the hype is about.
Generous to the end, you get a lot of bang for your French flare; a 12-inch infotainment screen, digital instrumentation, auto lights and wipers, climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 19-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, keyless start, LED daytime running lights, reversing camera, rear parking sensors and lots of active safety systems.
The hybrid-only Performance Line+ spec adds DS Active LED Vision (advanced LED headlights), an electric tailgate (which was easy to master from the very beginning), keyless entry, heated windscreen, front parking sensors, electric seat adjustment front and rear, heated front seats, a B.R.M clock and more.
Prestige versions get all that, an advanced safety pack, bigger wheels, massaging front seats, unique leather upholstery and a host of aesthetic tweaks to set them apart further.
The diamond motif, which has become the DS calling card in recent years is angular and well, is everywhere; various buttons in the headlining are diamonds, the big centralised metal window switches on the console have a diamond shaped into them as do the speakers for the Focal Electra sound system and the lovely 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster in front of the driver presents all its information in diamond panels.
It’s big too. It definitely feels bigger than you think inside and gives a sense that it should be competing with the likes of the Q5 of XC60 as opposed to its stable mate the 3008 on which it shares a platform.
Row two is huge and could easily sit three grown adults, let alone two annoying daughters on a road trip to Galway.
And the 555-litre boot (accessible with a swift flick of your foot) is one of the biggest in the segment, which is impressive considering the battery, and I can confirm that every centilitre was used for the weekend break away in the City of the Tribes. You’d swear we were emigrating with the amount of stuff we brought. But we were afforded that luxury thanks to the sheer volume of the boot.
There are four driving modes (Eco, Normal, Comfort and Sport) with hugely varying degrees of fuel economy and fun. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the running order on that. What I will say though is that ‘Comfort’ was our preferred choice as Sport drank all the fuel and Eco didn’t give us the required poke for our respective test weeks.
There is also an impressive camera-based suspension. Its adaptive dampers are fixed in Sport and Normal modes, but in our preferred Comfort, a camera scans the road for up to 20m and works out what tiny road obstacles are coming its way and eases off the dampers at first before firming them up on the rebound. Yes, you read that right!
All in all, the DS7 Crossback is a great looking car that has around 55km range on a full charge. It is big, comfy, safe and fun at times and will sell well (to those who can afford it). So what if you might have to explain what it is to some people? Different is good.