7 ways the DS 7 Crossback is far more chic than your average SUV
Déesse might be the car for you if you're into haute couture and high-tech
The original DS launched in 1955 never actually carried the Citroen name (except in the UK) - which in a sense justifies its separation into a premium brand within the PSA Group. DS was the codename for a project that aimed to create a sophisticated but mass-market car that was to push the boundaries in technology and innovation. Yet do it in such style that it so captivated crowds during its debut at the Paris Motor Show, they took 80,000 orders at the event – a record that stands to date.
'DS' had become internally verbalised as 'Déesse' which appropriately is also French for 'Goddess'. In fact they weren't even all 'DS', some were lesser 'ID' – you can identify the upmarket DS models from the gold chevrons. Apart from its dramatic styling, it harnessed hydro-pneumatics to aid in gear selection (a sort of semi-auto) and provide assisted braking and steering. Most famously of course it had hydro-pneumatic self-levelling suspension which not only endowed it with a heavenly ride, but meant it could keep going even if it was say, attacked by gunmen who'd shot out the tyres – yep that happened in 1962 and saved French president Charles De Gaulle's life (watch 'The Day of the Jackal').
Fast forward a few decades and the DS 7 Crossback is the first modern car to be developed solely under the DS brand. How does it live up to the classy and innovative legacy of the original?
7. It lives in Paris
Determined to infuse it with French 'savoir-faire', style and credibility, DS Automobiles has been head-quartered in Paris to soak in the aura of some of the most world-renowned French luxury and fashion brands. As such in addition to spec trim levels, the ‘art de vivre’ interior can be personalised with a choice of inspiring 'interior ambiences' dubbed Bastille, Rivoli, Opera (seen on the car I reviewed in the video above) and Performance Line.
6. There are chevrons in the logo
Look closely at the logo and you see it's made up of three chevrons - they even claim it resembles a coat of arms. It is asymmetrical. And this unusual design aspect is taken to the extreme in the DS X E-Tense concept car envisaging the brand in 2035. It has a gullwing door on one side, scissor door on the other and the grille is completely offset to one side.
5. There's a kind of autopilot
They call them DS Connected Pilot and DS Park Pilot, but these systems are similar to those on other high-end vehicles. Semi autonomous, the DS 7 Crossback has fully active cruise control that will stop-and-go in traffic and will keep itself in the middle of the lane. It can also park by itself in reverse or parallel to the kerb without you touching the steering wheel or pedals.
4. It watches you driving it
A bit creepy? Well it's for your own safety. A driver attention monitor uses an infrared camera above the steering wheel to observe your blinking rate for tiredness, your face and head movements for distraction and your steering input is also monitored for unusual deviations. If it detects anything it issues a 30,000 volt electric shock through the driver's seat cushion. No it doesn't – I was just trying out a reader attention monitor of my own... the car just gives an audio/visual warning.
3. It has a really arty cabin
'Each material and each detail of DS 7 Crossback was inspired by the world of Haute Couture whose rigour and sensuality is visible in the very smallest detail,' according to Thierry Metroz, Director of Style.
There's usually a lot of puff like this from manufacturers, but the DS 7's cabin is genuinely exquisite. Take the ‘Clous de Paris’ guilloche trim - a technique used in watch-making dating back to the 16th century – you'll see it in the design and textured finished of the toggle switches utilising engraved motifs of intersecting and overlapping lines. Then there's 'pearl stitching' on the upholstery inspired by an embroidery technique. And how about that motor-racing inspired B.R.M R180 Chronograph that rotates into view at the centre of the dash on startup?
2. Suspension that thinks ahead
In Comfort mode there's a camera scanning the road ahead for bumps and ridges and can instantly adjust the suspension setting to better manage and dampen road imperfections. In practice it results in a more composed and controlled ride.
1. It trips the light fantastic!
This is the party-piece of this car. Referencing the fact that the original DS was the first car to have adaptive lighting (where the headlights turned with the steering wheel) the current iteration does so much more – reconfiguring the intensity, power and breadth of the beam depending on driving environments and road conditions through six lighting modes. And even where the lights can't help, there's an infrared camera in the grille giving you night vision. But the coolest feature which you'll want to demonstrate to your family and friends are the three dancing LED modules that rotate, swivel and wobble – watch the video below!